Team Approach Needed Toward Implementation of Cannabis

By Sue Ellen Woodcock

It’s going to the a team approach when it comes to the implementation of the new laws legalizing the recreational use of marijuana.

That’s what Board of Health Chairman Nick LoConte said at Tuesday night’s board meeting. He explained that he had spoken with Town Manager Jim McKenna and they agree it’s going to take the effort of the Board of Health, the Licensing Commission and law enforcement to deal with the new state law regarding marijuana.

“It’s going to be a collaborative issue,” LoConte said.

According to the law, effective December 15, 2016, adults may possess and use marijuana. After required licensing procedures, retail marijuana stores will be permitted to open beginning in July, 2018.

LoConte pointed out that with tobacco the Town has the resources of the Six-City Collaborative tobacco control program, which can conduct investigations regarding the use and sale of tobacco. With marijuana enforcement he said there is nothing.

The law allows adults to grow up to six plants per person, with a maximum of 12 per household. And it mandates that the state treasurer appoint, by March 2017, a three-person Cannabis Control Commission to regulate the new industry. That agency must put forward regulations — on everything from packaging requirements meant to keep kids out of marijuana-infused food to minimum standards for employment in pot shops — by the middle of July 2018.

Director of Inspectional Services Al LeGee said the only way to ban retail sales in Winthrop would be to have a town wide vote to ban sales.

“We’ve gotten through tobacco, we’ll get through this. There will be future meetings,” LeGee said.

What is legal?

  • Outside the home, adults 21 or over can possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana.
  • Inside the home, adults 21 or over may possess up to 10 ounces of pot. A single individual may cultivate up to 6 marijuana plants for personal use, and up to 12 plants per household are allowed if more than one adult lives on the premises.

What isn’t legal?

  • Recreational marijuana cannot be sold in any form in Massachusetts without a retail license. A Cannabis Control Commission, yet to be named, will be responsible for issuing retail licenses.
  • Marijuana cannot be possessed, purchased, grown or used by anyone under age 21 (unless they have a valid medical marijuana permit), and it’s against the law to give away pot to someone under 21.
  • Using pot is illegal in any public place. You can’t, for example, walk down the street smoking a joint the way you would a cigarette. It’s also illegal to use pot in any place where tobacco is banned.
  • Possession of any amount of marijuana remains illegal on school grounds.
  • Laws against operating cars and other vehicles under the influence of marijuana are unchanged for now.
  • Open containers or partially consumed packages of marijuana cannot be kept in a motor vehicle, except in the trunk or a locked glove compartment.
  • Pot growing at home must be done discreetly and securely. Marijuana plants cannot be plainly visible from the street or any public area and must be cultivated someplace where there is a security device.
  • Tenants cannot grow pot in their residences or smoke it if their landlord has a rule against it.


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