Responsible Cannabis Consumption, Sober Transportation Urged Ahead of April 20

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

April 18, 2019

Contact: Cedric Sinclair, Director of Communications, 857-268-6454;
Maryalice Gill, Press Secretary, 857-292-4871; cnbpress@mass.gov

BOSTON—For adult-use cannabis consumers who may recognize April 20, this Saturday will be the first occasion in which they have access to legal products in the Commonwealth. To make sure Massachusetts residents stay safe throughout the weekend, the Cannabis Control Commission (Commission) is joining the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, the Massachusetts Major City Police Chiefs Association, the Commonwealth Dispensary Association, and the Massachusetts Cannabis Business Association to remind cannabis enthusiasts to consume responsibly and use sober transportation.

“The Commission continues to rely on both marijuana establishments and patrons to set the tone for responsible consumption, which starts with knowing the Massachusetts law and never, ever getting behind the wheel while impaired,” Chairman Steven J. Hoffman said. “Any celebratory occasion only underscores those expectations, and we trust the adult-use cannabis community to act accordingly.”

“If you’re going to use cannabis as part of April 20 or at any other time, please make sure to plan ahead for a safe ride home,” said Massachusetts Highway Safety Director Jeff Larason. “Cannabis causes driving impairment. Remember: if you feel different, you drive different.”

Before partaking in any marijuana-related activity, consumers should know:

1. What is allowed – or prohibited – under Massachusetts law?

  • • It is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to purchase, possess, or consume adult-use cannabis in Massachusetts.
    • Giving or selling adult-use cannabis to minors may be treated as a crime.
    • Consuming cannabis in a public place is prohibited, as is smoking it any place where smoking tobacco is prohibited.
    • It is unlawful to carry cannabis across state lines or federal borders.
    • Per transaction, a retailer cannot sell more than one ounce of cannabis or five grams of concentrate to an individual who is age 21 or older.

2. What is your plan for sober transportation?

  • • It is illegal to operate a vehicle while using cannabis or while impaired by cannabis. And, like alcohol, you may not have an open container of adult-use cannabis in the passenger area of your car while on the road or at a place where the public has access.
    • Especially on April 20, but any time you are at risk of becoming impaired, leave your car at home. Use public transportation or a rideshare service instead of risking your life and others’ lives by driving.
    • Rideshare companies may offer promotions to encourage responsible transportation on April 20. Check company blogs or local news coverage for offers in your area.

“While regulated marijuana consumption is now legal, impaired driving is not,” said Chief Mark K. Leahy, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association. “Please be responsible and consider using a designated driver or a ride share service to get home safely.”

“Massachusetts Police Officers are highly trained to recognize any signs of erratic driving behaviors resulting from alcohol and/or drugs including marijuana,” said Chief Brian Kyes, President of the Massachusetts Major City Police Chiefs Association. “Please remember that driving while high will result in an OUI charge here in this Commonwealth, and please be responsible and safe on our roads.”

“The retail cannabis dispensaries place a premium on public safety and awareness every day they open their doors for business,” said David Torrisi, Executive Director of the Commonwealth Dispensary Association. “We are proud to continue our partnership with the state to inform our customers of the inherent dangers of driving while impaired. For those celebrating April 20, please know the law and make plans for safe transportation this weekend.”

“As retailers gear up for a busy weekend, our members recognize that public health and safety starts with us,” said David O’Brien, CEO and President of the Massachusetts Cannabis Business Association. “Whether customers will come to commemorate their first April 20 with legal sales in our state – or make their first purchase ever – marijuana establishments are committed to ensuring they know their responsibilities from point of sale to their commute home.”

The Commission’s public awareness campaign website, MoreAboutMJ.org, offers more information about the adult-use cannabis law, the effects of consumption, and prevention resources.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a substance use disorder, the Massachusetts Substance Use Helpline is available online at https://helplinema.org/ and by phone at 800-327-5050.
The Commission is available to the public at MassCannabisControl.com, by phone at 617-701-8400, by email at CannabisCommission@mass.gov, and on Facebook and Twitter.

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