The legal landscape of marijuana consumption, possession, and cultivation has significantly evolved in various states, with Massachusetts and New Jersey establishing their own sets of regulations. Under the laws of Massachusetts, individuals aged 21 and over are permitted to use marijuana. However, this is regulated in terms of usage locations, cultivation limits, possession amounts, transportation protocols, and more. Public consumption and use on federal land are prohibited, and violations can lead to legal consequences.
New Jersey’s legal framework makes a distinction between cannabis and marijuana. Cannabis is the state-regulated form of the plant, whereas marijuana refers to the unregulated form. The term “medical marijuana” refers to state-sanctioned use for medicinal purposes, despite federal classification of marijuana as a Schedule I substance.
The federal viewpoint, as explained by the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2023, includes a rider that prevents the Department of Justice from taking legal action against states to obstruct the enforcement of medical marijuana laws. The DEA characterizes marijuana as a psychoactive drug with the potential for addiction.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, marijuana is the most commonly used federally illegal drug in the U.S., with a notable portion of users developing marijuana use disorder. The Department of Transportation emphasizes that marijuana use remains impermissible for safety-sensitive employees under DOT regulations.
Massachusetts law has also addressed the issue of records related to marijuana. As of November 9th, 2022, provisions for expungement of records for cultivation, possession, and/or distribution have been implemented for quantities involving 2 ounces or less for individuals under 18, and up to 10 ounces for possession at home.
Medical marijuana laws, such as those detailed in a study by PMC, remove state penalties under certain conditions despite the federal government’s stance. These complexities highlight the evolving policy gap between federal and state laws regarding marijuana.