Massachusetts is officially the sixth state to eliminate criminal penalties for adult possession and personal use of cannabis, as some provisions of the Bay State’s voter-backed legalization initiative take effect today.
The law, passed on Election Day, allows adults who are not registered in the state’s medical cannabis program to legally grow and harvest up to six plants, possess up to 1 ounce of flower and 5 grams of concentrates in public, and possess up to 10 ounces of cannabis in their home.
“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 in a press release.
Altieri’s colleague, Deputy Director Paul Armentano, noted that in 1914 Massachusetts was the first state to outlaw and impose criminal penalties on cannabis.
“…It is time to bring prohibition to an end in Massachusetts,” he said.
The measure will license and regulate retail dispensaries, but those provisions don’t take effect until Jan. 1, 2018. The state joins Colorado, California, Alaska, Oregon and Washington as states which currently permit adult-use consumption and possession. The District of Columbia also allows adult possession and home cultivation.