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Possession of Marijuana (Marihuana)

In November 2016 voters passed a ballot question that legalized the recreational use of marijuana for adults in Massachusetts. The State continues to work to implement policies and regulations for the implementation of this new measure. As such, the law governing the use and possession of marijuana have been continuously evolving over the past several years.

Nevertheless, it remains illegal to possess more then one ounce of marijuana outside of the home. If a person is charged with possession of marijuana of more than one ounce (1 oz.), under G. L. c. 94C, § 34, the punishment can be up to six (6) months imprisonment in a house of correction or a five hundred ($500) dollar fine, or both. For an individual to be charged under this statute, they need to have knowingly or intentionally possessed more than one (1 oz.) ounce of marijuana outside of their home.

If this is a first offense, the law states that the individual charged will be placed on probation, unless the person does not wish for some reason to be placed on probation, or unless the court files a written memo stating reasons for not allowing the person to be placed on probation. When the probation period is completed, the case is dismissed, and records are sealed. This is the best outcome for a first time offender.

Based on the recent legalization of marijuana, while it remains illegal to possess more then one ounce of marijuana outside of the home, an individual may possess up to 10 ounces in the home and may grow up to six marijuana plants in the home, or 12 plants for two or more adults. If you have more then one ounce of marijuana in your home it must be locked up and secured. Possession of more then 10 ounces of marijuana is unlawful and may result in criminal charges for possession or possession with intent to distribute.

Further, this new legalization of marijuana does not change the law which prohibits an individual from Operating under the Influence (OUI) of marijuana and the same penalties still apply to this offense.

An experienced Massachusetts Marijuana Possession Lawyer can often resolve first offenses without a criminal record. However – without effective and strong legal representation, a conviction for possession of marijuana can become a life-changing event.

Possession of Marijuana - Second Offense

For a person charged with possession of an unlawful amount of marijuana - second offense, the charges increase substantially. A second offense for this charge carries a possible sentence of no more than two (2) years in a house of correction or a fine of two thousand ($2,000) dollars, or both.

Additionally, individuals can face much more serious drug charges depending on the amount of drugs, evidence, and contraband found during a search or seizure. The most common drug offense, including ones related specifically to marijuana are - Marijuana Trafficking and Possession with intent to distribute or distribution.

If you have been arrested for possession of marijuana or other charges related to marijuana, your legal situation depends on the amount of marijuana, whether or not you have any prior arrests, and other circumstances. You could be facing serious charges, imprisonment, fines, or both. Your first step should be contacting an experienced Boston Marijuana Possession Attorney to discuss your case.

Defending a Marijuana Possession Charge

An experienced and motivated Marijuana Possession Attorney in Massachusetts will work with a clear goal in mind- and acquittal if at all possible. Strategies include a careful examination of the circumstances of the arrest – was it a legal arrest, was a search warrant in place, did the officer have probable cause to conduct a search? Every step of the arrest is carefully studied and analyzed to find a strong and defensible position.

For first time offenders, the quality of your legal representation is critical. For repeat offenders, punishment for possession, growing, using, selling or distributing marijuana becomes a very serious matter. If you or someone you love has been arrested for possession of marijuana in Massachusetts, call Stephen Neyman 617-263-6800 immediately or click here to send an email.