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Driving and marijuana

Massachusetts has legalized the use of medical marijuana and recreational marijuana. But this legalization is not unlimited. Motorists who unlawfully drive while impaired from marijuana or engage in other illegal behavior may face OUI conviction consequences or other legal problems.

Because of a 2016 ballot initiative and 2017 law, a person over 21 may possess up to one ounce of marijuana with them. No more than five grams of marijuana may not be in a marijuana concentrate form.

The 2017 law legalizing recreational marijuana did not change the existing laws for driving a vehicle while impaired by marijuana or legal marijuana products. It is also illegal to drive while consuming marijuana.

Using marijuana in any amount may lead to driver impairment or at least constitute suspicion that the motorist is impaired. Accordingly, users should not drive after using marijuana or marijuana products. Instead, they should use public transportation, take advantage of a ride-sharing app or get a ride from a friend.

Marijuana, like alcoholic beverages, also falls within open container laws. A passenger may not have an open container of adult-use marijuana or marijuana product in the passenger area of their car while on the road or anywhere where the public has access.

An open container is defined as a package with a broken seal or that had its contents partially removed. Under the open container law, a trunk or locked glove department is not considered as a passenger area. Drivers may also face the risk of other charges such as possessing marijuana in unlawful amounts or underage possession of marijuana in any amount.

A motorist who is stopped or arrested for marijuana-impaired driving should seek legal representation. An attorney may, in some circumstances, challenge test results or other evidence and help assure that rights are protected.

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J. W. Carney, Jr. & Associates
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Phone: 617-830-6760
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