On Election Night 2016 voters in Massachusetts approved marijuana legalization for all adults. On Thursday, December 15, part of the new law took effect, allowing adults to possess up to an ounce of cannabis and grow at home.
Retail shops that will legally sell marijuana to those 21 years of age and older are not expected to open until at least January 2018, but there has been some talk among state lawmakers of that date being pushed back to allow more time for a regulatory framework to be put in place.
But for now, adults will be able to possess the one ounce in public and they will be able to grow up to 12 plants per household; the limit is 6 plants if there is only one adult in the house. Cannabis accessories – anything that is designed for use in growing, storing, processing, ingesting, and inhaling marijuana – will become legal for adults to purchase and use on Thursday as well. Possession of up to 10 ounces will be allowed inside a residence, but landlords retain the right to decide if smoking marijuana will be allowed on their property.
Some things will remain illegal, such as public marijuana use, driving while under the influence of marijuana and smoking marijuana anywhere that tobacco smoking is prohibited. And of course, selling marijuana will remain illegal until there are licensed shops to serve cannabis consumers in the state. You can, however, give up to an ounce to another adult.
“This closes the door on an era that was marked by hysteria, by injustices, and by ineffective public policy,” said Jim Borghesani, a spokesman for the “Yes on 4” Campaign that backed legalization. “This opens up an era that may take a bit of getting used to, but as in many other social transformations, people will look back and say: What were we so worried about?”
As someone who lives in an illegal state, I can imagine how exciting all this is for adults who live in Massachusetts. It’s a chance to do things differently and finally abandon horrifically failed policies. It’s also another chance to show that marijuana legalization doesn’t lead to armies of stoned zombies roaming the streets and killing people on the roadways.
Legalization is preferable to prohibition in every way and on Thursday adults in Massachusetts will prove that point yet again.