In 2016, Massachusetts voters chose to legalize recreational marijuana. In particular, it is legal to have one ounce of recreational marijuana on your person, and up to 10 ounces in your home. The cannabis industry does not sprout up overnight, though. Now that 2019 is here, how Massachusetts will regulate its cannabis industry and refine its marijuana laws is looking clearer. What points-of-interest in 2019 for Massachusetts marijuana laws should you know about?
Drug Dogs & Drug Crime Defense
Many drug possession arrests occur due to a drug-dog-assisted search and seizure of a suspect’s property. However, law enforcement agencies across the state are now facing the challenge of training a new pack of drug dogs who will not react to the scent of marijuana, but only for other illegal narcotics. As Attorney Richard Sweeney recently discussed in an article with CBS 4 Boston — which you can view in full by clicking here — once a police dog is alerted to marijuana, it invalidates the entire search and renders any evidence found thereafter inadmissible in court. He anticipates ill-trained drug search dogs could create a frequent defense for drug crime cases, but the correct training of such canines could boost the prosecution’s chances in some cases.
Increased Dispensary Locations
Massachusetts only recently began opening recreational marijuana dispensaries that are permitted to sell legal amounts of the substance to people with a valid ID showing their age of 21 or older. By the end of 2018, five such dispensaries opened, marking Massachusetts as one of the quickest-moving states on the Eastern Seaboard to open dispensary doors. At least 60 total dispensaries are expected to open for business by the end of 2019.
Social Marijuana Use
Recreational marijuana still needs to be used in the privacy of your own home in order for Massachusetts law to consider it legal. This stipulation has created a major problem for people living in public housing and similar situations. The Cannabis Control Commission recently met to discuss how Massachusetts might approve “pot cafes” in 2019, which would allow patrons to use recreational marijuana legally in a public setting, much like a bar that sells alcohol to the public despite public intoxication being illegal. The committee discussed what legal steps would need to occur to make “pot cafes” possible, as well as what safer hurdles should be put in place. For example, such cafes may likely only offer marijuana with low THC concentration, provide each visitor safety information about using marijuana while pregnant or nursing, and enable patrons to enjoy a significant discount on ridesharing services to get home without the risk of driving under the influence of drugs.
Quincy Criminal Defense Attorneys Protecting Your New Marijuana Rights
As an adult resident of Massachusetts, you have the legal right to use and possess recreational marijuana. Do not let an overzealous law enforcement agency or prosecution try to wrongfully penalize you for exercising that right! If you were arrested and charged for drug possession or another drug crime, call (617) 300-0212 to connect with Sweeney & Associates, LLC. Our drug crime attorneys in Quincy can bring decades of legal experience together to come to your defense.
To arrange a free initial consultation with our team, contact us now.