New Massachusetts Rules Allow Having Hashish

By chillinwill · Dec 30, 2008 · ·
  1. chillinwill
    Massachusetts police may no longer be able to arrest people for having a small amount of hashish, because a new law that decriminalizes possessing up to an ounce of marijuana could apply to other drugs with the same psychoactive ingredient, according to guidelines issued today.

    The guidelines, from the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, say possession of an ounce or less of THC — the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, hashish or hash oil — may now be decriminalized as well.

    Voters passed a referendum in November that replaces the criminal penalties for having up to an ounce of pot with the civil penalty of a $100 fine and forfeiture of the drug. The law takes effect Friday, and law enforcement agencies have been awaiting a guide to its practical enforcement.

    State officials expect that the judiciary will eventually have to answer specific questions about the law’s scope.

    But the guidelines make clear that existing laws prohibiting the distribution of marijuana or operating a motor vehicle under its influence remain unchanged. In addition, all law enforcement officers with civil enforcement powers — including campus officers — have the authority to issue the new $100 tickets.

    The guidelines also note the law allows cities and towns to pass ordinances or bylaws banning the public use of marijuana, even if having a small amount is decriminalized. Such bylaws had been unnecessary previously because possession of any amount of marijuana was illegal.

    Municipalities may want to enact the ordinances, much like public drinking ordinances, to prevent someone from smoking a joint on a public space, such as the Boston Common. Beginning Friday, that person risks nothing more than a $100 fine.

    "EOPSS recommends that municipalities enact such bylaws or ordinances and provide police with the option of treating public use as a misdemeanor offense," the guidelines said.

    The document includes a sample bylaw prepared by Attorney General Martha Coakley.

    Separately, the state’s commissioner of elementary and secondary education said in a memo last week that he does not believe the new law affects the authority of school officials to suspend or expel students who get caught with an ounce or less of marijuana on school property or at school-sponsored events.

    "We encourage school officials to use their authority under state law and school committee policy with discretion," wrote Mitchell Chester. "Preferably, disciplinary measures should be coupled with drug awareness programs, and students should be given the opportunity to continue education in alternative settings when excluded from school for disciplinary reasons."

    While proponents had argued the new law would free law enforcement officers to focus on more serious crime, police chiefs and the state’s 11 district attorneys opposed the change. They said it would ease access to what they consider a gateway drug and impede their ability to arrest drug traffickers and other criminals who often first become suspects because of marijuana possession.

    "Now, as long as you keep it to an ounce or less, the worse-case scenario is a $100 fine — and it doesn’t matter how many times you get caught, and there’s no record of it," Walpole Police Chief Richard Stillman said. "It’s a cost of doing business."

    Stillman also said teens may gravitate toward pot because the penalty for having an ounce or less is far less than the penalty for having alcohol. Under the new pot law, anyone under 18 would face the same forfeiture and fine as an adult if they complete a drug awareness program within a year.

    By Associated Press
    Monday, December 29, 2008
    Boston Herald

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  1. Herbal Healer 019
    The fact that there's a $100 fine which is supposedly the "worst case scenerio" kinda enforces the distribution of bud (4 SWIM) knowing that holding hashish/MJ carries consequences rather than a slap on the wrist...The idea of not being charged 4 possession is definately nice tho

    Sounds like a step in the right direction, as long as the feds aren't d-bags.
  2. doggy_hat
    Maybe the cops should stop picking on nonviolent "criminals" and actually focus their efforts of busting violent offenders that do deserve punishment. I mean that's the whole purpose of the law, right?

    I wonder if this new policy will cause a change in the way pot is consumed in the state though. Because for a dealer with a decent amount of business, an ounce of regs really isn't that much at all. And only getting a fine with no risk of even getting a criminal record would be lucrative. Might spark a boom in the use of hashish and hash oil.
  3. fnord
    Even more great news! Even though i dont see how the law wouldent apply to it im still Glad to see the law would still apply to hasish.

    I hear some activists are planning a public smokeout funded by an anonymous individual in Massachusetts,if anyone knows how to get in contact with eh fellow paying people s fines please PM me! Apparently they plan on sitting down in a public park in a large circle and smoking till the cops cop abd thenn running like psychos! Hahahahaha!!!! Too bad bongos still not around his contacts with masscann would be useful right now!
  4. Mercer414
    There have been cops in Mass. that are refusing to arrest people smoking weed. It's amazing how the country is changing. Slowly.
  5. runitsthepolice

    Running like psychos might not be the best idea. What's happening in massachusetts is a great thing, swim hopes people are responsible and dont ruin it.
  6. podge
    Isnt this just pointless though? If people are now able to smoke without fear of being arrested, why bother intentionally trying to annoy people just because they can ? Havent the swimmers here already won a major battle ? I think ultimatley it would just be more bad press for marijuana culture, swim thinks enjoy the victory , but there's no need to push the law and law enforcement officers when there is no benefit in doing so.

    Within the last year or so there was a few pro-marijuana marchs in swims neck of the woods, swim heard through a friend that most people came to just get stoned and drunk, even a few idiots were sporting out of control MDMA jaw clenching expressions..... what a ridiculous attempt at showing some responsibility and common sense, it just makes things harder for people who have valid points to be taken seriously.
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