Maine's Medical Use of Marijuana Program (MMMP) is a relatively new, and surprisingly complex, law. The reason why the MMMP is so complex is that marijuana is a controlled substance that is illegal to possess in most circumstances. The law, however, carves out an exception to the general rule that you can't possess marijuana, and puts the people who need pot to treat a medical condition into this exception. Because pot is such a popular drug, however, lots and lots of people want to put themselves into that exception, even if they might not belong there, and this could result in trouble.
In an attempt to regulate medical marijuana usage, the MMMA was made to be the gatekeeper to possessing an otherwise illegal drug, legally. The MMMA is what stands between legally possessing weed, and facing criminal drug charges for having it.
In past blog posts, we talked about being a “qualified patient” under the MMMA, and summarized what a “primary caregiver” is, and what they can do. Here, we'll go over the basics of possessing and using marijuana, once you've been approved under the MMMA.
To grow, possess, and use medical marijuana legally under the MMMA, you need to either register with the Department of Health and Human Services, and receive a department ID card, or get a proper written certification from your physician.
Once registered as a qualified patient, or properly certified by your physician, the MMMA allows you to possess an “allowable useable amount,” and an “incidental amount” of marijuana.
The “allowable useable amount” includes the possession of 2.5 ounces of prepared marijuana, and the cultivation of up to six mature plants. “Prepared marijuana” means “the dried leaves and flowers of the marijuana plant that require no further processing, and any mixture” made from them. It does not, however, include “the seeds, stalks, leaves that are disposed of and not dried for use and roots of the marijuana or other ingredients in goods prepared for human consumption or use.” Additionally, the MMMA defines a “mature” plant as “a harvestable female marijuana plant that is flowering.”
In addition to the “allowable useable amount” that you can have under the MMMA, the law also allows you to possess an “incidental amount” of marijuana, as well. This includes up to twelve nonflowing female plants, an unlimited number of seedlings, seeds, stalks and roots, and up to eight pounds of harvested, dried, unprepared marijuana in varying stages of processing.
All prepared marijuana, as well as the plants, have to be kept in an enclosed and locked facility, such as a closet. It cannot be sold, or transferred for any kind of value.
Lastly, there are limitations on where you can possess pot, and what you can do while under its influence. You can't have it on a school bus, or on school grounds or in a correctional facility or jail. You're also not allowed to smoke it in public or on public transportation, and you can't do anything while under the influence that would “constitute negligence or professional malpractice or would otherwise violate any professional standard” – like driving a car.
If you have questions about the MMMA, and want to make sure you're not breaking the law, or if you've been charged with drug possession even though you think the MMMA protects you, call attorney William T. Bly at (207) 571-8146.