Legalized marijuana is now a half-billion-dollar industry in Massachusetts, and although private consumption, ownership, and cultivation of marijuana are legal for those 21 and older, you can run afoul of the law if you possess more than one ounce at a time, drive under its influence, or keep open containers in your vehicle.
Also, you may be an entrepreneur seeking to open a marijuana dispensary and find yourself running up against legal roadblocks, and you need help.
In either situation, attorney Devin McBride, who proudly serves clients in and around Quincy, Massachusetts, can provide the legal experience and expertise you need to prevail, whether facing criminal charges for sales or possession, or government entanglements with your business start-up.
In 2016, Massachusetts voters approved Question 4, a ballot measure designed to treat marijuana possession and consumption like alcohol. In July 2017, legalization took effect, and by January of the next year, 30 legal dispensaries had opened.
Under Question 4, possession and consumption for those 21 and older are legal with these provisions:
You can have 1 ounce on you and 10 ounces at home
Possession at home must be locked away
You can’t consume in public in any form (vaping, smoking, edibles)
You can grow up to 6 plants at home, 12 for two adults
Like alcohol, you cannot have open containers in your car
You cannot drive a vehicle under its influence
Cities, towns, landlords, and employers can establish their own rules regarding marijuana
You cannot sell the substance unless you have a legally licensed dispensary
So, though marijuana use is legal, there are also boundaries beyond which you cannot go without facing possible legal consequences. Penalties for violations include fines and possible jail time.
The number of marijuana dispensaries in Massachusetts has certainly blossomed since the first 30 that opened in 2018. In addition, there are now cultivation and distribution centers, also legally licensed.
The state Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) regulates the issuance of licenses for Registered Marijuana Dispensaries (RMDs). To qualify, an applicant must not have a prior felony conviction, whether in-state or out-of-state, so long as the crime would be a felony in Massachusetts. A background check will be conducted for verification.
The application is also forwarded to the municipality in which the RMD would be located. Licensing is subject to local regulations and approval. Also, no dispensary can operate within 500 feet of a public or private school unless the town in question has legislatively changed the restriction.
Generally, approval or denial will come within 90 days. If a license is not available, applicants will enter a lottery in case one becomes available.
If you are facing charges associated with marijuana, there are several possible defenses that your attorney will explore including:
Illegal Stop - The law officer didn’t have a valid reason for pulling you over.
Lack of Possession - You were unaware it was there or you never had possession of the drugs.
Within the Legal Limits - The amount was that which is within legal limits.
Invalid Search Warrant - Search warrants can be invalid when they are based on an unreliable informant, contains false information, or the officer exceeded the scope of the warrant.
An experienced, knowledgeable attorney can challenge the commonwealth’s evidence, or seek to exclude or suppress evidence. The attorney can also work with the district attorney on lessening the charge or obtaining probation in exchange for drug counseling.
McBride Law defends those who have either been wrongfully accused or are seeking to reduce their sentence for marijuana-related offenses. Attorney Devin McBride has years of experience helping individuals in Quincy, Norwell, Hingham, and Weymouth, Massachusetts, with all types of drug charges. Contact the McBride Law Office today for a free case assessment.