Thursday, March 1, 2012

Maybe This Will Help You Understand Massachusetts

This is Massachusetts General Law Section 32L:

Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, possession of one ounce or less of marihuana shall only be a civil offense, subjecting an offender who is eighteen years of age or older to a civil penalty of one hundred dollars and forfeiture of the marihuana, but not to any other form of criminal or civil punishment or disqualification. An offender under the age of eighteen shall be subject to the same forfeiture and civil penalty provisions, provided he or she completes a drug awareness program which meets the criteria set forth in Section 32M of this Chapter. The parents or legal guardian of any offender under the age of eighteen shall be notified in accordance with Section 32N of this Chapter of the offense and the availability of a drug awareness program and community service option. If an offender under the age of eighteen fails within one year of the offense to complete both a drug awareness program and the required community service, the civil penalty may be increased pursuant to Section 32N of this Chapter to one thousand dollars and the offender and his or her parents shall be jointly and severally liable to pay that amount. 
That basically means you can walk around with an ounce of weed:

in your possession and an officer of the law will simply write you a ticket for a civil infraction.  Basically,  a parking ticket that has zero effect on your life.

Recently, I was pulled over by an officer of the law for "failure to yield".  When he looked at my license he told me it had expired.  "Damn," I thought, "You're right.  My birthday was 4 days ago and I just had a newborn.  It must have slipped my mind".  I told him I will renew it online as soon as I get to work.

Expecting him to tell me to "get it done".  He, instead, told me to get out of the car.  I was 0.5 miles from my job, it was 4:50am (I wake up at 4am to drive an hour to work every day), I wasn't speeding and I have a perfect driving record. 

Wondering what I did, I saw another cruiser arrive.  From what I've seen on COPS, that usually means trouble.  He told me he couldn't let me drive the vehicle away...because I "technically don't have a license".  He asked, "What happens if I let you drive away and you get into an accident?".  I guess if that big bag of dope was in my passenger seat he would have felt more comfortable letting me drive away.  I was very friendly and respectful but asked him if he was serious...and what was I to do with the car.  Apparently, officers of the law are always serious every moment of their waking lives because that seemed to have angered him - severely.

He told me a tow truck was on its way and I can pick it up, unless I can get someone to come drive it, he suggested my wife. I reminded him my wife just had a baby...and is (50 minutes away) at home sleeping with said 2 week old.  He said that wasn't his problem either, and was there someone at work I could call.  I told him there wasn't, I basically open the doors to the place, it's a big engineering company and I'm one of the first of 400 people to arrive.  He told me, again, that it wasn't his problem and I had "5 minutes to find someone or the car's gone".

Out of desperation, I called the front desk, because we have a security guard.  I introduced myself  and asked him if he would come get me 0.5 miles down the road.  He did and he was able to drive the car to my job, where I renewed my license online.

I was given a ticket to appear in court for "Driving without a license".  I was placed on one year's probation.

Is it my fault? Yes.

Is this backwards? Absofuckinglutely.


  1. Happy belated birthday, Paul.

    Sucks, don't it? 4 days...really?


  2. This happened a few months back...but it irked me as I was listening to some talk radio on the way home.

    I would have gotten in less "trouble" if the cop found THAT sitting on the seat next to me.

    And then the backwards punishment from the court. It's mind-boggling. I truly hate this state...and wish I could afford to move.

  3. Massachusetts IS nuts! Did you fight this in court? I hate living here too...=p

  4. I see you went to court for it. And you being the criminal that you were placed on probation? People wonder why this stat sucks so bad when a case like yours happens but the dealers are still running around in the projects...ridiculous!

  5. Correct. Probation...which carries with it fines and fees etc. That'll teach me to have a job!


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