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General Laws

Section 30. (a) Administrative inspection warrants shall issue for the inspection of controlled premises in accordance with the provisions of this section. As used in this section “administrative inspection warrants” are warrants for the purpose of inspecting, copying and verifying the correctness of records, reports or other documents required to be kept by a registrant on controlled premises and for the seizure of property appropriate to such inspection. For the purposes of this section “controlled premises” means any place or area, including but not limited to any building, conveyance, warehouse, factory, or establishment, in which persons registered under the provisions of this chapter or required thereunder to keep records, are permitted to hold, manufacture, compound, process, distribute, deliver, dispense, or administer any controlled substance or in which such persons make or maintain records pertaining thereto.

(b) A district court or justice or superior court justice may, upon proper oath or affirmation by the commissioner or his designee except in the case of a pharmacy, by the commissioner or his designee or by the designee of the board of registration in pharmacy, or by a police officer showing probable cause, issue warrants for the purpose of conducting administrative inspections authorized by this chapter or rules hereunder, and seizures of property if appropriate to the inspections. For the purposes of the issuance of administrative inspection warrants, probable cause exists upon a showing of a reasonable and valid public interest in the effective enforcement of this chapter or rules or regulations hereunder under a general plan sufficient to justify administrative inspection of an area, premises, buildings or conveyances in the circumstances specified in the application or such warrant.

(c) An administrative inspection warrant shall issue only upon affidavit sworn to before the court, or justice establishing the grounds for issuing the warrant. If the court or justice is satisfied that grounds for the issuance of such warrant exists or that there is probable cause to believe they exist, he shall issue such warrant identifying the area, premises, buildings or conveyances to be inspected, the purpose of the inspection, and, if appropriate, the type of property to be inspected, if any. Such warrant shall:

(1) be directed to the commissioner or his designee, except in the case of a pharmacy to the commissioner or to the designee of the board of registration in pharmacy, or to a police officer;

(2) command the person to whom it is directed to inspect the area, premises, buildings or conveyances identified for the purpose specified and, if appropriate, direct the seizure of the property specified;

(3) describe the item or types of property to be inspected or seized, if any;

(4) direct that it be served during normal business hours.

(d) An administrative inspection warrant issued and executed pursuant to the provisions of this section shall be returned to the issuing court, except if said warrant is issued by the superior court it shall be returned to any court named in such warrant, within ten days of the date of issuance thereof unless, upon a showing of a need for additional time, the court or justice orders otherwise. If property is seized pursuant to such warrant, a copy of the inventory shall be given to the person from whom or from whose premises the property is taken, together with a receipt for the property taken. The inventory shall be made in the presence of the person executing such warrant and of the person from whose possession or premises the property was taken, if present. A copy of the inventory shall be delivered to the person from whom or from whose premises the property was taken and to the applicant for such warrant at the time it is returned to a court.

(e) When authorized by an administrative inspection warrant issued pursuant to this section a person designated by the commissioner, except in the case of a pharmacy by the commissioner or by the board of registration in pharmacy, upon showing such warrant to the owner, operator, or agent in charge, may enter controlled premises for the purpose of conducting an administrative inspection.

(f) A person executing an administrative inspection warrant may:

(1) use reasonable force and means to execute the warrant;

(2) inspect and copy records required by this chapter to be kept;

(3) inspect, within reasonable limits and in a reasonable manner, controlled premises and all pertinent equipment, finished and unfinished material, containers and labeling found therein, and except as provided in subsection (h), all other things therein, including records, files, papers, processes, controls, and facilities bearing on violation of this chapter; and

(4) inventory any stock of any controlled substance therein and obtain samples thereof.

(g) This section shall not prevent entries and administrative inspections, including seizures of property, without a warrant:

(1) if the owner, operator, or agent in charge of the controlled premises consents;

(2) in situations presenting imminent danger to health or safety;

(3) in situations involving inspection of conveyances if there is reasonable cause to believe that the mobility of the conveyance makes it impracticable to obtain a warrant;

(4) in any other exceptional or emergency circumstance where time or opportunity to apply for a warrant is lacking; or

(5) in all other situations in which a warrant is not required by the laws and constitution of the commonwealth or of the United States.

(h) An inspection authorized by this section shall not extend to financial data, sales data, other than shipment data, or pricing data unless the owner, operator, or agent in charge of the controlled premises consents in writing.

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