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Massachusetts Marijuana Law, Regulation, Penalties, Attornies & Congressman

Massachusetts Legalization

SUMMARY: Fifty-four percent of Massachusetts voters approved Question 4 which permits adults who are not participating in the state’s medical cannabis program to legally grow (up to six plants, including all of the harvest from those plants) and to possess personal use quantities of cannabis (up to one ounce and/or up to 5 grams of concentrate; in addition, adults may legally possess up to ten ounces of marijuana flower in their home) while also licensing commercial cannabis production and retail sales. Regulations with regard to the commercial marijuana market are anticipated to go into effect on July 1, 2018.

INFORMATION: https://www.regulatemassachusetts.org/full-initiative-text/.

Massachusetts Marijuana Law, Regulation, Penalties, Attornies & Congressman

Offense Penalty Incarceration   Max. Fine  

Possession

Personal Use

Up to 1 oz No Penalty None $ 0
More than 1 oz (first offense) Misdemeanor 6 months $ 500
More than 1 oz (subsequent offense) Misdemeanor 2 years $ 2,000

With intent to distribute

Less than 50 lbs (first offense) Not Classified 0 – 2 years $ 5,000
Less than 50 lbs (subsequent offense) Not Classified 1 – 2.5 years $ 10,000
50 – less than 100 lbs Felony 1* – 15 years $ 10,000
100 – less than 2000 lbs Felony 2* – 15 years $ 25,000
2000 – less than 10,000 lbs Felony 3.5* – 15 years $ 50,000
10,000 lbs or more Felony 8* – 15 years $ 200,000
Within 300 feet of a school, or within 100 feet of a public park Felony 2* – 15 years $ 10,000
Causing or inducing someone under 18 years to commit offenses Felony 5* – 15 years $ 100,000
* Mandatory minimum sentence

Cultivation

Up to 6 plants No Penalty None $ 0

Distribution

Less than 50 lbs (first offense) Not Classified 0 – 2 years $ 5,000
Less than 50 lbs (subsequent offense) Not Classified 1 – 2.5 years $ 10,000
50 – less than 100 lbs Felony 1* – 15 years $ 10,000
100 – less than 2000 lbs Felony 2* – 15 years $ 25,000
2000 – less than 10,000 lbs Felony 3.5* – 15 years $ 50,000
10,000 lbs or more Felony 8* – 15 years $ 200,000
Within 300 feet of a school, or within 100 feet of a public park Felony 2* – 15 years $ 10,000
Causing or inducing someone under 18 years to commit offenses Felony 5* – 15 years $ 100,000
* Mandatory minimum sentence

Hash & Concentrates

Possession of up to 5 g No Penalty None $ 0
Possession of 5 g to 1 oz Civil Offense N/A $ 100
Possession of more than 1 oz N/A 1 year $ 1,000
Manufacture or distribution N/A 2.5 – 5 years $ 5,000
Manufacture or distribution to a minor N/A 2 – 15 years $ 25,000
Using a minor to manufacture or distribute N/A 5* – 15 years $ 100,000
* Mandatory minimum sentence

Paraphernalia

Selling, possessing, or purchasing paraphernalia No Penalty None $ 0
Selling to someone under 18 years of age Felony 3 – 5 years $ 5,000

Forfeiture

Marijuana, vehicles, and money are subject to forfeiture.

Miscellaneous

Conspiracy to commit any marijuana related offense is punishable by up to the maximum punishment.
Possession of 1 oz or less cannot result in the suspension of driving privileges.

Penalty Details

Marijuana is a class D controlled substance under the Massachusetts Controlled Substances Act.

See

  • Mass. Gen. Laws. ch. 94C, § 31 

Possession for Personal Use

An adult may possess up to one ounce of marijuana; up to 5 grams of marijuana may be marijuana concentrate in their home.

Including cultivation (see below), an adult may possess up to 10 ounces of marijuana.

An adult who possesses more than one ounce of marijuana or marijuana products must secure the products with a lock.

See

  • Mass. Gen. Laws. ch. 94G, § 7 
  • Mass. Gen. Laws. ch. 94G § 13(b) 

Possession of more than one ounce of marijuana is punishable by a fine of $500 and/or imprisonment of up to 6 months. However, first offenders of the controlled substances act will be placed on probation and all official records relating to the conviction will be sealed upon successful completion of probation. Subsequent offenses may result in a fine of $2000 and/or imprisonment of up to 2 years. Individuals previously convicted of felonies under the controlled substances act who are arrested with over an ounce of marijuana may be subject to a fine of $2000 and/or up to 2 years of imprisonment.

See

  • Mass. Gen. Laws. ch. 94C, § 34

Possession with Intent to Distribute

For first offenders, possessing less than 50 pounds of marijuana with the intent to manufacture, distribute, dispense or cultivate is punishable by a fine of $500-$5,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 2 years. Subsequent offenses are punishable by a fine of $1,000-$10,000 and/or imprisonment of 1-2.5 years.

See

  • Mass. Gen. Laws, ch. 94C, § 32C

Possessing 50 – less than 100 pounds of marijuana with intent to distribute is a felony punishable by a fine of $500-$10000 and imprisonment for 2.5-15 years. There is a mandatory minimum sentence of 1 year for this offense.

Possessing 100 – less than 2000 pounds if marijuana with intent to distribute is a felony punishable by a fine of $2,500-$25,000 and imprisonment for 2-15 years. There is a mandatory minimum term of 2 years imprisonment.

Possessing 2,000 – less than 10,000 pounds of marijuana with intent to distribute is a felony punishable by a fine of $5,000-$50,000 and imprisonment for 3 ½ – 15 years. There is a mandatory minimum term of 3 ½ years imprisonment.

Possessing 10,000 pounds or more of marijuana with intent to distribute is a felony punishable by a fine of $20,000-$200,000 and imprisonment of 8-15 years. There is a mandatory minimum term of 8 years of imprisonment for this offense.

See

  • Mass. Gen. Laws. ch. 94C, § 32E 

If any of the above offenses are committed within 300 feet of a school and if the violation occurs between 5:00 a.m. and midnight, whether or not in session, or within 100 feet of a public park that offense is punishable by a fine of $1,000-$10,000 and imprisonment for 2 – 15 years. This offense has a mandatory minimum term of 2 years of imprisonment.

See

  • Mass. Gen. Laws. ch. 94C, § 32J

Causing or inducing someone under 18 to commit any of the above offenses is punishable by a fine of $1,000-$100,000 and imprisonment for 5 – 15 years. This offense has a mandatory minimum term of 5 years of imprisonment.

See

  • Mass. Gen. Laws. ch. 94C, § 32K 

Cultivation

An adult may grow six marijuana plants at the adult’s primary residence with a limit of a total of twelve plants at the residence.

An adult may not grow marijuana plants where the plants “are visible from a public place.” A violation of this section is punishable as a civil offense with a penalty not to exceed $300 and forfeiture of the marijuana.

See

  • Mass. Gen. Laws. ch. 94G, § 7 
  • Mass. Gen. Laws. ch. 94G, § 13 

Distribution

For first offenders, selling less than 50 pounds of marijuana is punishable by a fine of $500-$5,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 2 years. Subsequent offenses are punishable by a fine of $1,000-$10,000 and/or imprisonment for 1 – 2.5 years.

See

  • Mass. Gen. Laws. ch. 94C, § 32C 

Selling or cultivating 50 – less than 100 pounds of marijuana is a felony punishable by a fine of $500-$10,000 and imprisonment for 1 – 15 years. There is a mandatory minimum term of 1 year for this offense.

Selling or cultivating 100 – less than 2000 pounds of marijuana is a felony punishable by a fine of $2,500-$25,000 and imprisonment for 2 – 15 years. There is a mandatory minimum term of 2 years imprisonment.

Selling or cultivating 2,000 – less than 10,000 pounds of marijuana with is a felony punishable by a fine of $5,000-$50,000 and is punishable by imprisonment for 3 ½ – 15 years. There is a mandatory minimum term of 3 ½ years imprisonment.

Selling or cultivating 10,000 pounds or more of marijuana with intent to distribute is a felony punishable by a fine of $20,000-$200,000 and imprisonment for 8 – 15 years. There is a mandatory minimum term of 8 years imprisonment.

See

  • Mass. Gen. Laws. ch. 94C, § 32E 

If any of these offenses are committed within 300 feet of a school and if the violation occurs between 5:00 a.m. and midnight, whether or not in session, or within 100 feet of a public park, that offense is punishable by a fine of $1,000-$10,000 and imprisonment for 2 – 15 years. This offense has a mandatory minimum term of 2 years imprisonment.

See

  • Mass. Gen. Laws. ch. 94C, § 32J

Causing or inducing someone under 18 to commit any of the above offenses is punishable by a fine of $1,000-$100,000 and imprisonment for 5-15 years. This offense has a mandatory minimum term of 5 years of imprisonment.

See

  • Mass. Gen. Laws. ch. 94C, § 32K 

Hash & Concentrates

An adult may possess up to five grams of marijuana concentrate.

See

  • Mass. Gen. Laws. ch. 94G, § 7 

Massachusetts statute defines Marihuana as including the resin extracted from the Cannabis plant and any derivatives or compounds thereof. The statute also defines Tetrahydrocannabinol separately as any compound that contains Tetrahydrocannabinol that is not itself Marihuana. The Massachusetts Controlled Substances Schedule classifies Marihuana as a Class D drug whereas Tetrahydrocannabinol as a Class C drug. Case law indicates that Hashish and Concentrates are meant to be prosecuted as Tetrahydrocannabinol, using the penalties for Class C drugs.

Massachusetts defines marijuana products to include concentrates, edible products, beverages, topical products, ointments, oils and tinctures.

See

  • Mass. Gen. Laws. ch. 94C, §1
  • Mass. Gen. Laws. ch. 94C, §31 
  • Commonwealth v. Weeks, 431 N.E.2d 586 (Mass. App. Ct. 1982). 
  • Mass. Gen. Laws. ch. 94G, §5

The Massachusetts decriminalization law explicitly reduced penalties for the possession of less than one ounce of either Tetrahydrocannabinols or Marijuana, though it does not modify any other penalties relating to Hashish.

Possession of one ounce or less of hashish is decriminalized and is punishable as a civil offense. If the offender is over the age of 18 they must pay a fine of $100. Offenders under the age of 18 must pay a $100 fine and must attend a drug awareness program. Possession of less than an ounce of hashish cannot result in denial of public financial assistance or the right to a driver’s license.

See

  • Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 94C §32L, 32M 

Possession of any amount of Hashish greater than one ounce is subject to no more than one year’s imprisonment and a fine of no greater than $1000. Diversionary probation is available for first time offenders.

See

  • Mass. Gen Laws. ch. 94C §34 

Manufacture, distribution, dispensing, or possession with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense Hashish is punishable by up to five years imprisonment in a state prison or two and one half years in a jail or house of correction, as well as a fine of between $500 – $5000.

Engaging in any of the above conduct when one has at least one prior conviction for a similar drug crime is punishable by up to ten years in a state prison or two and one half years in a jail or house of correction, as well as a fine of between $1,000 – $10,000. This crime is subject to a mandatory minimum of two years imprisonment.

See

  • Mass. Gen. Laws ch 94C §32B 

The manufacture, distribution, dispensing, or possession with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense Hashish to a minor under eighteen years is punishable by up to fifteen years imprisonment in a state prison or two and one half years in a jail or house of correction, as well as a fine of between $1,000 – $25,000. There is a mandatory minimum sentence of two years imprisonment.

See

  • Mass Gen Laws. ch. 94C § 32F 

If a police officer finds a child under seventeen years old in a place where Hashish, or what the officer reasonable believes is Hashish, is present, the police officer may lawfully take the child into protective custody for a period not to exceed four hours.

See

  • Mass Gen Laws. ch. 94C § 36 

Using or inducing a minor to manufacture, dispense, distribute, or possess with intent to manufacture, dispense, or distribute Hashish is punishable by up to fifteen years imprisonment in the state prison and a fine of no more than $100,000. This offense carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years.

See

  • Mass Gen. Laws ch. 94C §32K

Paraphernalia

An adult may buy and use marijuana paraphernalia.

See

  • Mass Gen. Laws ch. 94G §8

Selling marijuana paraphernalia to someone under 18 years of age is a felony and is punishable by a fine of $1,000-$5,000 and/or 3-5 years of imprisonment.

See

  • Mass. Gen. Laws. ch. 94C, § 32I(b) 

Forfeiture

All marijuana is subject to forfeiture, even in amounts under an ounce which is decriminalized in the state.

See

  • Mass. Gen. Laws. ch. 94C, § 47(a)(1) 

Vehicles are subject to forfeiture if they are used to distribute marijuana or possess marijuana that a person intends to distribute.

See

  • Mass. Gen. Laws. ch. 94C, § 47(a)(3) 

All money or proceeds that can be traced to a sale of marijuana are subject to forfeiture.

See

  • Mass. Gen. Laws. ch. 94C, § 47(a)(5)

Miscellaneous

Conspiracy

Conspiring with another person to commit any marijuana related offense is punishable by up to the maximum punishment for the crime which was the object of the conspiracy.

See

  • Mass. Gen. Laws. ch. 94C, § 40 
Driving Under the Influence

Failure to pass a sobriety test can result in a fine and/or imprisonment. Massachusetts does not test for THC in blood,urine, or hair when deciding if an individual has been driving while intoxicated.

Driver’s License Suspension

Simple possession of one ounce or less of pot cannot result in the suspension of driving privileges.

See

  • Mass. Gen. Laws. ch. 94C, § 32L
CONDITIONAL RELEASE

The state allows conditional release or alternative or diversion sentencing for people facing their first prosecutions. Usually, conditional release lets a person opt for probation rather than trial. After successfully completing probation, the individual’s criminal record does not reflect the charge.

DRUGGED DRIVING

This state has a per se drugged driving law enacted. In their strictest form, these laws forbid drivers from operating a motor vehicle if they have a detectable level of an illicit drug or drug metabolite (i.e., compounds produced from chemical changes of a drug in the body, but not necessarily psychoactive themselves) present in their bodily fluids above a specific, state-imposed threshold. 

LEGALIZATION

This state has legalized marijuana for personal use.

MANDATORY MINIMUM SENTENCE

When someone is convicted of an offense punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence, the judge must sentence the defendant to the mandatory minimum sentence or to a higher sentence. The judge has no power to sentence the defendant to less time than the mandatory minimum. A prisoner serving an MMS for a federal offense and for most state offenses will not be eligible for parole. Even peaceful marijuana smokers sentenced to “life MMS” must serve a life sentence with no chance of parole.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA

This state has medical marijuana laws enacted. Modern research suggests that cannabis is a valuable aid in the treatment of a wide range of clinical applications. These include pain relief, nausea, spasticity, glaucoma, and movement disorders. Marijuana is also a powerful appetite stimulant and emerging research suggests that marijuana’s medicinal properties may protect the body against some types of malignant tumors, and are neuroprotective. 

TAX STAMPS

This state has a marijuana tax stamp law enacted. This law mandates that those who possess marijuana are legally required to purchase and affix state-issued stamps onto his or her contraband. Failure to do so may result in a fine and/or criminal sanction. 

Massachusetts Drugged Driving

In Massachusetts, a person is guilty of a DUI if the person drives while under the influence of marijuana, narcotic drugs, depressants or stimulant substances. Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 90 § 24(1)(a)(1) (West 2010).

Implied Consent

In Massachusetts, a person suspected of driving while under the influence of alcohol has, by virtue of driving in the state, consented to provide a sample of breath, blood, or urine to police for testing in order to determine the amount of alcohol in his or her system. However, implied consent law does not require that an individual suspected of driving under the influence of marijuana or controlled substance submit to a chemical test in order to screen for the presence of drugs in his or her body. Ergo, in Massachusetts a chemical sample from an accused person should only be given on a voluntarily basis, and no penalties or sanctions apply for refusal to submit to chemical testing for drugs.

Penalties

  • First offense – not more than 30 months of house arrest; fine of $500-$5,000; license suspension for 1 year. NOTE: Alternative disposition available – probation with mandated participation in abuse counseling, license suspension for 45-90 days. Id. § 24(1)(a)(1).
  • Second offense – incarceration for not less than 60 days (30 day mandatory minimum), but not more than 30 months; fine of $600-$10,000; license suspension for 2 years. NOTE: Alternative disposition available – probation, 2-week confined treatment program, License suspension for two years. Id. § 24(1)(a)(1).
  • Third offense felony – incarceration for not less than 180 days (150 day mandatory), but not more than 5 years state prison; fine of $1,000-$15,000; license suspension for 8 years. Id. § 24(1)(a)(1).
  • Fourth offense felony – incarceration for not less than 2 years (1 year Minimum Mandatory), but not more than 5 years; fine of $1,500-$25,000; license suspension for 10 years. Id. § 24(1)(a)(1).
  • Fifth offense felony – incarceration for not less than 30 months, 24 months mandatory minimum, but not more than 5 years; fine of $2,000-$50,000; loss of license for life. Id. § 24(1)(a)(1).

Sobriety Checkpoints

In Massachusetts, sobriety checkpoints are upheld under both the state and federal constitutions.

  • Commonwealth has the burden of proving that sobriety checkpoint is reasonably operated in accordance with established guidelines, but showing of probable cause for stop is not required. Commonwealth v. Shields, 521 N.E.2d 987 (Mass. 1988)
  • Massachusetts courts have upheld drunk-driving roadblocks, but rules random roadblocks to seize narcotics violate Massachusetts constitutionCom. v. Rodriguez, 722 N.E.2d 429 (2000).

Case Law

Com. v. Connolly, 474 N.E.2d 1106 (1985) — In order to obtain conviction for DUI, Commonwealth need not prove defendant actually drove unskillfully or carelessly.

Com. v. Plowman, 548 N.E.2d 1278, 1281 (1990) — Massachusetts Supreme Court defined the meaning of “operation” as ‘intentionally do[ing] any act or make[ing] use of any mechanical or electrical agency which alone or in sequence will set in motion the motive power of that vehicle.” This remains the definition of “operation” today….Under this definition, evidence that an intoxicated person was observed sleeping in the driver’s seat of a parked vehicle, with keys in the ignition and the engine running, by itself,does not mandate a finding of “operation” under G.L. c. 90, § 24.”

Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Law

Status

 

Operational

Law Signed:

 2013

QUALIFYING CONDITIONS

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
  • Cancer
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Hepatitis C
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Other conditions as determined in writing by a qualifying patient’s physician

PATIENT POSSESSION LIMITS

No more than 10 ounces every two months

HOME CULTIVATION

Yes, limited amounts

STATE-LICENSED DISPENSARIES ALLOWED

Yes, no more than 35 state-licensed dispensaries allowed.

STATE-LICENSED DISPENSARIES OPERATIONAL

Yes

MEDICAL MARIJUANA STATUTES

  • 105 CMR 725.000

CAREGIVERS

Yes, individual patients will be permitted to designate a “personal caregiver” at least 21 years old to cultivate for them if they are unable to access a state-authorized dispensary or if they can verify “financial hardship.”

ESTIMATED NUMBER OF REGISTERED PATIENTS

RECIPROCITY

No

CONTACT INFORMATION

Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance

Massachusetts Tax Stamps

Stamp
State Code Ch. 64K, §4
Tax Rate $3.50/gram if owner possesses 40 grams or more
Penalty for Nonpayment (Civil and Criminal ) 200% of tax and up to $10k or 5 years prison or both
Additional Information
Found unconstitutional as double jeopardy in Commissioner of Revenue v. Robert Mullings, 428 Mass. 406; later amended to comply.

 

Massachusetts Verified Marijuana / Cannabis Attorney / Lawyer 

Joseph J Goldberg-Giuliano

617-858-1529

Joseph J Goldberg-Giuliano

Joseph J. Goldberg-Giuliano, Attorney at Law
One Constitution Center Suite 300

CharlestownMA 02129

www.massdefenselaw.com

Phone: 617-858-1529
 

Steve S Epstein

978-352-3300

Steve S Epstein

Epstein & Epstein
P.O. Box 266

GeorgetownMA 01833

Phone: 978-352-3300
 

Marvin Cable

413-268-6500

Marvin Cable

Law Office of Marvin Cable
67 N. Pleasant Street

AmherstMA 01002

marvincable.com

Phone: 413-268-6500

Michael Maloney

617-419-6719

Michael Maloney

Maloney Law
71 Legion PKWY Suite 25

BrocktonMA 02301

www.usmmlaw.com

Phone: 617-419-6719
 

Thomas B Lesser

413-584-7331

Thomas B Lesser

Lesser, Newman & Nasser, LLP
39 Main Street

NorthamptonMA 01060

www.lessernewman.com

Phone: 413-584-7331

Richard M Evans

413-586-1349

Richard M Evans

EvansCutler
90 Conz Street

NorthamptonMA 01060

www.evanscutler.com

Phone: 413-586-1349

Patrick T. Donovan

617-479-1800

Patrick T Donovan

Law Office of Patrick Donovan
234 Copeland Street Suite 230

QuincyMA 02169

www.pdonovanlaw.com

Phone: 617-479-1800

Valerio Giovanni Romano

617-934-2121

Valerio Giovanni Romano

Vicente Sederberg LLC
1400 Hancock St. 3rd Floor

QuincyMA02169

www.vicentesederberg.com

Phone: 617-934-2121
Massachusetts Congressman
 

Senators

Elizabeth Warren (D)

MASSACHUSETTS

Grade: B

Votes

 

Cosponsor

S 1726 Marijuana Businesses Access to Banking Act of 2015
S 683 – CARERS

Comments

Warren first said she supports medical marijuana in Fall 2012, shortly after her father died of cancer. “If there’s something a physician can prescribe that can help someone who’s suffering, I’m in favor of that,” she told Boston’s WTKK-FM. “It should be like any other prescription drug. That there’s careful control over it.” In September 2015, Warren said “I’m open to it,” when asked about a legalization initiative that may appear on her home state of Massachusetts’s ballot next year…on Wednesday, Warren told the Boston Globe that “we’ve learned more. A couple of states have legalized marijuana for recreational use. Frankly, I think we ought to be learning what we can from those states.” “A kid gets caught with a few ounces of pot and goes to jail, but a big bank launders drug money and no one gets arrested,” she said at the liberal Netroots Nation conference last year. “The game is rigged!” In Wednesday’s interview, Warren criticized the way scientific inquiry on marijuana has been stymied and stigmatized. “It’s just kind of a crazy thing, this country, for so long has done this like, ‘Marijuana, you know, no!’ We can’t even do scientific research around it. And so I’ve been pushing to say we ought to explore it and see what the consequences of marijuana use are.

Ed Markey (D)

MASSACHUSETTS

Grade: C+

Votes

 

Comments

In a letter signed by six other U.S. senators, Warren and Markey prodded federal agencies including the Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of National Drug Control Policy, and the Drug Enforcement Administration to become more involved and supportive of research around medical marijuana, and reduce some of the barriers to conducting that research.

This information is continually being updated. If you have an additional public comment that we do not have record of or any additional information please email [email protected].

House of Representatives

Mike Capuano (D)

MASSACHUSETTS

Grade: A+

Votes

 

Cosponsor

*H.R. 1013 Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol Act
H.R. 2076 Marijuana Businesses Access To Banking Act of 2015

Katherine Clark (D)

MASSACHUSETTS

Grade: B

Votes

 

No sponsorships or comments

Stephen Lynch (D)

MASSACHUSETTS

Grade: B

Votes

 

No sponsorships or comments

Jim McGovern (D)

MASSACHUSETTS

Grade: B

Votes

 

Cosponsor

*H.R. 2076: Marijuana Businesses Access to Banking Act of 2015

Seth Moulton (D)

MASSACHUSETTS

Grade: B

Votes

 

No sponsorships or comments

Richard Neal (D)

MASSACHUSETTS

Grade: B

Votes

 

No sponsorships or comments

Niki Tsongas (D)

MASSACHUSETTS

Grade: B

Votes

 

No sponsorships or comments

Bill Keating (D)

MASSACHUSETTS

Grade: D

Votes

 

No sponsorships or comments

Joseph P. Kennedy III (D)

MASSACHUSETTS

Grade: D

Votes