Possession of Marijuana in Maine

Marijuana possession in Maine is normally a civil violation if one possesses a usable amount of marijuana.   Marijuana is the most commonly abused drug in Maine.  Possession of Marijuana in Maine offense has increased in popularity since Maine became the fifth state to enact the Medical Marijuana Act.  In this article, we will review:

It can be confusing to the average person because there are 3 different technical legal “statuses” for marijuana in Maine:

  • Legal by prescription – Maine supports the legal use and possession of marijuana for registered medical patients.  If you have a prescription for medical marijuana from a doctor, then you are legally allowed to use and possess marijuana.
  • Civil marijuana violation - If you do not have a medical marijuana prescription and are found in possession of less than 2.5 ounces of marijuana, Maine considers this a civil violation.
  • Criminal marijuana charges – Possession of any amount of marijuana in excess of 2.5 ounces, or performing other drug-related activity in connection with marijuana, is charged as a crime.

 

Despite changing attitudes towards marijuana to an overall more favorable perspective, the substance remains an illegal Scheduled Z drug in Maine for those who do not possess a doctor’s prescription.  Maine’s Medical Marijuana Law has allowed prescribing, and limited possession, of medical marijuana since 1999 but the law lacked any distribution mechanism.

What are marijuana criminal charges?

The following are the drug-related crimes that can be charged in connection with marijuana:

  • Trafficking – Trafficking marijuana means to sell, transport, or distribute the drug.  Sometimes trafficking is referred to as “possession with intent to sell.”  Trafficking marijuana in any amount is a felony.
  • Cultivating Marijuana – In Maine, there is a specific crime for growing marijuana plants.  Depending on the number of marijuana plants being cultivated, the crime could be a misdemeanor or a felony, with higher numbers of plants being associated with a more serious charge.
  • Furnishing – To furnish marijuana means giving the drug to another person, usually for that person’s use.  Generally, furnishing marijuana is a misdemeanor, but the charge can be elevated with the presence of aggravating factors.
  • Possession – If a person is found in possession of more than 2.5 ounces of marijuana, then it is a criminal charge.  The person could have the drug on their person, in their home, or in their car.  Depending on the amount of the drug found by law enforcement, the charge could be a misdemeanor or a felony, with greater amounts of the drug being associated with a more serious charge.

possession of marijuana in maine
All of the above drug-related criminal charges can be elevated with the presence of aggravating factors, including the following:

  • Committing the drug crime while possessing a firearm
  • Committing the drug crime in the presence of a minor child
  • Committing the drug crime near a school
  • Committing the drug crime with a criminal history of felony or other drug-related offenses

The impact of aggravating factors can be that a misdemeanor can be elevated to a felony, and felonies can become more serious felonies.  As you can see, marijuana-related crimes are serious, and the assistance of an experienced Maine criminal defense attorney is essential for your defense.

What are the penalties for marijuana crimes?

There are a multitude of penalties, both immediate and longer-term that can stem from a marijuana–related criminal conviction, as well as a civil marijuana violation.

  • Civil Penalties – If you are found to have committed a civil violation for marijuana, then the immediate penalty is a fine and the violation going on your record.  If you are a young person seeking to apply to higher education or federal student loans, a civil marijuana violation can make you ineligible for those loans.  Also, if you are in any profession that works with children, or are looking to break into such a field, a civil violation on your record for marijuana would be treated more stringently by a current or potential employer.
  • Criminal penalties – If you are convicted of a marijuana-related crime at the criminal court, you can face a number of penalties, including fines, jail time, probation, and mandatory substance abuse treatment.  There are longer-term penalties for those who are convicted of a felony, because a felony conviction entails status as a felon and the challenges associated with it.

Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Chris Nielsen

Maine Criminal Defense Attorney, Chris A. Nielsen, is well known in Maine for providing excellent legal representation for those accused of violating Maine Marijuana Laws.  If you take the opportunity to call him, your calls are routed directly to his competent staff and him.  He can help by answering preliminary questions, helping you with your pending court date, and providing a realistic, detailed review of what to expect in court.

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