Consequences of Getting a Medical Card in Maine

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Benefits of Having a Medical Cannabis Card in Maine

Possessing a medical cannabis card in Maine confers a number of benefits on the cardholder. These benefits are discussed below.

Legal Protection

In Maine, a medical cannabis patient with an active medical cannabis card has legal protection and may not be prosecuted for possessing, purchasing, and using medical cannabis within state-approved limits. Cannabis cardholders in Maine are also legally allowed to cultivate marijuana plants for personal use. It is recommended for medical cannabis patients in the state to always carry their medical cannabis cards when in possession of medical cannabis products. This will protect them from having issues involving law enforcement. If a certified medical cannabis patient does not have a card, they may provide a valid state-issued photo ID and their doctor’s certification in place of the card.

Illegal cannabis possession by individuals under the age of 21 without medical marijuana cards in Maine is punished based on the amount of cannabis they are carrying. While the severity of the penalties will vary based on the quantity of marijuana involved, they include fines and prison terms.

Lower Prices

The price of medical cannabis is generally lower than adult-use cannabis price in Maine. The reason for this is the special excise tax charged on the recreational sale of cannabis in the state. Maine charges a standard sales tax on medical cannabis. Recreational cannabis sale, on the other hand, has an additional 10% excise tax imposed.

Higher Cultivation Limits

In Maine, medical cannabis patients are allowed to cultivate up to 6 mature marijuana plants and 12 immature plants and have an unlimited number of cannabis seedlings. In contrast, recreational cannabis users may only grow up to 3 mature marijuana plants and 12 immature plants and have an unlimited number of seedlings.

Access for Minors

Minors in Maine who qualify for medical cannabis can register as medical cannabis patients with their parents or legal guardians as caregivers and acquire medical cannabis cards. This gives them legal access to medical cannabis. On the other hand, access to recreational cannabis is only allowed to adults who are 21 years or older.

Reciprocity

Maine maintains medical cannabis reciprocity with many states, including Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, and New Hampshire. Others include New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, and Washington, DC. Medical cannabis cards issued in Maine can also be used in many of these states.

Downsides of Getting a Medical Cannabis Card in Maine

The downsides of getting a medical cannabis card in Maine include the following:

Firearm Prohibition

Maine prohibits its medical cannabis patients from buying or owning firearms. Per 15 M.R.S.A. §393(G), medical cannabis users are not permitted to buy or own firearms. This reinforces federal gun laws that bar users of Schedule 1 drugs, including medical cannabis patients, from buying or owning firearms.

Driving Restrictions

Per Maine Revised Statute, Title 28-B, Section 1501(2)(B)(1), it is illegal to drive under the influence of cannabis in Maine, and medical cannabis users are not exempted. Also, medical cannabis users in the state cannot get Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDLs) because they are regulated by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and federal laws that prohibit cannabis use.

Drugged Driving offenses in Maine are considered Operating Under the Influence (OUI) offenses. The penalties for these offenses depend on several factors, including the level of impairment and any prior offenses and convictions. Punishments are severe and include suspension of driver’s licenses, probation, fines, and jail terms. Maximum sentences for drugged driving in Maine may include up to $5,000 in fines and 5 years in jail. Most penalties will also include mandatory drug treatment and rehabilitation.

Annual Renewal

In Maine, medical cannabis cards are valid for one year. Patients must initiate the renewal process of their medical cannabis cards at least 45 days before the expiration date. They are required to meet their healthcare providers annually to recertify them for medical cannabis. Healthcare providers in Maine offer patients the option to hold these appointments via telemedicine services or in person. The cost of obtaining a medical cannabis certification in Maine will depend on the medical provider conducting the evaluation. While card renewal is free of charge, on average, healthcare providers charge between $49 and $75 to renew patients’ certifications.

Employment Restrictions

Under the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act (MMUMA), employers cannot penalize or discriminate against a person solely for their use of medical cannabis. However, employers are not required to accommodate the consumption of cannabis in any workplace or employees working under the influence of cannabis. Medical cannabis records are confidential and protected by the HIPAA Act. This means they will not appear in state background checks.

In Maine, employees who are registered cannabis patients are protected if they fail employer-mandated drug tests as long as they are not smoking on the premises or working under the influence. This is because cannabis may show up in a person's system a long time after the effects have ceased.

Under Maines's cannabis laws, employers are allowed to enact and enforce workplace policies that restrict the use of medical cannabis and its products by employees.

Cannabis is considered a Schedule 1 drug under federal law. This means medical cannabis users in Maine cannot be federal employees.

Federal Prohibitions

Medical marijuana cardholders in Maine may not be able to apply for and get federal employment in the state. This is because federal employees are expected by federal law to be drug-free at all times. The protection stipulated in Maine’s employee protection law will not apply to federal employees if they fail drug tests. Federal laws still bind occupants of federally subsidized housing in Maine. This means that they cannot use or cultivate cannabis in federally subsidized homes.

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