Marijuana Laws Are Changing
Massachusetts voters recently passed the initiative legalizing medical marijuana by prescription in the state. In addition to affecting those with prescriptions, the law’s passage is also going to have effects on police searches, motor vehicle stops, search warrants, and other search and seizure issues.
The decriminalization of possession of less than an ounce of marijuana already has had sweeping impacts on searches. Now, for officers to have probable cause to search for marijuana, they must have evidence of the intent to sell or that the amount in question is greater than an ounce.
Issues That May Come Up in Court
With this new change to the law, questions will arise as to whether the weight of the drugs themselves are enough for probable cause, or if the police also need evidence that the suspect did not have a prescription. Such issues will no doubt have to be litigated in court and new case law will be made to address the changes in the law legalizing medical marijuana in Massachusetts. It now seems clear, however, that the law in Massachusetts, based on the actions of the voters, is gradually headed towards the complete legalization of marijuana in the state.