If you live in Massachusetts and are over the age of 21, CONGRATULATIONS!!! Massachusetts Question 4 has taken effect. The possession (1 ounce away from home, 10 ounces at home, any and all marijuana harvested at the residence), consumption, and home cultivation (6 plants per person, 12 plants max per household) of marijuana is now legal for you.
Marijuana sales are not legal yet, and things like driving while high and consuming marijuana in public are still illegal. However, Massachusetts is now home to arguably the best recreational marijuana law in the nation. Massachusetts is the sixth state (first on the East Coast!) to officially legalize marijuana, behind Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and California. Washington D.C. has also legalized recreational marijuana. Maine and Nevada have also voted to legalize marijuana, but Maine is currently going through a recount before the initiative is certified, 30 days after which the law will take effect. Nevada’s law takes effect on January 1, 2017.
Below is a statement from earlier today from NORML about the historic policy change in Massachusetts:
On Thursday, December 15, Massachusetts becomes the sixth US state to eliminate criminal penalties specific to the adult possession and personal use of cannabis. The law change ends over a century-long policy of criminal cannabis prohibition in the Bay State.
“By legalizing the adult use of marijuana, Massachusetts will shrink the illicit black market, generate millions in tax revenue, end the arrest of otherwise law abiding citizens, and better enable society to keep marijuana out of the hands of children,” NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri said.
Alaska, California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington have previously adopted voter-initiated laws legalizing the private consumption of cannabis by adults. The District of Columbia also permits adults to legally possess and grow personal use quantities of marijuana in private residences.
On Election Day, 54 percent of Massachusetts voters approved Question 4, The Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act. Question 4 permits adults who are not participating in the state’s existing 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).
Separate provisions in the statute also license the commercial cannabis production and retail sales of cannabis. Those regulations do not take effect until January 1, 2018. However, some state lawmakers have suggested delaying this timeline, raising the state’s proposed sales tax rate, and amending the state’s new home cultivation guidelines.
NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano encouraged lawmakers to act swiftly to implement the other elements of Question 4 as they were initially written and approved by voters. He said: “Massachusetts was the first state in the nation to impose criminal penalties on marijuana – doing so in 1914. After more than a century of this failed policy, it is time to bring prohibition to an end in Massachusetts.”
image via SF Gate