A superior episode of “Banned in Boston” went out June 6, 2013 on UNregular Radio. Musician and comedian Rob Potylo was back on the panel to entertain and tell us why he’s been banned from so many other radio stations. We discussed the release of Cameron D’Ambrosio, aka Cammy Dee, the Massachusetts teen arrested and charged with “communicating terroristic threats,” and then remark on how the Obama administration has been collecting millions of telephone records from Verizon customers under a secret court order. After a break in which we enjoyed some of Rob Potylo’s new music, Marisa Egerstrom of the Protest Chaplains interviewed Derin Korman, a friend from Turkey who helped us understand the violence in Istanbul this month. The show was tech produced by Jackie Soriano with co-hosts John Ford, Rene Perez, Nelson Terry and me, John Stephen Dwyer, in the studio. I hope you like it. Click here to listen.
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.