Strangest Laws in Massachusetts

The Bay State, like every other state, has its fair share of weird laws that can make you scratch your head and wonder why they were ever made in the first place. For instance, it is illegal to deface a milk carton and it’s prohibited to keep a mule on the second floor of a building not in a city unless there are two exits.

We’ve gone through the law books and came up with the following list of eight weird laws from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

1. Blasphemy will get you jailed

Massachusetts takes religion very seriously, so much that the state legislature saw it necessary to make it illegal for anyone to willfully blaspheme the holy name of God, contumeliously reproach Jesus Christ or the Holy Ghost and ridicule the holy word of God contained in the holy scriptures. Anyone who is caught violating this law risks a $300 fine or a one-year jail term.

2. Don’t mess around with milk cartons

According to chapter 266: section 128 of MA law, anyone who “knowingly and wilfully effaces, alters or covers over, or procures to be effaced, altered or covered over, the name, initial or device of any dealer in milk, marked or stamped upon a milk can, or whoever, with intent to defraud and without such consent, detains or uses in his business any such can having the name, initial or device of any dealer in milk so marked or stamped thereon, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $10.”

When starting a business in Massachusetts, you need to understand the rules that the state imposes on businesses. Perhaps these guides on how to start an LLC in Massachusetts and how to find a great registered agent in Massachusetts can help you avoid any legal issues when opening or doing business in the state.

3. Don’t sell fewer than 24 ducklings before May 1st

It is illegal to sell living, baby chickens, ducklings or other fowl under two months of age. However, If you run a business that sells these animals for commercial breeding purposes, such ducklings may be sold or purchased only in quantities of 24 or more before May 1st. 

This law goes ahead to warn people from selling living rabbits, chickens, ducklings that have been dyed, colored or otherwise treated so as to impart to them an artificial color. 

4. Shooting targets mustn’t resemble a human being

In Massachusetts, it is illegal for targets in shooting ranges to depict human figures, human effigies, human silhouettes or any human images. However, this law does not apply to public safety personnel performing in line with their official duties.

5. Don’t touch the goalposts

Removing or defacing a goal post is illegal according to MA law. Anyone caught violating this ordinance will be punished by a fine of not less than $50 nor more than $200.

6. Don’t frighten the pigeons

According to 2006 Massachusetts Code – Section 132, “Anyone who willfully kills pigeons or scares them from beds which have been made for the purpose of taking them in nets, by any method, within one hundred rods of the same, except on land lawfully occupied by himself, shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than one month or by a fine of not more than twenty dollars, and shall also be liable for the actual damages to the owner or occupant of such beds.”

7. No mules on the second floor

Mules, horses or other equines are not to be stabled on the second or higher floor of any building unless there are two exits in the opposite ends of the building. A sprinkler system also has to be installed in the building where the equines are stabled. This law, however, does not apply to cities.

8. The booze in the candy

It’s illegal to sell candy containing more than 1% of alcohol. Anyone caught violating this rule will be punished by a fine of not more than $100.

Sources

MA Legislature – Section 128: Milk cans; defacement

MA Legislature – Section 36: Blasphemy

MA Legislature – Section 80D: Living rabbits, baby chickens, ducklings or other fowl; sale, barter or gift

MA Legislature – Section 131: Licenses to carry firearms; conditions and restrictions

MA Legislature – Section 104A: Goal posts; penalty for destruction

Justia – 2006 Massachusetts Code – Section 132. Pigeons; killing or frightening

MA Legislature – Section 86: Stabling horses or mules on second or higher floors, in places other than cities.

MA Legislature – Section 8: Candy containing alcohol; sale

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