Court: Possession of less than an ounce of pot still a criminal act if you're trying to sell it

The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today that people caught with less than an ounce of marijuana can still be tried in criminal court if police and prosecutors can show they planned to sell the pot.

The declaration comes in separate rulings in cases from Great Barrington and Natick, in which police had evidence the arrested people were pot dealers - in one case a text message on a seized phone to the suspect about buying a pound of pot, in the other in which a guy was arrested with 14 plastic bags of pot.

In both cases, the defendants argued for dismissal because they were caught with less than an ounce of marijuana, and voters made that a mere ticketable offense in 2008.

But the court said simple possession and possession with intent to distribute are detailed in two separate sections of state law and that the decriminalization referendum only applied to the simple-possession section:

By creating specific exemptions in the simple possession statute, but not in the possession with intent to distribute statute, 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.

In the Great Barrington case, the defendant still won even though the court rejected his argument on the 2008 referendum - the court ruled a police officer did not have probable cause to search him and so the pot and cell phone on which he had the text message were not admissible evidence.

A total loss

Not much left after Chestnut Hill Avenue fire.

Not much left after Chestnut Hill Avenue fire. Photo by BFD.

The Boston Fire Department reports yesterday's four-alarm fire on Chestnut Hill Avenue was still burning at 6:50 p.m., 13 hours after it was first reported, fed by a natural-gas main whose shut-off valve malfunctioned.

The department calls the block of stores a total loss and says five firefighters were taken to the hospital with various injuries.

The department has posted a big collection of photos of the fire. Scott Eisen and Brian D'Amico also posted photos.

All that water quickly turned to ice. Photo by BFD.All that water quickly turned to ice. Photo by BFD.

Firefighters on Chestnut Hill Avenue. Photo by BFD.Firefighters on Chestnut Hill Avenue. Photo by BFD.

Congressional candidate drops out of race to peddle nutritional supplement

Republican Bill Hudak, who lost against John Tierney two years ago, has quit the race this year so he can push a supplement he claims reverses the aging process. In a message to supporters, Hudak said he couldn't pass up the opportunity to improve people's lives through the miracle of nitric oxide-based chemistry:

The system is named "Prime". It reverses the aging process, expands the arteries, enhances brain activity by supporting cell communications, memory, and healthy cognition. It's amazing - a veritable fountain of youth!

Alone, this system will lead to more youthful and longer life, increased oxygenation of the tissues and organs, preventing and reducing heart attacks, strokes, memory loss, and diseases of the brain which are caused by hardening and narrowing of the arteries, and more.

What makes a Boston neighborhood a neighborhood? ponders the news that residents of Harbor Towers and Rowes Wharf are trying to carve out a new identity as the Wharf District when they're already covered by the North End/Waterfront Neighborhood Council. In fact, the current president of that group is a Harbor Towers resident:

When is a neighborhood a neighborhood? Hard to say. In Boston, neighborhoods are often marked by resident parking signs, something the Wharf District is lacking. Many would say that you’re not a neighborhood until you can get a resident parking sticker. Then, there is political representation. The Wharf district is lumped into the huge Precinct 6 of Ward 3 that includes most of the Downtown area. As more residents and businesses establish themselves, some type of city precinct redistricting could more formally acknowledge the arrival of the neighborhood.

And what of the newer development closer to South Station? Would they hook up with Harbor Towers or align with Fort Point - where the guy who owns many of the old warehouse buildings once proposed renaming them as the Wharf District?

When life gives you lemons, make Butterfingers

In case you haven't seen the sports section of the Globe today, Nestle, which makes Butterfingers, took out a fullpage ad to address what it's hash-tagging as Butterfingergate:

SORRY, but only 7,200 candy bars for city of 4.6 million people? That kind of completion percentage isn't going to cut it in Boston.

Ed. note: The 4.6 million represents the population of the entire Boston metropolitan area, not the city, obviously. And tip o' the chocolate bar to Ron Newman, who reads the Globe sports section more faithfully than I do.

Barstool dude pulls fast one on Globe columnist

So David Portnoy tells the Globe's Joanna Weiss how he was moved by tales of sexual assault at a rally against his Blackout party:

Portnoy showed up, intending to take the microphone himself and offer a half-satirical, half-serious response: Naming a few comedians, for instance, who have joked about rape, with little consequence. But then he saw that women were sharing real, painful stories about sexual assault. So instead, he stayed silent, and watched.

“It was kind of emotional," Portnoy told me last week. "We're just as anti-rape as they are ... It's not our intent, with jokes, to poke fun at rape victims."

Aw, brings a tear to the eye, it does. Unfortunately, Portnoy's own video shows a different story: He went up front, did some bla-bla-bla hand motions as protesters cursed him out, then finally got shouted out of the rally. Just like organizers of the event described:

We refused to let Portnoy speak out of protection for the survivors and out of protection for everyone who has been insulted, harassed or otherwise harmed either directly by him or indirectly through the comments on his website. This was not his space to talk. We at Knockout Barstool don't have many safe spaces to discuss our thoughts and opinions. He has an entire website to espouse his opinion. His presence at the speak out was unexpected, offensive and uncalled for.