In case you didn’t know- selling pot is still illegal in the state of Massachusetts.
The states highest court met Monday, February 13, to discuss confusion with the bill that decriminalized marijuana in MA. The bill states that any person caught with less than an ounce of marijuana is only subject to pay a fine of $100.00, instead of jail time.
Unfortunately for Shawn Keefner, this was not the case. The Great Barrington Police were called after a woman spotted her daughter and Keefner smoking weed outside of her home in 2011. The police proceeded to search Keefner’s car where they found three individually wrapped bags holding two grams of marijuana each, $100.00 cash and a text message on his cellphone from someone wishing to purchase $20.00 worth of marijuana.
Keefner was arrested and appealed because the 2008 bill did not address what were to happen if someone were in possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, but had the intent to sell. Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Roderick Ireland, who was present in Monday’s meeting had this this to say:
” By creating specific exemptions in the simple possession statute, but not in the possession with intent to distribute statute, we conclude that the voters intended only to amend the simple possession statute and intended to exclude from the act’s reach the separate and distinct crime of possession … with intent to distribute”
Basically, Roderick Ireland is saying that those who voted in 2008 didn’t really know what they were voting for. Nevertheless, Keefner’s lawyer David Skeels was quick with to retort. Skeels pointed out that “the 2008 law didn’t apply to those who were attempting to sell or distribute less than an ounce of marijuana…the law intended to shield from criminal charges, people who were merely sharing a marijuana cigarette.”
The high court justices decided to leave the debate for the day, leaving this footnote in the ruiling.
“the Commonwealth may criminally charge each person who passed the marijuana cigarette to another with distribution of marijuana or possession with intent to distribute, even though such individuals could not be charged criminally with possession of marijuana, because the amount of marijuana each possessed was one ounce or less.’’
Isn’t it completely ridiculous that people who are merely passing a joint back in forth are subject to harsher consequences than someone who is dealing it?! This is just another development in the marijuana market that is incredibly unreasonable and totally ignorant. What do you think?