As 4/20 Approaches, State Urges Responsible Recreation

Saturday will be the first April 20 with legal and accessible marijuana for sale in Massachusetts, and the state is reminding consumers to puff, dab or dose responsibly.

In the parlance of pot, the number 420 and its variations serve as a sort of code word to mean any number of things related to using marijuana. Some people like to smoke at 4:20 p.m., events or places might be said to be "420-friendly," and April 20 has become an unofficial holiday in cannabis culture.

The Cannabis Control Commission sent an advisory Thursday reminding "adult-use cannabis consumers who may recognize April 20" to keep the state's laws regarding public possession and use of marijuana in mind and to make a plan for 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," CCC Chairman Steven Hoffman said.

Adults 21 and older may purchase up to an ounce of marijuana in Massachusetts, but it is illegal to use it in public, give it to anyone younger than 21 or transport it across state lines. Impaired driving, regardless of substance, is illegal.

"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," Highway Safety Director Jeff Larason said. "Cannabis causes driving impairment. Remember: if you feel different, you drive different."

David O'Brien, CEO and president of the Massachusetts Cannabis Business Association, said retailers are gearing up for a busy 4/20 weekend and anticipating tourists.

"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," he said.

After alcohol, marijuana was the most prevalent drug found in the systems of drivers involved in fatal crashes in Massachusetts between 2013 and 2017, according to the governor's office.

Last year, a Department of Public Health study found that nearly 35 percent of adults who reported using marijuana in the previous 30 days also reported driving under the influence of marijuana.



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