Recreational marijuana law takes effect in Massachusetts

By: The Associated Press/ABC6 News

news@abc6.com

BOSTON (AP) — It is now legal in Massachusetts for adults to possess, grow and use limited amounts of recreational marijuana.

While the voter-approved law took effect Thursday, it will be at least another year before the state issues retail licenses to sell the drug. For now, that leaves recreational users with little choice but to buy it from illegal dealers.

Marijuana advocates say they are happy to see the law take effect, but worried that lawmakers and Republican Governor Charlie Baker will try to change it.

Baker says the wishes of voters will be respected, but adds that it is appropriate to examine issues such as the potency of marijuana products and the location of pot shops.

Massachusetts is the first eastern state where recreational marijuana is legal.

Rhode Island has already decriminalized small amounts of pot.

Some officers in the Providence Police Department have been trained to see the signs of a driver under the influence of marijuana.

“The concern for us is that there is no valid testing system like a blood alcohol level test so we have to rely on our expert witness of our officers and we don’t have many officers trained in DRE,” said Colonel Hugh T. Clements; Providence Police Chief.

Another issue officers will have to deal with THC can stay in a person’s system for up to a month, which could make it difficult to prove if someone was high while driving.

©WLNE-TV / ABC6 2016