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Marijuana trafficking, under MA G.L. c. 94C, § 32E, is distribution or possession with intent to distribute, a certain threshold amount of marijuana, which is a Class D substance under Massachusetts law.
A new law affecting trafficking penalties and threshold weights was passed in August of 2012 titled “An Act Relative to Sentencing and Improving Law Enforcement Tools” (Chapter 192 of the Acts of 2012). The new law, which has also been called the “Three Strikes Law” or “Melissa’s Bill” contains provisions which are both helpful and hurtful from a criminal defense perspective and an experienced Massachusetts Marijuana Trafficking Lawyer, familiar with these provisions, is essential for a successful defense.Marijuana Drug Trafficking Punishments
If an individual is accused of trafficking 50 to less than 100 pounds of marijuana, the Marijuana Trafficking penalty is imprisonment in state prison for at least 2 ½ years but not more than 15 years; or jail for at least 1 year but not more than 2 and ½ years. The mandatory minimum for this sentence is at least 1 year and a fine of $500, but the fine may be up to $10,000.
If it is alleged the person trafficked 100 but less than 2,000 pounds of marijuana, the mandatory minimum sentence that can be imposed is 2 years and a $2,500 fine, but allows for a sentence up to 15 years in state prison and a $25,000 fine.
Under the Massachusetts Drug Trafficking Statute, an allegation of trafficking 2,000 pounds but less than 10,000 pounds of marijuana serves a mandatory minimum punishment of at least 3 ½ years and a $5,000 fine. However, the statute allows for a sentence of up to 15 years and a $50,000 fine.
The most serious marijuana trafficking charge is when a person is accused of trafficking more than 10,000 pounds or more of marijuana. If you have been charged with trafficking marijuana, is it essential you contact a Marijuana Tracking Attorney in Massachusetts immediately. The mandatory minimum sentence for this charge is 8 years and a $20,000 fine, which can increase to 15 years and up to a $200,000 fine.Recent Developments to Massachusetts Marijuana Laws
In 2008, Massachusetts voters passed a petition which decriminalized possession of less than one ounce of marijuana. What was formerly a criminal violation, possession of less than one ounce of marijuana, is now reduced to a civil infraction (i.e. fine or ticket). Because of this new change in the law, many recent cases in Massachusetts have addressed issues arising when an individual is pulled over in a vehicle and the police officer smells the odor of burnt or unburnt marijuana.
In Commonwealth v. Cruz, 459 Mass. 459 (2011), the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) of Massachusetts found that when an individual is stopped in a vehicle for a reason other than the smell of marijuana and the officer subsequently smelled burnt marijuana, that alone does not create probable cause or reasonable suspicion to order the passengers to exit the vehicle. Furthermore, in Commonwealth v. Overmyer, 469 Mass. 16 (2014), the SJC found that the smell of “strong” or even “very strong” unburnt marijuana is not enough to support probable cause to search the interior of a vehicle without a warrant. Additionally, in Commonwealth v. Rodriguez, 472 Mass. 767 (2015), the SJC held that the smell of burnt marijuana coming from a vehicle while driving, in and of itself, does not support reasonable suspicion to allow a police officer to pull a vehicle over. These recent changes to marijuana laws in Massachusetts are essential in fighting a Trafficking charge and Marijuana Trafficking Attorney Stephen Neyman is an aggressive advocate who will protect your rights.Defending Marijuana Trafficking Charges
If you or someone you know has been charged with marijuana trafficking in Massachusetts, contact an experienced and aggressive criminal defense lawyer as soon as you possibly can. Trafficking charges are extremely serious, and the accused must be defended vigorously. Boston, Massachusetts Marijuana Trafficking Attorney Stephen Neyman has more than two decades of experience in representing people charged with drug trafficking. He is a serious and well-known attorney in Massachusetts, and he has a reputation for winning results. You can reach Attorney Neyman by calling 617-263-6800 for your free initial phone consultation or by sending him an e-mail and given the very serious nature of these charges, Attorney Neyman encourages you to contact him immediately.