By Maddie Arreola
BU News Service
In last year’s election, Massachusetts legalized marijuana for recreational use. But what does this mean? Can you smoke up anywhere without a care? Where can you purchase it? Who can purchase it? Luckily, for those with questions, I’ve compiled some answers.
Massachusetts isn’t the only state that legalized recreational use.
It’s also legal to smoke marijuana if you are over 21 in: Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and The District of Columbia (Washington D.C.)
You aren’t able to use an out of state medical marijuana license in Massachusetts.
While some states have reciprocity agreements that allow you to use your medical marijuana card in both states, Massachusetts isn’t one of them. Your California or Colorado medical marijuana card won’t do anything here.
If you are looking to obtain a medical marijuana license in Massachusetts, there are only a select amount of conditions that qualify.
Massachusetts is strict with who can receive a medical marijuana card. Currently, the only conditions that qualify for a medical marijuana license are: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Cancer, Crohn’s disease, Glaucoma, HIV or AIDS, Hepatitis C, Multiple Sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease. Some other conditions may apply, so you should talk to your doctor if you think you may qualify for a medical marijuana license.
You won’t get busted for possession (mostly).
Adults 21 and older will be able to possess up to one ounce of marijuana outside of their residence and up to ten ounces of marijuana inside their residence. Medical marijuana patients are allowed to have up to 10 ounces every two months. You can also grow it at home. A single individual can grow up to six marijuana plants for personal use. That number jumps to 12 plants if more than one adult lives on the premises.
Even though marijuana is legal in Massachusetts, it’s still illegal to use in public.
This means public transportation, parks, schools, and sidewalks are off limits. You can legally use it in private residences, including your home or your friend’s. It’s also illegal to use in any place where tobacco is banned.
It’s still illegal to possess any amount of marijuana on school campuses.
Marijuana is still illegal under federal law. Any university that allows college students to use marijuana will risk losing their federal funding, and they won’t risk it.
You might not be able to grow or smoke pot in your residence.
Landlords can decide to make rules against growing and/or smoking weed, so check your rental agreement to be sure.
You can start to purchase recreational marijuana legally summer of 2018.
Voters approved the opening of retail pot shops for January of 2018, but lawmakers delayed the opening until July 2018, citing that they needed more time to rewrite the bill and send it to the Governor.
You might not be able to purchase it legally yet, but you can “gift” weed.
An adult is able to give away up to an ounce of pot to another adult, but NOT for money. It’s also against the law to give marijuana to someone under 21.
No, you can’t start selling weed brownies to people.
A new state agency, the Cannabis Control Commission, will be putting together regulations over the next several months before dispensaries open, including an application process for those interested in selling cannabis products like edibles.
Want to work for a marijuana dispensary?
The new marijuana law calls for full background checks for applicants of retail marijuana licenses and employees of the Cannabis Control Commission. However, even if you do have a prior drug possession offense, you won’t be barred from obtaining a license or working in a marijuana retail shop.
You can’t transport marijuana across state lines.
Since marijuana is still an illegal controlled substance under federal law, it can’t be brought across state lines, sent by mail or used on federal property. If you do travel across state lines with weed, you could be charged with a felony at the federal level or arrested for possession if you end up in a state that doesn’t allow recreational or medical marijuana, even if you are a legally registered patient in Massachusetts. In the state, however, an adult may possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana. If you are a medical marijuana patient with a valid ID card, you can carry as much as your doctor prescribes for a 60-day supply, within the state.
There will be additional taxes on recreational marijuana once dispensaries are up and running.
There will be a 6.25 percent sales tax, a 10 percent excise tax, and a 3 percent “local option” tax that cities and towns will be able to impose. Unlike recreational marijuana, medical marijuana will stay untaxed.
Under the current law, locals could still vote to ban marijuana in their community.
The power to ban marijuana shops would depend on how a town voted on ballot Question 4 last November. If the majority of a town voted to legalize marijuana, that town could decide to hold a referendum if local officials want to ban or restrict marijuana shops. But if the majority of the town voted against legalization, which 91 communities in Massachusetts did, local officials will have the ability to impose limits or bans on retail shops before Dec. 31, 2019.