Here’s what the vote to legalize marijuana means – assuming it survives a possible recount and other challenges and potential delays.

Q: When can I start using?

A: Recreational marijuana becomes legal 40 days after the election – the week before Christmas.

Q: Can anyone use marijuana legally?

A: No. The ballot question language says you have to be at least 21 years old.

Q: Can I use as much as I want?


A: No. The law will allow an individual to possess as much as 2.5 ounces of marijuana. We’re told you can roll about 60 marijuana cigarettes, or joints, with each ounce.

Q: Can I smoke it anywhere?

A: No. The law would prohibit using marijuana in public, whether you smoke it or eat it. You will have two options – smoking in private, such as in your home, or smoking in a state-licensed marijuana social club.

Q: Wait, a marijuana social club?

A: Under the ballot measure, Maine would become the first state to allow state-licensed clubs where customers can use marijuana in a social setting. Proponents say it will provide a place for tourists and others to use the drug legally, something that has presented problems in other states.

Q: When can I go to a marijuana store or social club in Maine?


A: Probably not for at least a year. The state needs to set up licensing and regulatory framework. Some lawmakers say it’s likely to be January 2018 when pot stores open in Maine.

Q: Will there be stores everywhere?

A: Not necessarily. Maine communities can restrict the locations of the businesses or even ban them outright. Some communities are adopting temporary bans to allow time to consider zoning and other rules, and some may adopt permanent bans.

Q: Can I just grow it myself?

A: Yes. An individual will be allowed to have six mature plants, 12 immature plants and an unlimited number of seedlings at any given time.

Q: What about workplace drug testing?

A: State officials have said the referendum language is unclear about workplace drug testing, while proponents have said employers will still be able to use drug tests to screen job applicants and existing employees. Employers can forbid employees from coming to work under the influence of marijuana, but standard drug tests do not prove someone is impaired at the time of the test and positive results could reflect marijuana use that occurred weeks before the test was done.

Q: What about smoking pot and driving?

A: It will remain illegal – and dangerous – to drive while intoxicated, whether because of alcohol use or marijuana use. There is no existing test similar to an alcohol breathalyzer to determine intoxication by marijuana, so police officers will use field sobriety tests and other evidence to determine whether someone has used marijuana before getting behind the wheel.

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