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What New Hampshire Students Should Know About Legalized Marijuana In Massachusetts

On November 8, 2016, Massachusetts voters hit the polls to choose their representatives and vote on another special issue - whether or not to legalize recreational marijuana use. Almost 54 percent of voters agreed that adults should be allowed to smoke marijuana in their homes.  As of December 15, 2016, adults in that state may possess and use marijuana.  The measure also established a Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) and a plan to license marijuana retail stores beginning in January 2018.  Now, possession of a small amount of marijuana is decriminalized in Massachusetts making it a civil infraction.

New Hampshire has not yet decriminalized or legalized marijuana.  Despite being adjacent to states that allow adults to possess and smoke marijuana, doing so is still illegal in New Hampshire.  We represent many people who get arrested for this type of offense - even though what they are doing would not be a crime just over the border.

The law takes effect December 15, 2016

Massachusetts residents were not free to light up once the results of the election became clear. The law goes into effect on December 15, 2016. Until then, it's still illegal to possess or smoke any amount of marijuana in Massachusetts unless you have a medical marijuana card.

You must be 21 to smoke

Like drinking alcohol, smoking weed has its own set of risks and responsibilities. It can damage your lungs and impair your ability to drive a car. That's why the legal age limit has been set at 21 years of age. Anyone under 21 who smokes or is in possession may be risking fines or jail time.

Stores won't open until January 2018

Even though marijuana is legal in Massachusetts, you won't be able to buy it in a store until January 2018. That's when the state plans to start issuing licenses to stores. If the CCC is still not ready to issue licenses, the stores that currently sell medical marijuana can start selling it for recreational use at that time.

You can't smoke in public

The law allows adults to smoke in the privacy of their own homes. It does not allow smoking in public places, such as clubs or parks. It's possible that the government will eventually allow the creation of "marijuana bars" that would permit indoor smoking. They may also issue licenses for festivals or other public events to allow smoking as well.

New Hampshire's laws still apply

You would not be able to buy marijuana at a dispensary in Massachusetts and bring it back to your home in New Hampshire. If caught with any amount in your possession, you could be subject to fines and jail time. You could also face charges if you smoke legally in Massachusetts, and are then caught driving under the influence.

The legalization of marijuana in nearby states like Massachusetts can mean that it's easier for New Hampshire residents to purchase and smoke the herb, but you need to keep that activity in the states where it's legal. And if you find yourself facing possession charges in New Hampshire, it's crucial that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to help defend you against the consequences of the charges.

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Manchester, NH 03104

Phone: 603-413-4983
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