With legal marijuana in Massachusetts, state enters hazy legal gray zone
Marijuana becomes legal in Massachusetts on Thursday for adults 21 and older. But if you want to purchase some pot, you’re going to need to do it the old-fashioned way: from a guy who knows a guy.
Massachusetts is now entering a legal gray zone, because retail stores selling marijuana won’t open until January 2018 at the earliest. Adults will be permitted to purchase, possess, home-grow, and use marijuana starting Thursday, but the people they are buying it from will be breaking the law by selling the drug. Only sales from the regulated market will be legal, and that market won’t open for at least a year.
The awkward situation was set up intentionally by the authors of the law, who say it was essential to end prohibition of the drug as soon as possible and give regulators enough time to set up proper oversight for the nascent industry. But the drafters acknowledge the dueling imperatives create an imperfect gap year.
“People who want to use marijuana are going to have to get it from the same sources they were getting it from before Dec. 15,” said Jim Borghesani, one of the leaders of the successful referendum effort. “The gray zone is not ideal, but there’s really no other way around it.”
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