Massachusetts: Marijuana decriminalization law goes into effect

By Greenport · Jan 2, 2009 · Updated Jan 2, 2009 · ·
  1. Greenport
    It's no longer a crime to have one ounce or less of pot. The state's new marijuana decriminalization law, approved by voters in a November referendum, goes into effect today.

    Those who are caught with an ounce or less would get a ticket similar to a building code citation. They could appeal the civil infraction in court within 21 days or pay a $100 fine set in the law. Juvenile violators would have to pay the fine and attend a drug abuse counseling course, or have the fine increased to $1,000.

    The state Executive Office of Public Safety and Security released guidelines Monday in response to questions about the law. The state noted that the new statute applied to all substances that contain THC, which includes hashish and hash oil. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the active ingredient in marijuana that gives users a high.

    The state also asked communities to consider passing local ordinances criminalizing the use of marijuana in public, which today is only a civil offense if the smoker possesses an ounce or less.

    January 2, 2009 08:00 AM
    By Globe Staff

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