History of CBD and Cannabis: Maine
Maine residents have always been split on the issue of cannabis legalization, decriminalization, and regulation. Originally prohibited in 1913, much of Maine’s current attitude towards marijuana owes itself to historic trends of recurrent nationwide drug scares.
In recent years, local opinion towards cannabis has seen a rapid shift. Now, a majority of residents support full legalization whereas, just twenty years ago, only twenty percent of the population was on board.
Part of this shift can be explained by a national reframing of the conversation on marijuana. Researchers have shown how cannabis can boast a wide variety of mental, physical, and emotional health benefits. Additionally, the federal legalization of hemp and mounting popularity of CBD show just how open consumers are becoming.
Now, it is legal to possess marijuana for both recreational and medical use.
Cannabis, CBD, and Maine
After complete prohibition in 1913, it became a misdemeanor crime to possess even trace amounts of marijuana. Possession could result in jail time, hefty fines, and a criminal record that would restrict certain employment opportunities.
Just over sixty years later, the conversation on marijuana started to open up again. In the mid seventies, local municipalities started to discuss the benefits of decriminalization. After a contentious legislative fight, Maine became the third state to decriminalize possession of small amounts of cannabis in 1976.
Despite popular contempt for marijuana smokers, the first Maine medical marijuana bill passed in 1999. This act allowed qualified patients to grow their own plants. Scientific research conducted at local universities went a long towards demonstrating the efficacy of marijuana in treating certain chemotherapy induced illnesses.
The trend towards decreasing regulation continued, until decriminalization was fully realized in 2009. Governor John Baldacci signed a bill that make possession of 2.5 ounces or less a civil infraction, resulting in very small fines and no criminal record.
Specific municipalities went on to legalize cannabis without creating any commercial framework for selling cannabis. In 2013, voters in Portland legalized possession of small amounts of cannabis within the city’s limits. Lewison city council went on to pass a similar resolution after witnessing the success in Portland.
In 2016, the dam finally broke. The Marijuana Legalization Act permitted all adults to legally grow and possess personal use quantities of cannabis. This bill set up a framework for commercial and retail cannabis sales. It’s projected that commercial activity will finally begin in the Spring of 2020.