John E. DeVito, Esq., of DeVito and Visconti, P.A.

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POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA IN MASSACHUSETTS

In 2008 the Massachusetts legislature decriminalized possession of less than 1 ounce of marijuana. If an offender 18 years of age or older possesses marijuana they are subject to a civil penalty of $100 and forfeiture of that marijuana. There is no other criminal or civil punishment or disqualification other than the fine and forfeiture.

An offender under the age of 18 is subject to the same civil penalty of $100 and forfeit of marijuana; but, that offender must also complete a drug awareness program. The drug awareness program must provide at least four hours of classroom instruction or group discussion and 10 hours of community service. It must be completed within one year. If proof of completion of the program is not provided to the court clerk within that one year period, the fine can be increased to $1000. If the offender fails to complete the drug offender program, that offender may be subject to delinquency proceedings. The parents of an offender under the age of 18 shall be notified of the infraction and of the requirement to complete a drug awareness program.

An offender charged with more than 1 ounce of marijuana or with intent to distribute should contact an experienced criminal lawyer. Drug offenses have serious consequences on FAFSA applications and college applications.

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