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Marijuana Impaired Driving
FAQ’s – Can I smoke marijuana while I am driving? 
Simply put, no. The laws pertaining to the use of marijuana while behind the wheel of a motor vehicle mirror the laws pertaining to the use of alcohol behind the wheel. A driver found to be under the influence of marijuana while operating a vehicle could be subject to arrest for OUI: Drugs. This offense carries the same penalties as OUI: Alcohol, including license suspension, fines, and in some cases, jail time. Also, much like having an open container of alcohol in a vehicle is a $500 civil citation, having an open container of marijuana in a vehicle is now also a $500 civil citation under these new laws. Understand that both a driver AND passenger can be found to be in violation of this law.”
MUCH more info from the state’s website below…

Rules on Transporting:
Under Consumer Education:
“A warning that when under the influence of Marijuana, driving is prohibited by M.G.L. c. 90, § 24, and machinery should not be operated” 935 CMR 500.105 (6)(b)

Under Marketing and Advertising Practices:
Marijuana can impair concentration, coordination and judgment. Do not operate a vehicle or machinery under the influence of this drug.” 935 CMR 500.105(4)(a)(5)(b)

Adults 21 and over can possess up to 1 ounce outside of your home. That includes a motor vehicle, but the marijuana or marijuana product must be in a sealed container or secured in the trunk or locked glove compartment. You are strictly prohibited from consuming marijuana while operating a car (500.140: 935 CMR: CCC (6) Under Consumer Education. (b) A warning that when under the influence of Marijuana, driving is prohibited by M.G.L. c. 90, § 24, and machinery should not be operated;). The 2017 Act does not change the existing penalties for operating a car while impaired by the use of marijuana or marijuana products.

In January of 2019, the Baker-Polito Administration filed legislation on Impaired Driving, directing the Municipal Police Training Committee (MPTC) to expand the training of drug recognition experts, and allowing them to testify as expert witnesses in civil and criminal cases, the same provision of the motor vehicle code that has long prohibited driving with open containers of alcohol. It would also recognize the effectiveness of the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, shown through scientific research to be the single most reliable field sobriety test.

Comm. v. Rodriguez, 472 Mass. 767 (2015). The smell of burned marijuana isn’t enough for police to stop a vehicle.

Comm. v. Cruz, 459 Mass. 459 (2011). Police can’t order a person out of a car just because they smell burned marijuana.

Comm. v. Davis, 481 Mass. 210 (2019) “A State police officer had probable cause to arrest the defendant for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana, based upon evidence that the defendant’s consumption of marijuana had impaired his ability to drive safely (i.e., the officer’s detection of the odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle and from the defendant’s person, and the officer’s observations of the defendant’s red and glassy eyes, his struggles to keep his eyes open and his head upright, his slow coordination, and his difficulties in focusing and in following the officer’s simple directions).”

Comm. v. Gerhardt, 477 Mass. 775 (2017) “[T]here is as yet no scientific agreement on whether, and, if so, to what extent, [field sobriety] tests are indicative of marijuana intoxication…Neither a police officer nor a lay witness who has not been qualified as an expert may offer an opinion as to whether a driver was under the influence of marijuana.” A police officer may testify, however, about his or her observations, including observations of the defendant’s performance on requested behaviors.

The penalties if convicted are the same for OUI Alcohol.  There is no breath test to be administered YET, so refusal are not considered as of yet.

First Offense options are as follow:

-A Continuance without a finding (CWOF), is an admission to sufficient facts to find you guilty.  This will not be a finding of guilt on the docket.
-Probation for one (1) year or longer.
-Have to finish the 24D program a 16 weeks of class once per week.
-Loss of driver’s license privilege for between 45-90 days.  If under 21 the privilege is taken for up to 210 days.
-A Hardship license is available within 3 business days to most individuals.

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