Marijuana & Mass. Drivers License Suspensions

marijuana_license_suspensionMassachusetts lawmakers have recently enacted laws which change the way marijuana possession and distribution is handled. Under recent amendments to G.L. c. 94C, the Mass. drug law, possession of one ounce or less of Marijuana in Massachusetts is a civil infraction. This does not mean that marijuana possession is legal, it only means that possession of an ounce or less is not a crime. Also, under the new Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Law, which took effect on January 1, 2013, the cultivation, distribution, possession and use of marijuana is legal, under certain circumstances, for qualified medical users who have a recommendation from a licensed physician.

The recent changes in the laws governing the possession and use of marijuana for medical reasons do not negate the legal requirement that the Registry Division of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) suspend the license of anyone convicted of the unlawful possession or marijuana, distribution of marijuana, or possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute the illegal drug. Further, any possession, distribution, possession with intent to distribute, or trafficking of marijuana is still a federal crime and a physician’s recommendation for medical marijuana does not immunize the holder from a potential federal prosecution by the United State’s Attorney’s Office. Pursuant to 21 U.S.C. ยง811, Marijuana is defined as a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance. If federal drug convictions are reported to the Mass. RMV, the Registry will suspend your license as if the conviction occurred in Massachusetts State Courts.

Further, the medical marijuana law does not amend other state laws that which regulate the use, cultivation, transport, distribution or possession of marijuana for non-medical purposes.

In addition to suspending and revoking driver’s licenses for marijuana related convictions, the Mass. Registry also takes actions against licenses for cocaine, heroin, and other drug related convictions, whether the person convicted is licensed in Massachusetts or in any other state.