SECTION 1. Chapter 94C of the General Laws is hereby amended by striking out section 34, as so appearing, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
Section 34. No person knowingly or intentionally shall possess a controlled substance unless such substance was obtained directly, or pursuant to a valid prescription or order, from a practitioner while acting in the course of his professional practice, or except as otherwise authorized by the provisions of this chapter. Except as provided in Section 32L of this Chapter or as hereinafter provided, any person who violates this section shall be subject to a civil fine of not more than fifty dollars or participation in a needs screening to identify health and other service needs, including but not limited to services that may address any problematic substance use and mental health conditions, lack of employment, housing, or food, and any need for civil legal services. The screening should prioritize the individual's self-identified needs for referral to appropriate services. The screening shall be conducted by individuals trained in the use of evidence-based, culturally and gender competent trauma-informed practices. Upon verification that the person has completed the screening within forty-five days of when the fine was imposed, the fine imposed by this section shall be waived and the citation dismissed. Completion of the screening shall not be deemed an admission of any kind and no legal findings shall be made based on the issued citation. Failure to pay the fine shall not be the basis for further penalties or for a term of incarceration.
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