Maine Voters approve use of Recreational Marijuana

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on November 15, 2016.

Voters in Maine have approved the ballot Question 1 that allows recreational use of marijuana in the state. The final results on the referendum, which took nearly two days to count, were tabulated on Thursday afternoon.

The new marijuana law will come into effect 30 days after Gov. Paul LePage certifies the election results. People 21 or older will now be allowed to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana for recreational purposes. The measure will also allow people to cultivate, distribute and sell marijuana and marijuana products.

"The Maine people have passed it, and we should work on implementing it," said Republican state Sen. Eric Brakey, of Auburn, who supported the ballot issue.

The new marijuana law will allow people to use it in a nonpublic space or in a private residence and institute a sales tax, with 98% of revenue from sales taxes going to a general fund. The state will also develop rules to regulate retail sales of marijuana and marijuana products, which may be taxed at 10 percent.

After passing the new law, marijuana market in the state is expected to boom. Industry watchers Arcview Market Research and New Frontier Analytics has projected that legalized marijuana would grow to $200 million in annual sales in Maine and $773 million in Massachusetts by 2020.

Meanwhile, Maine joins California, Nevada and Massachusetts, which passed recreational marijuana measure this week. However, Arizona rejected a similar measure.

Maine became a pioneer in decriminalizing marijuana in 1976. It legalized medical marijuana in 1999. Since then, various attempts were also taken to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes but remained unsuccessful.

Notably, the use of recreational marijuana was already legal in Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Alaska. However, marijuana is still illegal in the eyes of the federal government in the U.S.

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