Is it legal to smoke weed in Massachusetts? Yes, but probably not in front of your boss

Is it legal to smoke weed in Massachusetts? Yes, but probably not in front of your boss
Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

In keeping with its history of progressive firsts, Massachusetts on Tuesday became one of a handful of states to legalize recreational marijuana use, making it one of the earliest adopters of state-sanctioned toking in the nation. But maybe don't get too excited — there are still some restrictions on when and where people can smoke. 

Where Massachusetts previously allowed the legal use of marijuana for approved medical reasons, voters approved Question 4, an initiative that allows the state to regulate the drug much as it does alcoholic beverages. The initiative's approval does mean people who live, work and play in Massachusetts can buy, use and even grow marijuana, with stipulations: They must be over the age of 21, have no more than 10 ounces at home or more than one ounce in public and grow only six plants or fewer. 

Oh, and they probably can't smoke at work.

Just as they can with employees' booze consumption, employers in Massachusetts have the right to limit workers' use of the drug on the job, and are allowed to require drug tests. It's possible businesses will have the legal standing to fire employees who test positive for marijuana, even if they're not stoned (or getting stoned) at the office. 

"We did not want recreational marijuana users to feel like they had employment protections," Adam Fine, an attorney involved with the Massachusetts legalization campaign, said to the Boston Globe. "That was not the intent of this law. It would be nice to get to a place where employers don't discriminate, but we don't want to interfere with their hiring practices."

So, to the good people of Massachusetts: Enjoy rolling a J in your off hours — but maybe don't roll into work high.

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Jenny Kutner

Jenny Kutner is a senior reporter at Mic, covering feminism, reproductive justice and sexual violence. She is a native Texan based in New York. Send tips or friendly messages to jenny@mic.com.

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