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Massachusetts Laws

Selected Case Law

Web Sources


Massachusetts Laws

St. 2016, c.34 , as amended by St.2016, c.351 The Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act
Effective December 15, 2016, adults may possess and use marijuana.After required licensing procedures, retail marijuana stores will be permitted to open beginning in July, 2018.
MGL c.94C Controlled substances act. Includes penalties for other drugs, trafficking or possession of larger quantities of marijuana.

Selected Case Law

Comm. v. Cruz , 459 Mass. 459 (2011). "[T]here was no basis on which the police could order the defendant out of the vehicle without at least some other additional fact beyond the mere odor of burnt marijuana... in light of the enactment of G. L. c. 94C, §§ 32L-32N ,..., which decriminalized possession of less than one ounce of marijuana."

Comm. v. Keefner , 461 Mass. 507 (2012). The law which "decriminalized possession of one ounce or less of marijuana, did not repeal the offense of possession with intent to distribute marijuana, in violation of G. L. c.94C, § 32C (a), where the amount of marijuana possessed is one ounce or less."

Comm. v. Rodriguez , 472 Mass. 767 (2015). The mere odor of burnt marijuana is insufficient cause to stop a motor vehicle. 

Web Sources

  • Board of Bar Overseers/Office of Bar Counsel Policy on Legal Marijuana links to PDF file
    The Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers and Office of the Bar Counsel will not prosecute a member of the Massachusetts bar solely for advising a client regarding the validity, scope, and meaning of Massachusetts statutes and laws regarding medical or other legal forms of marijuana or for assisting a client in conduct that the lawyer reasonably believes is permitted by Massachusetts statutes, regulations, orders, and other state or local provisions implementing them, as long as the lawyer also advises the client regarding related federal law and policy.
  • Sample Bylaw: Public Consumption of Marihuana or Tetrahydrocannabinol pdf format of sample_by_law_public_consump_marihuana.pdf
, Executive Office of Public Safety and Security
    Provides a model bylaw that towns may choose to adopt
  • State Legalization of Recreational Marijuana: Selected Legal Issues links to PDF file , Congressional Legal Service, 2013
    Explores the apparent conflict between federal and state drug laws in light of legalization in Colorado and Washington for small amounts of recreational marijuana

Last update: January 26, 2017

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