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Massachusetts Laws & Penalties

Offense Penalty Incarceration   Max. Fine  

Possession

Personal Use

1 oz or less civil offense N/A $ 100
More than 1 oz (first offense) misdemeanor 6 mos $ 500
More than 1 oz (subsequent offense) misdemeanor 2 years $ 2,000

With intent to distribute

Less than 50 lbs (first offense) not classified 0 - 2 years $ 5,000
Less than 50 lbs (subsequent offense) not classified 1 - 2.5 years $ 10,000
50 - 99 lbs felony 1* - 15 years $ 10,000
100-1999 lbs felony 3* - 15 years $ 25,000
2000-9999 lbs felony 5* - 15 years $ 50,000
More than 10,000 lbs felony 10* - 15 years $ 50,000
Within 1000 feet of an elementary or secondary school, or within 100 feet of a public park felony 2* - 15 years $ 10,000
Causing or inducing someone under 18 years to commit offenses felony 5* - 15 years $ 100,000
* Mandatory minimum sentence

Distribution or Cultivation

Less than 50 lbs (first offense) not classified 0 - 2 years $ 5,000
Less than 50 lbs (subsequent offense) not classified 1 - 2.5 years $ 10,000
50 - 99 lbs felony 1* - 15 years $ 10,000
100-1999 lbs felony 3* - 15 years $ 25,000
2000-9999 lbs felony 5* - 15 years $ 50,000
More than 10,000 lbs felony 10* - 15 years $ 200,000
Within 1000 feet of an elementary or secondary school, or within 100 feet of a public park felony 2* - 15 years $ 10,000
Causing or inducing someone under 18 years to commit offenses felony 5* - 15 years $ 100,000
* Mandatory minimum sentence

Hash & Concentrates

Possession of 1 oz or less civil penalty N/A $ 100
Possession of more than 1 oz N/A 1 year $ 1,000
Manufacture or distribution N/A 2.5 - 5 years $ 5,000
Manufacture or distribution to a minor N/A 2.5 - 15 years $ 25,000
Using a minor to manufacture or distribute N/A 5* - 15 years $ 100,000
* Mandatory minimum sentence

Paraphernalia

Selling, possessing, or purchasing paraphernalia not classified 1 - 2 years $ 5,000
Selling to someone under 18 years of age felony 3 - 5 years $ 5,000

Forfeiture

Marijuana, vehicles, and money are subject to forfeiture.

Miscellaneous

Conspiracy to commit any marijuana related offense is punishable by up to the maximum punishment.
Possession of 1 oz or less cannot result in the suspension of driving privileges.

Penalty Details

Marijuana is a class D controlled substance under the Massachusett's Controlled Substances Act.

Possession for Personal Use

Possession of 1 ounce or less of marijuana is decriminalized and is punishable as a civil offense. If the offender is over the age of 18 they must pay a fine of $100. Offenders under the age of 18 must pay a $100 fine and must attend a drug awareness program. Possession of less than an ounce of marijuana cannot result in denial of public financial assistance or the right to a driver's license.

See:

  • Mass. Gen. Laws. ch. 94C, § 32L

Possession of more than one ounce of marijuana is punishable by a fine of $500 and/or imprisonment of up to 6 months. However, first offenders of the controlled substances act will be placed on probation and all official records relating to the conviction will be sealed upon successful completion of probation. Subsequent offenses may result in a fine of $2000 and/or imprisonment of up to 2 years. Individuals previously convicted of felonies under the controlled substances act who are arrested with over an ounce of marijuana may be subject to a fine of $2000 and/or up to 2 years of imprisonment.

See:

  • Mass. Gen. Laws. ch. 94C, § 34

Possession with Intent to Distribute

For first offenders, possessing less than 50 pounds of marijuana with the intent to manufacture, distribute, dispense or cultivate is punishable by a fine of $500-$5,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 2 years. Subsequent offenses are punishable by a fine of $1,000-$10,000 and/or imprisonment of 1-2.5 years.

See:

  • Mass. Gen. Laws, ch. 94C, § 32C

Possessing 50-99 pounds of marijuana with intent to distribute is a felony punishable by a fine of $500-$10000 and imprisonment for 2.5-15 years. There is a mandatory minimum sentence of 1 year for this offense.

Possessing 100-1,999 pounds if marijuana with intent to distribute is a felony punishable by a fine of $2,500-$25,000 and imprisonment for 3-15 years. There is a mandatory minimum term of three years imprisonment.

Possessing 2,000-9,999 pounds of marijuana with intent to distribute is a felony punishable by a fine of $5,000-$50,000.

Possessing more than 10,000 pounds of marijuana with intent to distribute is a felony punishable by a fine of $5,000-$50,000 and imprisonment of 10-15 years. There is a mandatory minimum term of 10 years of imprisonment for this offense.

See:

  • Mass. Gen. Laws. ch. 94C, § 32E

If any of the above offenses are committed within 1,000 feet of an elementary or secondary school or within 100 feet of a public park that offense is punishable by a fine of $1,000-$10,000 and imprisonment for 2.5-15 years. This offense has a mandatory minimum term of 2 years of imprisonment.

See:

  • Mass. Gen. Laws. ch. 94C, § 32J

Causing or inducing someone under 18 to commit any of the above offenses is punishable by a fine of $1,000-$100,000 and imprisonment for 5-15 years. This offense has a mandatory minimum term of 5 years of imprisonment.

See:

  • Mass. Gen. Laws. ch. 94C, § 32K

Distribution or Cultivation

For first offenders, selling or cultivating less than 50 pounds of marijuana is punishable by a fine of $500-$5,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 2 years. Subsequent offenses are punishable by a fine of $1,000-$10,000 and/or imprisonment for 1-2.5 years.

See:

  • Mass. Gen. Laws. ch. 94C, § 32C

Selling or cultivating 50-99 pounds of marijuana is a felony punishable by a fine of $500-$10000 and imprisonment for 2.5-15 years. There is a mandatory minimum term of 1 year for this offense.

Selling or cultivating 100-1,999 pounds of marijuana is a felony punishable by a fine of $2,500-$25,000 and imprisonment for 3-15 years. There is a mandatory minimum term of three years imprisonment.

Selling or cultivating 2,000-9,999 pounds of marijuana with is a felony punishable by a fine of $5,000-$50,000 and is punishable by imprisonment for 5-15 years.

Selling or cultivating more than 10,000 pounds of marijuana with intent to distribute is a felony punishable by a fine of $20,000-$200,000 and imprisonment for 10-15 years. There is a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years for this offense.

See:

  • Mass. Gen. Laws. ch. 94C, § 32E

If any of these offenses are committed within 1,000 feet of an elementary or secondary school or within 100 feet of a public park that offense is punishable by a fine of $1,000-$10,000 and imprisonment for 2.5-15 years. This offense has a mandatory minimum term of 2 years imprisonment.

See:

  • Mass. Gen. Laws. ch. 94C, § 32J

Causing or inducing someone under 18 to commit any of the above offenses is punishable by a fine of $1,000-$100,000 and imprisonment for 5-15 years. This offense has a mandatory minimum term of 5 years of imprisonment.

See:

  • Mass. Gen. Laws. ch. 94C, § 32K

Hash & Concentrates

Massachusetts statute defines Marihuana as including the resin extracted from the Cannabis plant and any derivatives or compounds thereof. The statute also defines Tetrahydrocannabinol separately as any compound that contains Tetrahydrocannabinol that is not itself Marihuana. The Massachusetts Controlled Substances Schedule classifies Marihuana as a Class D drug whereas Tetrahydrocannabinol as a Class C drug. Case law indicates that Hashish and Concentrates are meant to be prosecuted as Tetrahydrocannabinol, using the penalties for Class C drugs.

See:

  • Mass. Gen. Laws. ch. 94C, §1
  • Mass. Gen. Laws. ch. 94C, §31
  • Commonwealth v. Weeks, 431 N.E.2d 586 (Mass. App. Ct. 1982).

The Massachusetts decriminalization law explicitly reduced penalties for the possession of less than one ounce of either Tetrahydrocannabinols or Marijuana, though it does not modify any other penalties relating to Hashish.

Possession of one ounce or less of hashish is subject to only a civil penalty of no more than $100 and completion of a drug education program if the offender is under 18.

See:

  • Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 94C §32L, 32M

Possession of any amount of Hashish greater than one ounce is subject to no more than one year's imprisonment and a fine of no greater than $1000. Diversionary probation is available for first time offenders.

See:

  • Mass. Gen Laws. ch. 94C §34

Manufacture, distribution, dispensing, or possession with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense Hashish is punishable by up to five years imprisonment in a state prison or two and one half years in a jail or house of correction, as well as a fine of up to $5000.

Engaging in any of the above conduct when one has at least one prior conviction for a similar drug crime is punishable by up to ten years in a state prison or two and one half years in a jail or house of correction, as well as a fine of up to $10000. This crime is subject to a mandatory minimum of two years imprisonment.

See:

  • Mass. Gen. Laws ch 94C §32B

The manufacture, distribution, dispensing, or possession with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense Hashish to a minor under eighteen years is punishable by up to fifteen years imprisonment in a state prison or two and one half years in a jail or house of correction, as well as a fine of up to $25000. There is a mandatory minimum sentence of two years imprisonment.

See:

  • Mass Gen Laws. ch. 94C § 32F

If a police officer finds a child under seventeen years old in a place where Hashish, or what the officer reasonable believes is Hashish, is present, the police officer may lawfully take the child into protective custody for a period not to exceed four hours.

See:

  • Mass Gen Laws. ch. 94C § 36

Using or inducing a minor to manufacture, dispense, distribute, or possess with intent to manufacture, dispense, or distribute Hashish is punishable by up to fifteen years imprisonment in the state prison and a fine of no more than $100,000. This offense carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years.

See:

  • Mass Gen. Laws ch. 94C §32K

Paraphernalia

Selling, possessing, or purchasing devices used in the cultivation or smoking/ingestion of marijuana is punishably by a fine of $500-$5,000 and/or 1-2 years of imprisonment.

See:

  • Mass. Gen. Laws. ch. 94C, § 32I(a)

Selling marijuana paraphernalia to someone under 18 years of age is a felony and is punishable by a fine of $1,000-$5,000 and/or 3-5 years of imprisonment.

See:

  • Mass. Gen. Laws. ch. 94C, § 32I(b)

Forfeiture

All marijuana is subject to forfeiture, even in amounts under an ounce which is decriminalized in the state.

See:

  • Mass. Gen. Laws. ch. 94C, § 47(a)(1)

Vehicles are subject to forfeiture if they are used to distribute marijuana or possess marijuana that a person intends to distribute.

See:

  • Mass. Gen. Laws. ch. 94C, § 47(a)(3)

All money or proceeds that can be traced to a sale of marijuana are subject to forfeiture.

See:

  • Mass. Gen. Laws. ch. 94C, § 47(a)(5)

Miscellaneous

Conspiracy

Conspiring with another person to commit any marijuana related offense is punishable by up to the maximum punishment for the crime which was the object of the conspiracy.

See:

  • Mass. Gen. Laws. ch. 94C, § 40
Driving Under the Influence

Failure to pass a sobriety test can result in a fine and/or imprisonment. Massachusetts does not test for THC in blood,urine, or hair when deciding if an individual has been driving while intoxicated.

Driver's License Suspension

Simple possession of one ounce or less of pot cannot result in the suspension of driving privileges.

See:

  • Mass. Gen. Laws. ch. 94C, § 32L
Conditional Release

The state allows conditional release or alternative or diversion sentencing for people facing their first prosecutions. Usually, conditional release lets a person opt for probation rather than trial. After successfully completing probation, the individual's criminal record does not reflect the charge.

Decriminalization

The state has decriminalized marijuana to some degree. Typically, decriminalization means no prison time or criminal record for first-time possession of a small amount for personal consumption. The conduct is treated like a minor traffic violation.

Mandatory Minimum Sentence

When someone is convicted of an offense punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence, the judge must sentence the defendant to the mandatory minimum sentence or to a higher sentence. The judge has no power to sentence the defendant to less time than the mandatory minimum. A prisoner serving an MMS for a federal offense and for most state offenses will not be eligible for parole. Even peaceful marijuana smokers sentenced to "life MMS" must serve a life sentence with no chance of parole.

Medical Marijuana

This state has medical marijuana laws enacted. Modern research suggests that cannabis is a valuable aid in the treatment of a wide range of clinical applications. These include pain relief, nausea, spasticity, glaucoma, and movement disorders. Marijuana is also a powerful appetite stimulant and emerging research suggests that marijuana's medicinal properties may protect the body against some types of malignant tumors, and are neuroprotective. For more information see NORML's Medical Marijuana section.

Tax Stamps

This state has a marijuana tax stamp law enacted. This law mandates that those who possess marijuana are legally required to purchase and affix state-issued stamps onto his or her contraband. Failure to do so may result in a fine and/or criminal sanction. For more information, see NORML's report Marijuana Tax Stamp Laws And Penalties.






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