Companies skirt marijuana laws by 'gifting' pot to customers

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BOSTON - A slew of new startup businesses are looking to get around current marijuana laws by offering customers "gifts" of pot.

One company offers free marijuana delivery with the purchase of $50 or more of magazines, another post advertises free pot gifts for purchasing "awesome luxury t-shirts" ranging in price from $99 to $10.

Since the new law legalizing recreational marijuana in Massachusetts went into effect late last year, a growing number of people have been selling everyday items at inflated prices and giving people an small amount of marijuana as a gift.

“Well, if I were in business and I would have thought of it I probably wouldn’t have any problem doing it. But I’m sure they will close that loophole fairly quickly,” Janet Zucker from Walpole said.

Even though recreational marijuana use is legal, dispensaries will not be allowed to sell to anyone who doesn't have a medical prescription until 2018 at the earliest. 

That creates a unique problem for supply and demand, which is where the part of the law that allows gifting of up to 1 oz. of marijuana comes in handy for creative pot sellers.

“You can call it gifting, giving away it's still a drug transaction and just by its definition they are a drug dealer,” Walpole Police Chief John Carmichael said. 

There' also a company called HighSpeed that sells a cup of lemonade for $55. Each purchase is hand-delivered and each customer is given a "special gift" of marijuana.

The company advertises itself as a juice delivery company.

Unlicensed sale of marijuana remains a criminal offense, and Carmichael said police intend to keep treating it that way - even if people are describing the sales as gifts.

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