Friday, Dec. 23, 2016

For Immediate Release

Contact: John Guilfoil
Phone: 617-993-0003

*Joint Release* West Newbury, Merrimac Police Provide Guidance on Marijuana Legalization

WEST NEWBURY, MERRIMAC and GROVELAND — Now that recreational and commercial use of marijuana is legal in Massachusetts, West Newbury Police Chief Art Reed, Merrimac Police Chief Eric Shears and Groveland Deputy Police Chief Jeffrey Gillen would like to notify the public on what has changed and what remains the same under state law.

Law enforcement agencies statewide received guidance last week from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security and Secretary Daniel Bennett.

“This law strictly applies to those 21 and older and does not permit the use of marijuana in public places or at schools,” Chief Reed said. “Additionally, operating under the influence of drugs is not permitted and we will continue to be vigilant in enforcing that law.”

“We understand that much has changed under this new law, but regulations to ensure your safety and the safety of others are of course in place,” Chief Shears said. “Please be mindful and respectful of these guidelines at all times.”

“Civil penalties are still in place for those under 21, and parents may be held responsible for children under 18, so we ask that residents carefully review to new law to make sure they’re in compliance at all times,” Deputy Gillen said.

As of Thursday, Dec. 15:

  • A person age 21 or older may legally possess up to one ounce of marijuana outside their primary residence.
  • A person age 21 or older may possess up to 5 grams of marijuana concentrate (such as cannabis oil).
  • No civil penalties or tickets may be issued for legal possession of marijuana or marijuana concentrate by those age 21 or older.
  • Police may not seize lawful quantities of marijuana or marijuana concentrate.
  • For persons between the ages of 18-21, marijuana possession remains decriminalized, and police may levy a civil penalty of $100.
  • For persons under age 18, possession remains decriminalized, but juveniles in possession will be subject to a civil penalty of $100 and will be required to complete a drug awareness program or face a penalty of up to $1,000. (Parents may be held liable for the penalties.)
  • Marijuana is still not allowed on the grounds of a public or private school.
  • A person age 21 or older may possess up to 10 ounces of marijuana inside their primary residence. (Only one primary residence is allowed per person.)
  • A person age 21 or older may grow/cultivate up to six marijuana plants OR a single residence, consisting of two or more people over age 21, may cultivate up to 12 marijuana plants if at least two people in the household are engaged in growing activity there.
  • For example: In the case of households with two roommates, if one roommate wants to grow marijuana but the other does not wish to engage in the cultivation of marijuana, the other roommate may only grow six plants, not 12.
  • Any person who exceeds the cultivation limits without a license from the Cannabis Control Commission, may be subject to civil fines for seven to 12 plants or criminal prosecution of a single person if that person exceeds 12 plants.
  • A person age 21 or older may give under one ounce of marijuana to another person age 21 or older.
  • Unlicensed selling or trading remains a criminal offense.
  • Sale of marijuana paraphernalia, such as bongs or pipes, to a person age 21 or older, is legal.
  • Sale of marijuana paraphernalia, such as bongs or pipes, to a person between the ages of 18-20 remains a misdemeanor, while sale to minors remains a felony.
  • A person under age 21 who purchases or attempts to purchase marijuana paraphernalia, is subject to a civil penalty of $100, but not criminal charges.
  • It remains a crime to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of ANY drugs, including marijuana.
  • Public consumption of marijuana is prohibited, unless used for medical purposes.
  • Consumption of marijuana in any place that bans the use of tobacco (bars, restaurants, etc.) is prohibited.
  • No person may possess an “open container” of marijuana in a motor vehicle.

Additionally, marijuana remains illegal under federal law and inside federal parks, buildings, and facilities.

Anyone with questions about the laws pertaining to the use of marijuana should contact their local police department. West Newbury Police at 978-363-1213, Merrimac Police at 978-346-8321 or Groveland Police at 978-521-1212.


*Joint Release* West Newbury, Merrimac Police Provide Guidance on Marijuana Legalization

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