Many communities have considered updating their ordinances to explicitly include the restriction of public marijuana usage, despite it already being covered by existing state laws. Some, such as Milford, voted to put on their books a local bylaw to prohibit marijuana smoking on public property and to allow police to issue fines up to $300 for third or subsequent offenses. Malden went further by specifying that usage is prohibited within 1,000 feet of an educational facility or 100 feet of a public park or playground.
The seaside town of Duxbury voted in 2017 to prohibit public consumption on a variety of public locations, specifying everything from sidewalks and bridges to cemeteries.
Daniel Adams, a Braintree resident, said he appreciates any municipality that votes on such laws even though they may be redundant with state and federal statutes. But he has concerns that marijuana usage could soon be felt at state-owned recreational properties specifically, and hopes extra measures are taken to “keep drugs, legal or otherwise, out of nature” this summer and beyond.
Adams was fishing recently at Houghton’s Pond Recreation Area, located within the Blue Hills Reservation in Milton, just miles from his home.
“I view our state parks almost like sacred land,” Adams said. “In some places, it’s a real problem for those tiny liquor bottles to be scattered on the ground. I would hope steps are made to make sure pot doesn’t become a problem in the woods or on beaches after hours. Laws are one thing, but we’ll need enforcement as it becomes more accessible and available.”
The Department of Conservation and Recreation, which manages Blue Hills Reservation, prohibits the possession of marijuana on all DCR-operated properties across the state unless for “duly authorized medical use” in accordance with state law.
DCR press secretary Olivia Dorrance said DCR officials have “not received many complaints” regarding marijuana usage on state recreation properties, and pointed to the rules that are already in place.
“DCR encourages visitors to contact the agency to report a violation, at which time DCR will investigate the matter,” Dorrance said.
On the occasion that a visitor is observed by DCR park rangers or staff violating agency regulations involving the use of marijuana, staff members and rangers may approach the visitors and educate them on the rules and regulations of state parks, and may request visitors to dispose of the substance or vacate the state park.