Marijuana is Legal▼
Massachusetts has spent nearly a decade implementing different versions of marijuana reform. In 2008, the passage of Question 2 (65.2 percent to 34.8 percent) removed many criminal penalties for possession and use of marijuana, and replaced them with civil charges, including a $100 dollar fine for first offenses.
A reformation backed by compassion, Question 3 was enacted in 2012, passing with 63 percent support. Question 3 was intended to set up the framework allowing qualified doctors to recommend cardholders suffering from specific debilitating health conditions. Since the law was enacted, over 50,000 cardholders have registered within the program.
And finally, Massachusetts Question 4 passed in November 2016 with 54 percent support. Enacted on December 15th, 2016, Question 4 ruled that marijuana possession, use, and cultivation legal for adults 21 and over.
While Question 2 has become less relevant since legalization in 2016, the fines and penalties for public consumption or youth possession directly translate to the Massachusetts legal marijuana industry.
Purchase and Possession Limits▼
Medical cardholders can purchase up to ten ounces over a sixty-day period, and cardholders are not allowed to possess more than 10 ounces at any time. The recommending physician may recommend additional limits based on an individual’s treatment plan.
Adults age 21 and up may purchase and possess up to one ounce of marijuana flower or up to five grams of marijuana concentrates.
Adults caught with more than one ounce of flower on their person is subject to misdemeanor charges, six months in jail, and a $500 fine. If you get caught again, the fine goes up to $2,000 with up to two years incarceration. Oddly, NORML reports though concentrates in Massachusetts are limited to five grams, the penalty for having up to an ounce of cannabis concentrates is $100 or 1/5th the price of being caught with flower.
Adults may gift up to one ounce of marijuana flower or up to five grams of marijuana concentrates to any individual 21 and over under two conditions:
- The transaction was not something advertised or solicited
- Nothing of value was exchanged for the marijuana.
Cardholders under the age of 18 cannot purchase their own products. Such purchases can only be made by the cardholder caregiver.
Growing Marijuana at Home▼
Adults 21 and over are permitted to cultivate up to six plants per individual. The total number of plants in any one residence cannot exceed twelve. The plants must be hidden from public view and kept locked and secure. Any person caught in violation of any of these provisions may find their plants confiscated and face up to a $300 fine.
Medical cardholders are allowed to cultivate marijuana in their or their caregiver’s residence. The authorizing physician may recommend the cultivation of more than six plants based on anticipated cardholder need for treatment. Ultimately, cardholders are expected to grow the approximate equivalent of a 60 day supply.
Driving and Marijuana ▼
Driving While Intoxicated
No legal reason exists to drive while under the influence of marijuana. This applies equally to both recreational and medical marijuana consumers. While the law does allow for the use of marijuana, the laws remain unchanged when it comes to the physical control of a car, boat, or any other form of motorized transportation.
Penalties for operating a vehicle while under the influence range, but assuming it is your first, they may include fines up to $5,000, a one-year suspension of driving privileges, and up to 30 months of house arrest. Alternatively, this can include probation and mandated drug-abuse counseling.
It is unclear at this time whether the state intends to refine the definition of marijuana intoxication. Colorado, for instance, has enacted a five-nanogram-per-milliliter-of-blood limit for THC when evaluating intoxication.
Driving While in Possession of Marijuana
Marijuana may be transported within the state by medical cardholders and adults 21 years and older; however, this, too, has its limits. Transporting marijuana around the state for personal use is acceptable as long as the package remains unopened. The equivalent of an open container of alcohol, an opened package of cannabis can yield adult consumers or cardholders a fine up to $500 dollars.
This extends to most places within the vehicle, yet the law specifies the vehicle's trunk and the locked glove box as not included in the legal definition of “passenger area” of a vehicle.