SJC rules on marijuana distribution

The ruling states that while possessing less than one ounce of pot has been decriminalized, intent to distribute the drug is still a crime.

While voters chose to decriminalize possession of less than one ounce of marijuana, intent to distribute any amount of the drug is still a crime, the state’s highest court ruled today.


The ruling comes from a 2010 incident in Great Barrington. A mother called police to report her daughter was smoking pot on the front porch. Officers responded and found six people there including Shawn Keffner. Police found less than one ounce of pot on Keffner and charged him with possession with intent to distribute.


Keffner successfully argued to dismiss the charge, claiming that it wasn’t a crime because of the vote to decriminalize possession of marijuana.


However, the Supreme Judicial Court justices unanimously shot down the district court’s ruling.


“We conclude that the voters intended only to amend the simple possession statute and intended to exclude from the act's reach the separate and distinct crime of possession (of any amount of a controlled substance) with intent to distribute,” the ruling stated.