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Drug possession, commonly referred to as possession, is governed by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 94C Section 34. A first offense is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail or a fine up to $1,000, or both. If the first offense is for possession of heroin, the punishment is up to 2 years in a house of corrections or a fine up to $1,000. Subsequent offenses are felonies that carry longer penalties.
Marijuana is trickier: Massachusetts has legalized possession and growing marijuana for personal use, but distribution without a license is still a crime. At the federal level, possession, sale, and growing are still criminal, though the US Attorney’s office is not pursuing cases against state-licensed cannabis businesses.
The statute defines possession as knowingly or intentionally possessing a controlled substance unless such substance was obtained directly, or through a valid prescription or order, from a practitioner while acting in the course of their professional practice.