Massachusetts made headlines back in November when it became the first state on the East Coast to legalize recreational cannabis. But since the vote, state legislators have been a bit slow to get the blunts rolling. Governor Charlie Baker recently decided that marijuana shops would have to wait an extra six months before opening their doors. Apparently, that’s too long to wait for one Boston-area weed dealer. So he took out an ad on Craigslist asking $325 for empty plastic grocery bags. It’s just that those bags happen to include cannabis in them as a “free gift.”
Craigslist Cannabis: The Gift That Keeps On Giving
Massachusetts has the most comprehensive weed laws in the country. People over the age of 21 can grow, possess, and smoke more cannabis than folks in other states with legal recreational pot. And one of the parts of that law says that individuals can “gift” up to an ounce of cannabis. In other words, it’s entirely legal for someone to give away an ounce of weed. That is, as long as there’s no money involved.
The Craigslist weed dealer is exploiting that part of the law to the maximum. He’s posting ads selling empty plastic bags ranging from $20 to $325. Then, after selling the empty bag, the seller is placing a certain amount of cannabis in it as a “legal gift.” The more expensive the empty bag is, the larger the gift is for the buyer, of course. The ad says that the most expensive bag, which runs $325, includes 27.8 grams – or just under one ounce – of a mishmash of strains. Adding a touch of humor, the seller posted his ad in the “Farm and Garden Services” section of the popular advertising website. In the ad, the seller insists that the gift of legal cannabis is in no way connected to the sale of the empty bags.
A Loophole In The Law?
Not surprisingly, the Craigslist ad (which has since been taken down) has attracted the attention of law enforcement and state officials. They say that the empty bag trick is still against the law. If you’re someone who doesn’t own or operate a licensed cannabis dispensary, you are totally allowed to gift up to an ounce of grass. But Daniel Bennett, who is the secretary of the State Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, says there are a few catches. First, someone can’t offer weed as a “free gift” and receive delayed or disguised payments. That’s against the law. It’s also illegal to exchange a weed gift for other “gifts” of money or other objects of value. Essentially, what Bennett calls “sham transactions” that try to cheat the new laws are all illegal.
District Attorney David Sullivan also said any attempts to “work around” the law would be criminal acts. In a statement made to the Boston Globe, Sullivan said “The ‘gifting’ of marijuana for a $300 empty bag is a complete ruse.” In response to these statements from state officials, the anonymous Craigslist weed dealer changed up the wording in the ad. “I’m not advertising free gifts of marijuana. Oh no,” wrote the seller. “I’m just saying that I’m awesome.”