May 23, 2017 6:15 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

November 8, 2016 was a landmark day in Massachusetts.  Voters passed a ballot question that allowed adults to possess limited amounts of cannabis for recreational purposes, and for those with a green thumb, to cultivate and grow cannabis in their own homes, beginning on December 15, 2016.  As is usually the case with anything involving government, there is always a catch.  So while I can boogaloo down Broadway holding an ounce of primo cannabis, it still remains illegal to buy or sell cannabis in Massachusetts (this does not apply to those who are registered medical marijuana patients).  But let me digress . . .

In the words of Jerry Garcia, “what a long strange trip it’s been” for those of us who’ve been partaking for decades and have progressed from smoking dope/pot/weed to smoking cannabis.  For someone such as myself, who still refers to pot as weed, smokeable cannabis is now called leaf.  The quality of cannabis has gone from seeds and twigs to seedless to each strain having a name and THC content associated with it.  As the quality of the cannabis has evolved, so have the various delivery systems . . . from joints, pipes and those created out of necessity to state-of-the-art vaporizers, volcanoes, enhancement devices that work (much better than the pyramid power I tried to harness).  Have the times finally caught up with the  users of cannabis?  Perhaps . . .

As this is being written, there are many potential changes afoot to that which the Massachusetts voter’s will.  The opening of dispensaries for recreational cannabis has been delayed until early 2018.  Lawmakers have discussed raising the age of consumption of cannabis to 25 from its current 21.  It is certainly fair to say that, at this point, the public’s ability to purchase cannabis from a dispensary is somewhat illusory.

For this who wish to read The Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act, here is a link:

Here are the current yeas and nays of the law cannabis in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts:

What is legal?

•  Outside the home, adults 21 or over can possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana.

•  Inside the home, adults 21 or over may possess up to 10 ounces of pot. A single individual may cultivate up to 6 marijuana plants for personal use, and up to 12 plants per household are allowed if more than one adult lives on the premises.

•  It’s copacetic for one adult to give up to an ounce of pot to another adult, but no money can change hands.

What isn’t legal?

•  Recreational marijuana cannot be sold in any form in Massachusetts without a retail license.  A Cannabis Control Commission, yet to be named, will be responsible for issuing retail licenses.

•  Marijuana cannot be possessed, purchased, grown or used by anyone under age 21 (unless they have a valid medical marijuana permit).  It is against the law to give away pot to someone under 21.

•  Smoking pot is illegal in any public place. You can’t, for example, walk down the street smoking a joint the way you would a cigarette. It’s also illegal to smoke pot in any place where tobacco is banned.

•  Possession of any amount of marijuana remains illegal on school grounds.

•  Laws against operating cars and other vehicles under the influence of marijuana are unchanged. Don’t smoke marijuana and drive.

•  Open containers or partially consumed packages of marijuana cannot be kept in a motor vehicle, except in the trunk or a locked glove compartment.

•  Pot growing at home must be done discreetly and securely. Marijuana plants cannot be plainly visible from the street or any public area and must be cultivated someplace where there is a security device.

•  Tenants cannot grow pot in their residences or smoke it if their landlord has a rule against it.

•  Since marijuana is still barred under federal law, it can’t be brought across state lines, sent by United States mail or used on federal property.

As you can see, at this time, the don’ts outweigh the dos.   The recreational possession and usage of cannabis with certain limitation in Massachusetts is legal.  How you acquire your cannabis, however, must still remain undisclosed.

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This post was written by Barry Levine

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