Maine police officers arrested a 41-year-old North Berwick man carrying nearly half a pound of marijuana, along with almost $15K in cash and 47 concentrated THC-containing capsules, following a high-speed ATV chase.
Medical cannabis has been legal in Maine since as far back as 1999, albeit as part of a limited program, at least compared to today’s standards. More recently, Maine’s medical program has expanded significantly, and Mainers voted to approve the legalization of recreational cannabis in 2016.
Governor Janet Mills signed the final legislature this past January; now, nearly three years after legalization, recreational dispensaries are finally poised to open across the Pine Tree State.
According to the new recreational marijuana laws in Maine, adults ages 21 and up are permitted to possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis on their person at any time. Residents are also allowed up to 3 plants per household, however, the personal carrying limit is strictly enforced. As such, despite recreational legalization, possession of over 2.5 ounces of cannabis remains prohibited by state law.
On Saturday night, York County police tried to pull Dennis Laing in his ATV over for a traffic violation. Allegedly, Laing was driving over the speed limit, nearly colliding with other drivers as he attempted to escape police by going down an off-road trail, that is, according to eye-witness accounts of the event.
Police were actually forced to discontinue the high-speed chase in an effort to prevent a dangerous accident from happening; not only was he speeding, but Laing was also driving on the wrong side of the road. Police caught up with Laing about an hour later and he was subsequently arrested and brought to York County jail.
Public records show that Laing had recently posted bailed and was out of jail at the time, awaiting trial for charges involving kidnapping and tampering with a witness. Moreover, he didn’t have a valid driver’s license allowing him to legally operate the ATV in the first place.
Laing is being charged with violating his bail conditions, driving a motor vehicle without a valid license, drug possession, drug trafficking, and failure to stop for a police officer.
State police are asking the district attorney’s office to review several additional charges, including driving to endanger the public, operating an unregistered recreational vehicle, and operating the ATV on public roadways, which is against the law. Police are also requesting forfeiture of the cash confiscated following Laing’s arrest.
Bangor Daily News (@bangordailynews) first Tweeted, “Police: Maine man in possession of half-pound of marijuana arrested after ATV chase.” According to another Tweet, this one by WGME reporter Taylor Cairns (@TaylorWGME), “Police also found $15,000 in alleged drug payment earnings.” Cairns is also the author of one of several news pieces written about Laing’s high-speed ATV chase and arrest.
In response to a Facebook post by NEWS CENTER Maine (@NewsCenterMaine), one commenter wrote, “He’ll get charged with fleeing an officer and violating bail. “Suspected” drug money doesn’t go far. Weed charge? Stop the madness.”