Massachusetts voters approved Question 4 on Election Day 2016 by a vote of 53.57% to 46.43%. Massachusetts was joined by Maine in becoming the first two states on the East Coast to legalize recreational marijuana. The victories in both states have already jump started conversations in surrounding state legislatures to explore how they can follow in Maine and Massachusetts’ footsteps. Massachusetts is home to well over 6 million people, and is geographically located in a part of America that instantly makes it a potential cannabis industry leader.
But the details for the industry will take awhile to work out. The rule making process has to commence, business licenses need to be issued, and harvests need to be obtained long before someone can start making legal purchases in Massachusetts. Massachusetts’ marijuana legalization law did not take effect on Election Day. Per Massachusetts Question 4’s initiative language:
SECTION 12. This act shall take effect on December 15, 2016.
It will be a little over a month before the initiative takes effect. Once it does, Massachusetts will have some of the best marijuana possession laws in the country. Per the initiative’s text:
(1) possessing, using, purchasing, processing or manufacturing 1 ounce or less of marijuana, except that not more than 5 grams of marijuana may be in the form of marijuana concentrate;
(2) within the person’s primary residence, possessing up to 10 ounces of marijuana and any marijuana produced by marijuana plants cultivated on the premises and possessing, cultivating or processing not more than 6 marijuana plants for personal use so long as not more than 12 plants are cultivated on the premises at once;
Prior to the 2016 election, Oregon had the distinction of having the highest home possession limit (8 ounces). At 10 expressed ounces, Massachusetts would have the highest limit in the country. The catch all provision of ‘any marijuana produced by marijuana plants cultivated on the premises’ is significant. As long as people are growing marijuana and keeping it at their residence, they can basically possess as much marijuana as they can grow. There are already calls for the Massachusetts Legislature to go against the will of voters and modify the law. Now is a great time to contact your Massachusetts Representatives and Senators to let them know that’s a bad idea. You can find out who your Massachusetts Senator and Representative (and how to contact them) at this link here.