7News Investigates: Gift of Green

Bottled water. Baseball cards. Empty plastic bags.

Buy any of those and get some bonus bud. Free marijuana.

Some in Massachusetts are offering that deal claiming it is legal. But 7News found that the gift of green is anything but.

The Craigslist ad stated, “If you buy some of my magazines, I will deliver to you free marijuana, as much as you want.” It even lists the available titles.

But when 7News met up with the seller, police say he wasn’t just offering free marijuana.

“That’s what we call a drug deal,” said Walpole Police Chief John Carmichael, who has been a key public safety voice on the marijuana issue.

Right now in Massachusetts, possession of marijuana is legal. Recreational sales are still illegal. But the law states that you can give away an herbal offering, up to an ounce of pot, as long as it is not advertised and money does not change hands.

There can be no sale,” said Carmichael.

Still, 7News discovered plenty of pot presents online.

One Craigslist ad offered a choice of iced tea, bottled water and other drinks for $40.00 to $240.00 each. The marijuana that comes with it is just a ‘beautiful green gift.”

Another Craigslist ad screamed, “FREE MARIJUANA EDIBLES WITH EVERY DONATION.”

How about free pot with the purchase of a baseball card? One Craigslist ad offered just that.

Another even advertised an empty plastic bag.

“Whether or not you throw the baseball card into the mix or not, it’s still violating Massachusetts General Law,” Carmichael said.

One website lists different strains, “green crack,” “thin mint” and “golden pineapple.” All of them free. The site states, “we do not condone nor participate in the illegal sale of drugs,” but “mandatory gratuity fees will apply.”

It is clever but police say it is also potentially criminal.

“It’s not a gray area. It’s very clever,” Carmichael said. “There can’t be any kind of sham type of transaction.”

7News reached out to several sellers, simply telling them we were interested in their ads. Two agreed to meet.

After 7News investigative reporter, Steve Tellier, told one of the sellers that he was a reporter with 7News, the seller insisted that what he’s doing is legal saying, “It’s just gifting.”

The other seller, a magazine salesman, said demand is high and that he brought the magazines.

Of course, 7News did not go through with either transaction. And both sellers didn’t want to explain their business models on camera.

“I think they’re taking a risk and I think they shouldn’t do it,” said Adam Fine, an attorney-turned-advocate for legal weed.

Fine helped draft the law and told 7News that the pot gifting provision was intended for small amounts between friends and family, like giving someone a beer out of your fridge.

“If you’re in your home and you want to give marijuana to your friend, that should not be a criminal act,” Fine said.

But even an ardent supporter of legalized marijuana is critical of sellers seeking weed rewards.

“It’s unfortunate. We want to get marijuana away from the illicit marketplace,” Fine said.

And police say they’re prepared to crack down.

“We’ll work to make sure that the law is enforced and we won’t let this go into a tailspin and get out of control,” Carmichael said.

The Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security has asked district attorney’s statewide to investigate marijuana gifting cases.

Springfield Police recently shut down a store that had been giving customers free marijuana after paying a fee to enter the store.

 

 

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