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How NOT to consume marijuana in Massachusetts

How NOT to consume marijuana in Massachusetts

At Revolutionary Clinics, we’re incredibly passionate about cannabis and there’s nothing we enjoy more than connecting our patients with natural, top-quality products that improve their quality of life. That said, we want to be sure that anyone who enjoys cannabis does so responsibly and legally.

Earlier this year, we shared some facts about the limits of legal marijuana in Massachusetts. In that blog post we talked about the “rolling limit” on medical marijuana purchases, the difference in potency between edibles purchased at a recreational shop and a medical marijuana dispensary like Revolutionary Clinics as well as whether or not you can consume marijuana in public. We also made it clear that the only place to legally consume recreational or medical marijuana is the privacy of your own home (provided it’s OK with your landlord).

The passing of the initial access certification program brought a rush of new patients to our door. As we spoke with these new patients, we added another item to our list of our biggest misconceptions about medical marijuana – that a Massachusetts medical marijuana card (MMJ) is like a “get out of jail free” card if you get caught consuming cannabis in public. Let’s be clear: having an MMJ card simply means you can legally PURCHASE medical marijuana at a dispensary like Revolutionary Clinics. Once the cannabis is in your possession, you are bound by the laws of the state of Massachusetts.

With new recreational shops opening up across the state and so many new medical patients, now seems like a good time to review some details about consumption. Whether you purchase your cannabis from us or from a recreational shop, here are a few things you shouldn’t do with your legally purchased cannabis:

Don’t consume cannabis in public and NEVER consume it near schools or playgrounds

The letter of the law states that the only place Massachusetts residents can legally consume cannabis is the privacy of their own homes (*sorry renters, but unless you have written permission from you landlord, you have zero rights to consume cannabis in your apartment). That doesn’t stop people from smoking, vaping or eating edibles in public which puts them at risk for having their product confiscated the same way an open container of alcohol would. While the odds of you going to jail for consuming cannabis in public are pretty low (provided you’re at least 21 years of age and not visibly intoxicated), all bets are off if you consume near “any area where children congregate”. By that, we mean:

  • Schools
  • Playgrounds
  • Daycare facilities

Whether children are present or not, don’t even think about consuming cannabis near any of these places or the parking lots attached to them. If you do and you’re spotted by police, the officer is far less likely to offer any leniency because the state of Massachusetts is serious about keeping cannabis away from minors.

Don’t consume cannabis on your porch, deck or in your backyard

This may sound overly cautious but technically, it’s the only way to comply with the letter of the law that states that you can only consume cannabis where you cannot be seen from a public space. This is especially important to remember if you have less than tolerant neighbors or you live within 500 feet of “any area where children congregate”. If someone sees you consuming cannabis, they can report you to the police. Again, the odds of you being arrested for this type of infraction are slim but, as always, the best way to avoid legal problems of any kind is to use common sense and an abundance of caution.

Our advice to new patients when they ask whether or not it’s OK to consume cannabis in public is “use common sense”. If you wouldn’t drink alcohol in the place where you’re thinking about consuming cannabis because you’d be afraid of getting arrested, don’t do it.

Don’t consume cannabis and operate a motor vehicle

Going back to the misconception that an MMJ card is a “get out of jail free card”, there may not be a breathalyzer (yet) for police to determine how much THC is in your system but make no mistake about it, drugged driving is the same as drunk driving. Police are trained to tell if you’re feeling the effects of THC and if they arrest you and you’re found guilty, you’ll face the same fines and legal bills. You may think you’re fine and drugged driving is tougher for law enforcement to prove, but the risks to your finances and the safety of the public just aren’t worth it. If you’ve consumed cannabis, catch a ride, take public transportation or stay home.

Don’t drive or walk around with more than 1oz of cannabis and never transport partially consumed cannabis

By law, you are allowed to keep 1oz of cannabis on your person or in a locked glove compartment. Any more than that and you could face a $500 fine and up to 6 months in prison for your first offense. Technically, there is no open container law regarding cannabis but according to a recent article on Masslive, there could be one in the future. Again, it comes down to the common sense we mentioned earlier. Before you get in the car with a partially consumed pre-roll, picture how the conversation with a police officer would go if you happened to get pulled over for speeding. A little mindfulness and some delayed gratification can save you some big problems.

Don’t get too excited about social/commercial consumption

You may have heard about marijuana lounges in Las Vegas and the rumors of similar establishments opening here in Massachusetts. In theory, there’s nothing to not like about the concept of a marijuana lounge but depending on who you talk to, we could be years away from seeing them here in Massachusetts. When we do, they will likely have the same restrictions as the Las Vegas establishments, the biggest one being no alcohol can be served wherever cannabis is sold. At Revolutionary Clinics, we’re as interested in social consumption as you are. We just don’t expect to see it anytime soon.

Now that you’ve brushed up on the laws about consumption, it’s important to remember that just a few years ago, cannabis of any kind was illegal in Massachusetts. Is there still work to be done to break the stigma of cannabis and make it more accessible to people who can benefit from it? Of course, but we’ve come a long way in a few years and that’s a fact worth appreciating.

If you have any questions about how to consume cannabis in Massachusetts or you’re ready to start a conversation about how medical marijuana can improve your quality of life, please fill out the form on our website and we’ll get right back to you!

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