New Hampshire

New Hampshire: Senate Committee Votes To Deny Patients Legal Access To Medical Marijuana

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Senate Health, Education, and Human Services Committee fails to pass bill that would allow limited home cultivation until patients have state-legal access through dispensaries

The New Hampshire Senate Health, Education, and Human Services Committee on Tuesday morning failed to take decisive action on a bill that would provide licensed patients with legal access to medical marijuana while the state develops a system of regulated cultivation and distribution. Instead, the committee voted 3-1 to refer the bill for "interim study."

Sponsored by Rep. Donald “Ted” Wright (R-Tuftonboro), HB 1622 would allow licensed medical marijuana patients or their designated caregivers to possess up to two mature marijuana plants and 12 immature plants or seedlings. Patients and caregivers would be required to report their cultivation locations to the Department of Health and Human Services, and they would lose their ability to cultivate once an alternative treatment center opens within 30 miles of their residence.

HB 1622 passed the House in a 227-73 vote March 6. If the Senate upholds the committee recommendation of interim study, patients will likely continue to have no legal protection until alternative treatment centers open, which could take another year and a half or more.

An amendment proposed by Rep. Wright would have added a sunset provision, repealing the home-grow option when the fourth alternative treatment center opened. Senators decided against this option in a 3-1 vote, with Sen. John Reagan (R-Deerfield) the lone dissenting vote.

New Hampshire: Senate Committee To Vote Tuesday On Bill To Provide Legal Access To Medical Marijuana

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Senate Health, Education, and Human Services Committee will vote on bill that would allow limited home cultivation until alternative treatment centers open

The New Hampshire Senate Health, Education, and Human Services Committee will vote Tuesday morning on a bill that would provide licensed patients with legal access to medical marijuana while the state develops a system of regulated alternative treatment centers. The vote is scheduled to take place at 9 a.m. in Room 103 of the Legislative Office Building in Concord.

Sponsored by Rep. Donald “Ted” Wright (R-Tuftonboro), HB 1622 would allow licensed medical marijuana patients or their designated caregivers to possess up to two mature marijuana plants and 12 immature plants or seedlings. Patients and caregivers would be required to report their cultivation locations to the Department of Health and Human Services, and they would lose their ability to cultivate once an alternative treatment center opens within 30 miles of their residence.

"If this bill passes, New Hampshire will continue to have one of the most tightly controlled medical marijuana systems in the nation," said Matt Simon, the Goffstown-based New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. "It will help desperately ill patients who cannot wait any longer for legal access to medical marijuana."

New Hampshire: Majority Of Granite State Adults Support Legalizing Marijuana, Regulating It Like Alcohol

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New Granite State Poll Shows Growing Majority of New Hampshire Adults Support Making Marijuana Legal and Regulating It Like Alcohol; Three Out of Five Support the Decriminalization Bill Currently Moving Through the State Legislature

UNH-WMUR survey finds 55% think marijuana possession should be legal — up from 53% in 2013 — and 61% support HB 1625, which would reduce the penalty for possession of limited amounts of marijuana to a $100 civil fine

The annual WMUR Granite State Poll released Wednesday by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center shows a growing majority of New Hampshire adults support making marijuana legal and regulating it like alcohol.

The survey found 55 percent percent support making possession of small amounts of marijuana legal in New Hampshire — up from 53 percent in 2013 — and 67 percent approve of marijuana being sold in licensed retail outlets and taxed at levels similar to alcohol if marijuana possession becomes legal.

"Marijuana prohibition has been an ineffective and wasteful policy," said Matt Simon, the Goffstown-based New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). "Voters are increasingly becoming fed up with it, and they're ready to replace it with a more sensible system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol."

New Hampshire: Senate Committee To Hold Tuesday Hearing On Medical Marijuana Access Bill

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HB 1622 sponsor Rep. Donald ‘Ted’ Wright will join medical marijuana patients and advocates for a pre-hearing news conference at 10:30 a.m. ET in the lobby of the Legislative Office Building

The New Hampshire Senate Health, Education, and Human Services Committee will hold a public hearing Tuesday regarding a bill that would provide licensed patients with legal access to medical marijuana through growing their own, while the state develops a system of regulated cultivation and distribution.

Rep. Donald “Ted” Wright (R-Tuftonboro), who is sponsoring HB 1622, will join medical marijuana patients and advocates at a pre-hearing news conference at 10:30 a.m. ET in the lobby of the Legislative Office Building. The committee hearing is scheduled for 11 a.m. ET in Room 103.

"My weight is down to around 60 pounds, and I have no appetite without cannabis," said Clayton Holton, a Dover-based medical marijuana advocate suffering from muscular dystrophy, who will not be attending the hearing because he is no longer able to travel. "Where is the compassion for patients like me who are literally wasting away because of these delays?"

HB 1622 would allow licensed medical marijuana patients or their designated caregivers to possess up to two mature marijuana plants and twelve immature plants or seedlings. Patients and caregivers would be required to report their cultivation locations to the Department of Health and Human Services, and they would lose their ability to cultivate once an alternative treatment center opens within 30 miles of their residence.

New Hampshire: Bill To Legalize, Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Moves Forward In House

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Legislation to end marijuana prohibition and establish a legal market for businesses to sell marijuana to adults 21 and older amended by House Ways and Means Committee Tuesday

The New Hampshire House Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday adopted an amendment on HB 492, a bill that would regulate marijuana similarly to alcohol. The amendment, which would simplify the tax structure and improve regulations for the legal marijuana industry, was approved by a subcommittee earlier Tuesday morning in a 5-0 vote. The Ways and Means Committee voted 14-5 to adopt the subcommittee’s amendment, and then it voted 14-5 to recommend that the House not pass the bill.

The House of Representatives already approved HB 492 once, in January, after overturning a similarly negative recommendation from the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. The bill will now return to the full House for a second vote. If approved, it will then be considered by the state Senate.

Rep. Frank Sapareto (R-Derry), a member of the subcommittee, said he was very pleased with the committee’s adoption of the amendment.

"We have developed what will be a workable and responsible system of regulating marijuana in New Hampshire," Sapareto said. "New Hampshire has effectively regulated the production and sale of alcohol, and there is no reason why we cannot capitalize on that experience to effectively regulate the production and sale of marijuana."

New Hampshire: House Approves Bill to Remove Criminal Penalties for Marijuana Possession

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Measure with bipartisan support would replace criminal penalties and potential jail time with a civil fine of up to $100 for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana

The New Hampshire House of Representatives approved a bill 215-92 on Wednesday that would remove criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana. The strong bipartisan support for the bill indicates the measure could withstand a veto from Gov. Maggie Hassan, who has expressed disapproval for such legislation despite broad public support. The bill will now go to the Senate, where it will be scheduled for a public hearing.

"This is a big step toward reducing the harms caused by marijuana prohibition," said Matt Simon, the Goffstown-based New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), which is supporting the bill.

"New Hampshire residents are sick and tired of seeing their tax dollars used to criminalize people for using a substance that is safer than alcohol," Simon said. "The Senate and Gov. Hassan should join the House and the majority of state voters in supporting this sensible reform."

New Hampshire: House Approves Bill That Provides Legal Access to Medical Marijuana

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HB 1622 would allow licensed patients to cultivate up to two mature marijuana plants until an alternative treatment center opens near their residence

The New Hampshire House of Representatives on Thursday approved a bill 227-73 that will provide people who qualify for the state's medical marijuana program with legal access to medical marijuana while the state develops a system of regulated medical marijuana cultivation and distribution. The bill will now move to the Senate, where it will receive a public hearing.

HB 1622, sponsored by Rep. Donald “Ted” Wright (R-Tuftonboro), would allow licensed medical marijuana patients or their designated caregivers to possess up to two mature marijuana plants and twelve immature plants or seedlings. Patients and caregivers would be required to report their cultivation locations to the Department of Health and Human Services, and they would lose their ability to cultivate once an alternative treatment center opens within 30 miles of their residence.

“We applaud House members for continuing to stand up for people with debilitating conditions who could benefit from medical marijuana,” said Matt Simon, the Goffstown-based New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), which supports the bill. “Seriously ill patients in New Hampshire have waited long enough for legal access to medical marijuana, and some simply cannot afford to wait any longer.”

New Hampshire: House Committee Approves Bill To Remove Criminal Penalties For Marijuana Possession

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Measure with bipartisan support would replace criminal penalties and potential jail time with a civil fine of up to $100 for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana

The New Hampshire House of Representatives Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee on Tuesday approved a bill 12-5 that would remove criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana. The measure is expected to pass in the House when it comes to a vote later this month.

HB 1625, sponsored by Rep. Adam Schroadter (R-Newmarket) and a bipartisan group of seven cosponsors including Sen. Jeff Woodburn (D-Dalton), would make possession of up to one ounce of marijuana punishable by a civil fine of up to $100. It would also make cultivation of up to six plants a Class A misdemeanor instead of a felony.

Currently, possession of any amount of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000. New Hampshire is the only state in New England that treats simple marijuana possession as a criminal offense with the potential for jail time.

"There is no good reason to continue criminalizing people for possessing marijuana," said Matt Simon, the Goffstown-based New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), which is supporting the bill. "Nobody should be saddled with a criminal record simply for possessing a substance that is objectively less harmful than alcohol. This should be the year New Hampshire brings its penalties into line with neighboring states."

New Hampshire: MPP Predicts House Approval of Marijuana Legalization Bill

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Marijuana legalization is on the move in the New Hampshire Legislature, with the House Ways and Means Committee reviewing HB 492, which gained initial approval from the House on a 170-162 vote last month.

A report, including expected revenues and regulatory expenses, is expected from the committee as soon as next month, reports John Toole at the Eagle Tribune.

Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), said he expects HB 492 to have smooth sailing in the House, but not the Senate. "We think it will pass in the House," he said. "We have no illusions about it passing the Senate or becoming law this year."

But, either way, Simon said, it's advancing the ball down the field. "This sets us up well in a year or two to pass something like that," he said.

The House passed a similar bill last year, which then died in the Senate. Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan, who opposes legalization, would likely veto any such bill that reached her desk, in any event.

"Legalizing marijuana won't help us address out substance use challenge," Hassan said in her State of the State address this month. "Experience and data suggests it will do just the opposite," she claimed.

"The evidence suggests that legalizing marijuana will increase the number of minors who use this drug, will make our workforce less productive and our roads less safe, and will undermine public health," Hassan claimed.

New Hampshire: Regulators Urged To Disregard AG's Opinion, Protect Medical Marijuana Patients

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The Attorney General’s office has advised the Department of Health and Human Services to delay issuing ID cards until alternative treatment centers are open, which would leave patients vulnerable to arrest for much longer than legislators intended

At a Friday public meeting of the Therapeutic Use of Cannabis Advisory Council, advocates urged the Department of Health and Human Services to disregard a controversial advisory opinion from the Attorney General’s office that would create a significant delay for patients who are desperately waiting for legal protections. In a memo dated February 13, Senior Assistant Attorney General Michael Brown opined that the Department should delay issuing any patient ID cards until the alternative treatment center (ATC) regulations are finalized and the facilities are open.

HB 573, the bill that created New Hampshire’s medical marijuana law, was signed into law by Gov. Maggie Hassan on July 23, 2013. The Department is not required to finalize its rules for authorizing alternative treatment centers until January 2015.

As a result, patients do not expect to have legal access to medical marijuana until the summer of 2015 at the earliest. Those who have been approved for the program and issued ID cards, however, would be protected from arrest in the interim.

New Hampshire: Cannabis Advisory Council to Hold Public Meeting and Discuss Rules

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Draft rules proposed by the Department of Health and Human Services and a controversial memo from the New Hampshire Attorney General’s office will be introduced and discussed by council members

The Therapeutic Use of Cannabis Advisory Council, which was created to oversee New Hampshire’s medical marijuana program, will meet at 1 p.m. Friday, February 21, in Rooms 205-207 of the Legislative Office Building in Concord.

Members of the council, which is chaired by Rep. James MacKay (D-Concord), have already received a first draft of rules from the Department of Health and Human Services.

They have also been provided with a controversial advisory memo from the attorney general’s office that would — if followed by the department — cause an additional lengthy delay for patients who are seeking legal protection.

Council members are expected to accept comment from members of the public. Matt Simon, Goffstown-based New England Political Director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), will be present to comment on the draft rules and the attorney general’s opinion.

WHAT: Meeting of the Therapeutic Use of Cannabis Advisory Council to discuss draft regulations for the medical marijuana program

WHEN: Friday, February 21, 1 p.m. ET

WHERE: Rooms 205-207 of the Legislative Office building, 33 N. State Street, Concord

WHO: The Therapeutic Use of Cannabis Advisory Council

New Hampshire: Bill Allowing Patients Legal Access to Medical Marijuana Passes House Committee

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HB 1622 would allow qualifying patients to cultivate up to two mature plants until an alternative treatment center opens near their residence

A bill that would allow qualifying patients to cultivate a limited amount of medical marijuana in New Hampshire was approved Thursday morning in a 13-3 vote by the House Committee on Health, Human Services, and Elderly Affairs. The bill will be considered by the full House sometime in March.

Sponsored by Rep. Donald “Ted” Wright (R-Tuftonboro), HB 1622 was designed to provide safe, legal access for patients who can’t afford to continue waiting for the four alternative treatment centers (dispensaries) that were authorized by New Hampshire’s “therapeutic use of cannabis” law. The bill would allow qualifying patients or their designated caregivers to possess up to two mature plants and 12 seedlings.

The cultivation location would have to be reported to the Department of Health and Human Services, and patients would lose their ability to cultivate when an alternative treatment center opens within 30 miles of their residence.

New Hampshire: Bill To Remove Criminal Penalties For Marijuana Possession To Get Public Hearing

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Measure with bipartisan support would replace criminal penalties and potential jail time with a civil fine of up to $100 for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana

A news conference with the bill sponsors will be held at 12:30 p.m. ET, immediately preceding the House committee hearing

The New Hampshire House of Representatives Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee is scheduled to hold a public hearing Thursday, February 13, on a bill that would remove criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana. A news conference featuring the bill's sponsors and other supporters will begin at 12:30 p.m. in the lobby of the Legislative Office Building in Concord. It will immediately precede the public hearing, which will be held in Rooms 202-204 of the Legislative Office Building.

HB 1625, sponsored by Rep. Adam Schroadter (R-Newmarket) and a bipartisan group of seven cosponsors including Sen. Jeff Woodburn (D-Dalton), would make possession of up to one ounce of marijuana punishable by a civil fine of up to $100. It would also make cultivation of up to six plants a Class A misdemeanor instead of a felony.

Currently, possession of any amount of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000. New Hampshire is the only state in New England that treats simple marijuana possession as a criminal offense with the potential for jail time.

New Hampshire: House Subcommittee to Consider Details of Bill to Legalize Marijuana

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Full House in January approved legislation to end marijuana prohibition and establish a legal market for businesses to sell marijuana to adults 21 and older

A five-member subcommittee formed by the House Ways and Means Committee will convene on Monday, February 10, to examine the revenue and regulatory aspects of a bill that would legalize marijuana and regulate it like alcohol in the Granite State.

HB 492 would make personal possession and home cultivation of limited amounts of marijuana legal for adults age 21 and older. It would also direct the state to license and regulate marijuana retail, cultivation, production, and testing facilities.

The subcommittee is expected to consider changes to the bill’s proposed system for taxing and regulating marijuana. The members of the subcommittee are Rep. Frank Sapareto (R-Derry), Rep. Patricia Lovejoy (D-Stratham), Rep. Russell Ober (R-Hudson), Rep. Jordan Ulery (R-Hudson), and Rep. John Kelley (D-Nashua).

The New Hampshire House of Representatives approved the bill in a 170-162 vote on January 15. It was the first time in history that a legislative chamber in the U.S. has passed legislation to end marijuana prohibition and establish a legal market for businesses to sell marijuana to adults 21 and older.

After the subcommittee has concluded its work, the House Ways and Means Committee will vote, and the bill will return to the full House of Representatives for a second vote in February or March. If approved a second time by the House, it will then be considered by the state Senate.

Vermont: New Hampshire Marijuana Legalization Vote Could Prompt Rest of New England

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Does the domino theory apply here? Political observers believe that last week's marijuana legalization vote in the New Hampshire House of Representatives could help prompt states across New England to adopt more liberal cannabis policies.

The legalization bill in the New Hampshire Legislature enjoys popular support, reports Watchdog.org. "Polls show 60 percent of voters in the state support, and we won't rest until that includes a majority of their state legislators," said legislative analyst Matt Simon of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) last week.

If the bill makes it out of committee and through a final vote and is then signed by Gov. Maggie Hassan (who hasn't sounded very encouraging so far), it would make New Hampshire the first state in New England to legalize, joining the 420-friendly town of Portland, Maine. Portland voted as a city on Election Day 2013 to legalize marijuana.

"The legalization of marijuana is moving fast in parts of the United States, and it looks as though the domino effect could quickly move to other states such as Vermont," said former Rhode Island U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy, who heads an anti-cannabis group called Project Smart Approaches to Marijuana (Project SAM), supposedly "dedicated to a health-first approach to marijuana policy" but in reality dedicated to the promulgation of Reefer Madness disinformation.

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