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Hot Topics: Marijuana Legalization

Why The Interest?

There are two movements in the United States right now - the work to legalize marijuana for medical use, and the push to legalize it for recreational use. Maine is one of nineteen states to have legalized adult recreational marijuana use in 2016 and recreational sale began in 2020. Medical marijuana was made legal in Maine in 1999 and expanded in 2009.  Use  this guide to explore the topic of marijuana legalization in Maine and across the United States.

Federal Response

Marijuana is still illegal at the federal level. Different administrations have approached state level marijuana legalization in different ways.

  • Washington Post - Attorney General Merrick Garland has signaled that the Biden Administration will not focus on enforcement of low level marijuana crimes in states with legalization.
  • 2018 Memo on Marijuana Enforcement - Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo directing federal prosecutors to enforce federal marijuana laws as they were before the Obama administration.
  • 2013 Cole Memorandum (PDF) - Deputy Attorney General James Cole directed federal prosecutors to not focus on enforcement of marijuana offenses if the offenders were complying with state laws concerning marijuana use.

Maine News and Updates

Maine Medical Use of Marijuana

Maine Recreational Use of Marijuana

More Maine Information

  • Maine Good to Know - health and legal information provided by Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Maine Open Data - information collected by the Maine Office of Marijuana Policy on both Medical Use and Recreational Adult Use programs.
  • Maine Annual Reports - reports created by the Maine Office of Marijuana Policy on the Medical Use and Adult Use programs.

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