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Massachusetts Laws on Adult Use of Marijuana
Nearly three years ago, on November 8, 2016, Massachusetts voters approved the historic ballot initiative that put an end to marijuana prohibition for adults 21 and older.
On December 15, 2016, it became legal for adults to grow and possess cannabis in the Bay State. The first adult-use marijuana sales in Massachusetts began on November 20, 2018.
After six months of operation, recreational marijuana sales in Massachusetts approached $140 million, as reported by Marijuana Business Daily. In August 2019, the Marijuana Policy Project estimated that there were more than 20 stores that sell adult-use weed across the state.
In fact, Massachusetts remains the only state on the East Coast with state-legal, adult-use marijuana sales. However, the cannabis industry has been dealt a blow when a mysterious vaping-related lung disease outbreak made national headlines.
Trouble in ‘Marijuana Paradise’ in Massachusetts
Authorities are still trying to identify the cause of deaths and injuries caused by vaping products containing THC, marijuana’s high-inducing ingredient. The outbreak of vaping-related lung illnesses prompted Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker to ban the sale of all vaping products in the Bay State for four months, as reported by MassLive.com.
Given the aforementioned, there are many misconceptions about the adult use of cannabis in Massachusetts. Unless used by adults 21 or older in small, personal-consumption amounts, consumptions, possession, and sales of marijuana can still lead to drug crime charges.
Talk to a Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer from The Law Offices of Richard Mucci if you are being accused of or investigated for illegal use or possession of cannabis. In the meantime, we have prepared a roundup of Massachusetts laws governing the adult use of weed in the state.
Massachusetts Laws Governing Adult-Use of Marijuana
According to the official website of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, marijuana is legal for adults 21 and older. Here are the basics about the state laws governing adult-use of cannabis:
- You must be 21 or older to purchase and use marijuana, though there can be medical exceptions to the general rule.
- You do not necessarily have to be a Massachusetts resident to buy and use weed in the state. All you need is a government ID.
- You cannot use marijuana in any form – smoking, consuming, vaping, edibles, or another – in public or on federal land.
- You are allowed to have up to 1 ounce of cannabis on you and no more than 10 ounces of weed in your home.
- You can grow no more than six plants of cannabis in your home. If two or more adults are residing in your home, you are allowed to grow up to 12 plants.
- If there is more than 1 ounce of weed in your home, it has to be locked up to keep children and pets safe.
- When transporting marijuana in your vehicle, you must store it in a closed container in the trunk or a locked glove compartment.
- Like alcohol, it is against the law to have an open container of weed in any of its forms in the passenger area of your vehicle while on the road or in the place accessible by the public.
- It is a crime to drive a vehicle under the influence of marijuana.
- Employers, landlords, towns, and cities are allowed to have their own policies governing or prohibiting the use of cannabis.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Marijuana Use and Possession in Massachusetts
If you have not found the answer to your question about cannabis use and possession in the Bay State, contact our Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer who is well-versed about marijuana laws for more information. Call at 781-729-3999 to get a free consultation.
What Laws Govern Marijuana Use in Massachusetts?
The so-called “Question 4” in the 2016 ballot became Chapter 334 of the Acts of 2016. The approval of Question 4 created General Laws Chapter 94G, which is the law governing the adult-use of marijuana in Massachusetts.
After the legislation was amended by Chapter 55 of the Acts of 2017, the rules governing marijuana use are referred to as The 2017 Act.
Can You Smoke or Consume Weed Products in Public?
No, Massachusetts law prevents all individuals from using marijuana products in public regardless of age. A rule of thumb is that you cannot smoke or consume cannabis in a place where you are prohibited from smoking tobacco.
Violators of the law are facing a civil penalty of $100. However, some cities and towns have their own rules and ordinances authorizing exceptions for the adult-use of marijuana in public places.
Can You Use Marijuana in Your Home?
While Massachusetts law does authorize the use of marijuana in your home, there may be restrictions if you are a renter. A landlord is allowed to prohibit or regulate cannabis use in the lease agreement.
However, Massachusetts landlords are not allowed to ban tenants from using marijuana in ways other than smoking.
Can You Grow Cannabis in Your Home?
Yes, Massachusetts allows people 21 years old or older to grow up to six plants of weed in their home. If there are other people over 21 years of age living in the same residence and they also wish to grow, the total maximum number of plants that can be grown in a single home is 12 plants.
The marijuana plants must be grown in a place equipped with a lock or some security device. When growing cannabis in your home, the plants cannot be visible from a public place unless the passerby is using aircraft, drone, binoculars, or other optical aids.
Can You Drive with Marijuana in Your Car?
Like alcohol, weed cannot be stored in an open container in the passenger area of your vehicle while operating a car or at a place where the public has access. Instead, weed should be stored in a trunk or a locked glove compartment.
In Massachusetts, motorists are strictly prohibited from driving under the influence of marijuana or consuming weed while operating a motor vehicle.
If you wish to have cannabis in your motor vehicle, you cannot possess more than 1 ounce of weed in your car.
Can You Smoke or Consume Marijuana at Work?
Massachusetts employers are allowed to restrict the consumption of marijuana by their employees in the workplace. There is no law that would require employers or supervisors to tolerate on-the-job marijuana use or impairment during work hours.
But state lawmakers have pushed for protections for employees for off-duty use of cannabis. In other words, lawmakers may introduce a new law that would protect job applicants and employees who test positive for marijuana when they smoked or consumed weed outside of work hours.
Speak with our Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer at The Law Offices of Richard Mucci if you are being accused of a drug crime or illegal use or possession of weed in the Bay State. Call our offices at 781-729-3999 to schedule a free consultation.