Massachusetts: Over a Century Of Cannabis Criminalization Comes to an End

Legalize marijuanaMassachusetts today became the sixth US state to enact legislation eliminating criminal penalties specific to the adult possession and personal use of cannabis. The law change ends over a century-long policy of criminal cannabis prohibition in the Bay State. Massachusetts was the first state in the nation to criminalize the use of marijuana — a policy it first enacted in 1911.

“By legalizing the adult use of marijuana, Massachusetts will shrink the illicit black market, generate millions in tax revenue, end the arrest of otherwise law abiding citizens, and better enable society to keep marijuana out of the hands of children,” NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri said.

Alaska, California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington have previously adopted voter-initiated laws legalizing the private consumption of cannabis by adults. The District of Columbia also permits adults to legally possess and grow personal use quantities of marijuana in private residences.

On Election Day, 54 percent of Massachusetts voters approved Question 4, The Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act. Question 4 permits adults who are not participating in the state’s existing medical cannabis program to legally grow up to six plants, including all of the harvest from those plants, and to possess personal use quantities of cannabis (up to one ounce and/or up to 5 grams of concentrate; in addition, adults may legally possess up to ten ounces of marijuana flower in their home). Public consumption of cannabis remains a civil violation.

Separate provisions in the statute also license the commercial cannabis production and retail sales of cannabis. Those regulations do not take effect until January 1, 2018. However, some state lawmakers have suggested delaying this timeline, raising the state’s proposed sales tax rate, and amending the state’s new home cultivation guidelines — proposals that NORML opposes.

If you live in Massachusetts, urge your lawmakers to move swiftly to fully implement Question 4: The Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act as written as approved by voters by clicking here.

15 thoughts

    1. Taxes in the south means proof of;
      Communist Occupation.
      To get into public housing in Colorado
      You need a CBI investigation
      You are not allowed to grow. Odor?
      You are not allowed to be convicted of public drunkenness or addiction to alcohol.


  1. Truly a historic victory, wow, first to enact prohibition and now has ended it. Massachusettss has truly EVOLVED and joined the FUTURE. Let us hope it is able to continue on in the coming troubling future though….we must fight to make it so. Wow, 1911, thank goodness sanity finally reached the Bay State.

  2. For those of us who consider this a matter of social justice — we who long to see justice prevail, misfortune averted, and lives saved — now is the time to pick up your prize.

    Just think of all the people who now WON’T be arrested under the previous law. Just think about the families that WON’T be pulled apart, the financial screwjobs on good, hardworking citizens that now WON’T happen.

    It’s a good deed done. I think we can all take satisfaction from that. That’s the prize! …one great big “warm fuzzy.” Enjoy!

  3. Decriminalizing cannabis consumers is asking LEO to release a key control element and stop stealing wealth and the lives of people they have marginalized for decades.

  4. Now if only they would do something at a federal level, so that banks are allowed to engage in the business as well. They are missing out on billions, which could help the business quite a bit.
    More money also equals more to loan, and charge on it. It works for communities as well… as it helps build them. It also helps in taxes too. All around it is a good idea to legalize.

    I am glad that Massachusetts done so, and hope it still passes in Maine. I also hope that Wolf here in PA reconsiders the bill which is only dead, but not forgotten.

    It might take a few other states first though, I hope it won’t be long.

    Denny. 😉 🙂 😀

    1. Rehab Ranger Patrick unlike Sabat is one of those ‘true believers’ who can’t see past his own addictions. Don’t know about Gagnon, but he sounds like a zealot.

      1. By the way, Co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill Wilson was interested in psychoactive substances as a cure for alcohol dependence. Luckily Patrick did not inherit very much of the Kennedy charisma. A name can only carry you so far.

      2. I’m a member of Alcoholic Anonymous. I am also a self-identified stoner. Many people have told me that these two things are in conflict with each other. I disagree. But, given the schizophrenic nature of our culture’s overall relationship to drugs, I can understand how they might feel this way.

        Here’s the thing: if your goal is to get drunk, you can’t do it on cannabis — only alcohol will do the job. It’s not a substitute, in this sense, for a drunk seeking a drink.

        But for an alcoholic who has quit drinking, cannabis can act as a “soothing balm” on your raw brain — your frayed nerves. It won’t make you stop drinking, but it can help you suffer less when you do quit drinking.

        I owe my life to my sobriety. Bill W. found a path out of alcohol addiction, and shared it with other alcoholics, saving many lives. I too have tried to share this the way out with other alcoholics, myself — it’s a debt I owe for my life.

        After I quit drinking in 1991, about a year later I quit smoking cigarettes. I figured, I quit drinking so as not to DIE; why give it away to cigarettes after going through all that? So I quit cigarettes. (Cigarettes are many times more deadly than alcohol, statistically; but for a drunk like me, quitting alcohol was even higher priority.)

        At that point, my body had healed, my mind had healed, and I was overflowing with personal power. I trained my sights on marijuana. “Got you in my cross-hairs,” I said to cannabis. “I’m destroying my enemies, and you’re next!” I was ready to pull the trigger, too.

        But cannabis just kind of said, “Hey, Peace, Man!” And I realized then: Cannabis was never my enemy. Cannabis never caused any of the problems that plagued me. Cannabis is my friend.

        So, I was, like, “Okay, you’re cool. You can stay. But I’ve got my eye on you.” That was 25 years ago. And we’re still “Buds” today!

      3. Respecting the deep psychological wounds of guilt and denial one suffers from losing a loved one from addiction, if we follow Kennedy, Sabet or Adelson’s prohibitionist pocket books we find convenient $capegoats for loss that use marijuana prohibition to both hide the shameful guilt for the real cause pf their loss, most often the alcohol and pills they consume and profit from. Dollars always reveal a laundry business for these industries as well as illegal profit from prohibited marijuana.
        I was tracing the donation of 3/4 million dollars from the archdiocese of Boston to oppose legalization in Mass and discovered a laundry business between the diocese, Big Pharma and the Kennedy family.

  5. Wait six months…for Trump to trump all marijuana laws.

    “Good people don’t smoke marijuana” – Trump Czar Jeff sessions

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