Massachusetts marijuana laws still allow prosecution for small amounts

19 Jan
Yep, even this lil nugget of "Bubba Kush" could land you in jail.

Yep, even this lil nugget of “Bubba Kush” could land you in jail.

From a legal standpoint, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts isn’t the most dangerous place to light up a joint.  Through voter decision, marijuana was decriminalized in 2009. More recently, the people of Massachusetts voted in favor of medical marijuana at the general election last November.  It is still possible, however, to be arrested and given up to two years in jail for a tiny amount of pot.

Here’s how.  “Possession with intent to distribute” carries up to two years jail time and a fine of up to $5,000.  The amount doesn’t matter.

And in February 2012, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Council ruled that “possession with intent to distribute” applies even if there is no sale has been made and only small, decriminalized amounts of marijuana are involved.  The case before them involved Shawn M. Keefner, arrested 2010 smoking a joint on a porch in Great Barrington.  Cops allegedly found him carrying three gram bags and some suspicious messages on his phone.

Maybe Keefner was a small time weed dealer, maybe he wasn’t.  But the laws are currently in place so that even cutting a dime bag for your bestie can land you in jail.  Caveat venditor.  Carrying weed in more than one container probably invites trouble too.  But hey, if they want to arrest you bad enough, they’ll find a reason whether you’re breaking any laws or not.  Be careful, but don’t get paranoid.

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One Response to “Massachusetts marijuana laws still allow prosecution for small amounts”

  1. Keith Saunders January 19, 2013 at 11:47 am #

    The most important element of the Keefner case was the ruling that being seen smoking marijuana is not probable cause for a search. Since the search of Keefner was predicated on his being witnessed by police smoking marijuana, the evidence of multiple small packages of marijuana on his person was suppressed.

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