Are “marijuana gifts” legal in Massachusetts?

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – If you want to get marijuana from someone in Massachusetts, you don't have to look very hard.

Maybe you've seen the websites. The 22News I-Team found one website that offers a gift of marijuana with the purchase of a $175 t-shirt, and a Craigslist ad that offers weed in exchange for a $90 empty sandwich bag.

Attorney Adam Fine, who helped write the law, told the I-Team that the marijuana gifts these websites are offering was not the intent of it. However, we discovered there’s a giant loophole in the law that may have turned the legalization of recreational pot into a goldmine for potential drug dealers.

Hampden County District Attorney Anthony Gulluni said he’s well aware of that provision; “There's a provision in the law around the legalization where without an exchange of money, it allows for the gifting of marijuana to a certain amount.”

Gulluni also said what these websites are doing is not legal; “They're misinterpreting the law, and trying to exercise what they would consider a loophole in that "gift" aspect of the new law, which I think is very clearly illegal.”

Continuing Coverage: Marijuana News

According to the provision, it’s legal for adults, "To give away or transfer without remuneration up to one ounce of marijuana…to a person 21-years of age or older, as long as the transfer is not advertised or promoted to the public."

The founder of the website that gives away marijuana for expensive t-shirts declined our request for an on-camera interview. Despite the fact they have a public website, they cited the section of the law that bans marijuana transfers from being promoted or advertised to the public, as the reason for not being able to do the interview.

The founder of the website sent the I-Team a statement instead, which reads in part:

We intend to follow the letter of the law. As you know the new Massachusetts marijuana law currently allows for giving a gift of up to one ounce of marijuana to a person over 21, with conditions.

The marijuana gifts these entrepreneurs are offering haven’t been challenged by prosecutors, and the gifting provision in the law hasn't been changed by lawmakers.

Residents will not be able to legally buy marijuana or marijuana seeds in Massachusetts until 2018, but if you happen to have it, no one can question you.

The 22News I-Team asked Senate President Stan Rosenberg whether lawmakers and law enforcement are simply turning a blind eye. He replied, “That's a reasonable way to describe it. It's a kind of, looking the other way.”

The I-Team also asked Rosenberg whether the legislature will address the issue of people giving away “marijuana gifts” with the purchase of a product. He said he doesn’t think that’ll be addressed in the short run.

The Senate President also told the I-Team the state went through a similar issue with medical marijuana. He said residents could obtain medical cards shortly after the law passed in 2012, but the first medical marijuana dispensary didn't open until 2015.

Rosenberg said he believes recreational “marijuana gifts” will no longer be a problem once retail pot shops open in 2018.

Gulluni told the I-Team he doesn’t think the problem will be resolved until it eventually ends up in court.

To read the state's recreational marijuana law, Click Here.

Here’s what adults 21+ can do:

  • Possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana outside of home.
  • Possess up to 10 ounces of pot in home.
  • Transfer up to an ounce of pot to another adult, without the exchange of money, and without being advertised or promoted to the public.
  • Cultivate up to 6 marijuana plants in home, per individual, or up to 12 plants per household if more than one adult live there

Here’s what adults 21+ cannot do:

  • Sell Marijuana without a retail license.
  • Drive under the influence of marijuana.
  • Have open containers of marijuana in your car, unless it’s in the trunk or a glove compartment.
  • Cannot grow marijuana plants if they can be seen from the street or any public area.
  • Cannot bring marijuana across state lines or send it in the mail.
  • Possess, purchase, grow or smoke marijuana if under the age of 21.
  • Give marijuana to someone under the age of 21.
  • Smoke marijuana in a public provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Also, you can now block any inappropriate user by simple selecting the drop down menu on the right of any comment and selection "Block User" from there.

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