On November 4, 2008, the voters of the Commonwealth enacted Statewide Ballot Initiative Question 2, An Act Establishing a Sensible State Marihuana Policy. For the full text of Question 2 click here . The election results were certified by the Governor's Council on December 3, 2008. Therefore, the Act goes into effect on January 2, 2009.
As of January 2, possession of an ounce or less of marihuana or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) will be a civil offense, punishable by a civil penalty of $100 and forfeiture of the marijuana under a new Section 32L of chapter 94C of the Massachusetts General Laws. Additional provisions apply to violators under the age of 18. Records of this new civil offense (a " Section 32L violation ") will not be entered into the criminal offender record information, or "CORI," system.
Question 2 also prohibits the Commonwealth, the cities and towns, and their agencies from imposing any other form of penalty, sanction, or disqualification for the new civil offense of possessing an ounce or less of marihuana.
The implementation of Question 2 presents a number of challenges for the law enforcement community, city and town clerks, the court, and raises a number of questions for public schools, public employers, and state agencies. To help answer some of these questions, the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security's recommendations and resources are available on this page.
Please note that the opinions and recommendations on this website concerning Question 2 are solely the opinions of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security. They do not have the force of law, and should not be considered as legal advice. It is recommended that you obtain the opinion of counsel before taking any action with respect to Question 2.
MARIJUANA IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS (link to an Advisory issued by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education).
DISTRICT COURT PROCEDURE (link to District Court Chief Justice Connolly's Memorandum, December 23, 2008 revised December 31, 2008)
If you have additional questions not covered in these materials, please email us at EOPSinfo@state.ma.us. Do not expect a personal response, but these materials will be updated regularly to reflect additional frequently asked questions.