Thursday, October 6, 2016

Is Marijuana Legal for Recreational Use in Massachusetts?

Legalizing Marijuana in Massachusetts

Marijuana Laws in Massachusetts
Legalizing marijuana for recreational use is on this year’s ballot, here in Massachusetts as well as California, Nevada, Arizona and Maine. Question 4 in Massachusetts asks voters to weigh in on their preference for this form of use of marijuana use. Here is a breakdown of the question and the proposed law:

Age restriction:  Recreational use of marneihborijuana would be legal for adults 21 years or older. Unlike the use of alcohol which has no limits on consumption, this law would limit the amount one could possess for recreational use:  one ounce of dried pot or five grams of concentrate in public; an additional nine ounces at home is permitted so long as it’s locked up; gifts of one ounce would be legal

Dispensaries:  With limitations based on the number of liquor stores and local votes, dispensaries would be permitted in any town or city so long as the local municipality approves the same. The first licenses would be issued on January 1, 2018, barring no delays as were experienced with the opening of medical marijuana dispensaries. If the new cannabis commission does not timely issue licenses, existing dispensaries would be authorized to grow, package and sell recreational marijuana.

  Of course the sales will be taxed. At 12%. Revenue would support the Commonwealth, the new commission and the host municipality. Colorado’s tax is almost twice as much. The theory for a more moderate tax here is that the price of the weed would be closer to the street price thereby discouraging illegal sales.

Let your Garden Grow:  Get out your green thumb! Individuals can grow up to six plants at home and households can grow a maximum of 12 plants. Be careful to keep it out of the public eye, however. Fences may be required, but no minimum height has yet been established.

Is pot-tasting in your future?  While recreational use will not be permitted in public, municipalities may permit special-event use. But not within 500 feet of any school.

Labels, labels, labels:  Like all labels, details about the weed will be included:  grower, manufacturer, amount of THC and other ingredients, suggested serving, etc. And the packaging will be “child-proof.” Caution:  avoid synthetic weed. In my criminal defense practice, I see many clients who ingest synthetic weed and, literally, lose their marbles and end up in a mental health facility or jail because they are incoherent and completely unrecognizable to loved ones.

Legal limits: The laws still apply to recreational use and possession. While I appreciate the business, don’t let the passage of this law lead to your violating any laws. You can be charged with possession, OUI drugs and other offenses.

By Kathleen Delaney