Staying abreast of the laws regarding the possession and use of marijuana–not to mention the purchase, distribution, and cultivation of the drug–can be difficult to do. Not only does the federal government continue to classify marijuana as a Schedule I substance, the most dangerous classification there is, but laws in states like Massachusetts have evolved multiple times over the years.
If you live in Massachusetts, you may be wondering whether or not activity related to marijuana is criminal or not, and if it is, what the consequences are. Here’s what you need to know about the state’s marijuana laws, and what to do if you’re facing criminal penalties:
Marijuana Laws in Massachusetts
The state of Massachusetts has passed a number of laws related to the use of marijuana over the years. The first law related to the drug was passed in 2008, and decriminalized (but did not legalize) marijuana possession in small amounts.
In 2012, the state passed a law that allowed for the legal use of marijuana for medical purposes. And in 2016, the state legalized marijuana for recreational use amongst those who are 21 years of age and above. This law got a rewrite in 2017, with the final law holding that:
- Within your primary residence, you can lawfully possess up to 10 ounces;
- Outside your primary residence, you can lawfully possess one ounce;
- You can gift up to one ounce to another person;
- You can grow up to 12 marijuana plants within your home;
- You cannot smoke in public; and
- If you are under age 21 and are in possession of marijuana, you will be charged with a civil offense, not a crime.
So When Is Marijuana Possession, Distribution, or Cultivation a Crime?
There are still some acts regarding marijuana that are against the law in Massachusetts, and carry criminal penalties as such. For example, possession of over one ounce is a misdemeanor offense in the state. Possession with the intent to distribute when the amount is 50-100 pounds or more is a felony offense, and could carry an incarceration period of up to 15 years. Selling paraphernalia to someone under the age of 18 is also a crime.
What to Do if You’re Facing Marijuana Charges – Work with an Experienced Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorney
It is easy to get confused about the laws regarding marijuana use in Massachusetts, and assume that because recreational use in certain amounts and for those of a certain age is now legal, there is nothing illegal associated with the drug. However, this is far from true, and a person who violates a drug law within the state may face harsh consequences.
At The Law Offices of Paul R. Moraski, our experienced Massachusetts criminal defense attorney is here to help you understand the criminal charges you’re facing, and secure the best outcome for your case. Please call Paul today at (978) 397-0011, or tell us more about your case using the contact form on our website. Consultations are offered free of charge.