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New Hampshire: House Approves Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

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The New Hampshire House of Representatives approved a bill Thursday evening in a voice vote that would remove criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana and replace them with a civil fine. The measure will now be considered in the Senate.

HB 1631 would make possession of up to one-half ounce of marijuana a civil violation punishable by a fine of $100 for a first offense, $200 for a second offense, and $500 for a third or subsequent offense. Under current state law, 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.

“This is commonsense marijuana policy reform,” said Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “It is irrational to brand people as criminals simply for possessing a substance that is safer than alcohol.”

Nearly three out of four New Hampshire residents (72 percent) think the legislature should decriminalize marijuana possession or make it legal for adults, according to a WMUR Granite State Poll released earlier this month. The full results are available at http://bit.ly/1Xdt8j9.

“New Hampshire citizens want the legislature to adopt a more sensible marijuana policy,” Simon said. “House members have done their part, and we hope their colleagues in the Senate will join them in supporting this measure.”

New Hampshire: House Kills Bill That Would Have Legalized Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The New Hampshire House on Thursday killed a bill that would have legalized, regulated and taxed marijuana.

House Bill 1964 would legalize cannabis for adults 21 and older, and would impose a $15 tax per ounce on leaves, and a whopping $530 per ounce tax on flowers, reports Garry Rayno at the Union Leader.

The bill would allow adults to grow up to six plants; three could be mature plants.

“(HB 1694) would provide adult New Hampshire citizens with a controlled, tested, labeled, and less harmful alternative to alcohol,” said the bill's main sponsor, Rep. Geoffrey Hirsch (D-Bradford).

“How much more available can it be,” Hirsch said. “It's hard to imagine an environment where students have greater access to marijuana then they already do.”

But. Rep. John Tholl (R-Whitfield) wasn't having any of this marijuana business. "This is not the New Hampshire way, to say 'Yes you should use this federally illegal drug, while we are trying to stop the use of opioids," a nonsensical Tholl blathered.

The New Hampshire House several years ago approved a bill legalizing marijuana, but the bill died in the Senate. The House has approved decriminalization several times, but the more conservative Senate has also methodically killed all those bills.

New Hampshire: Thursday Hearing Set For Terminal Cancer Patient Seeking Medical Marijuana

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Merrimack County Superior Court will hold a hearing this week on a lawsuit against New Hampshire Commissioner of Health and Human Services Nicholas Toumpas filed by a terminal cancer patient seeking access to medical marijuana.

Linda Horan of Alstead, who is suffering from Stage 4 lung cancer, filed a pre-registration application to participate in New Hampshire’s medical marijuana program after receiving approval from all five of her physicians. She wants to receive a medical marijuana ID card that will allow her to obtain medical marijuana legally in Maine and protect her from arrest and prosecution in New Hampshire.

A lawsuit asking that she be able to do so was filed by her attorneys on November 5.

The hearing for an “expedited temporary order” will take place at 10 a.m. on Thursday, November 12, at the Merrimack County Courthouse.

Gov. Maggie Hassan signed New Hampshire’s medical marijuana program into law on July 23, 2013, but patients are still at risk of arrest and prosecution because program ID cards have not been issued. Horan pled her case directly to Gov. Hassan on September 7 after receiving a lifetime achievement award during the New Hampshire AFL-CIO Labor Day Breakfast.

A video of her statement is available at https://youtu.be/KNj_SwYtWe8?t=3m20s.

When: Thursday, November 12, 10 a.m. ET

Where: Merrimack County Courthouse, 163 N. Main St., Concord

Who: Linda Horan, Alstead woman with Stage 4 lung cancer
Paul Twomey, Ms. Horan’s attorney

New Hampshire: Senate Blocks Widely Supported Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

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Despite overwhelming approval in the House — and a poll released last week that found 63% of New Hampshire voters support such legislation — the Senate tabled HB 618 on Thursday evening

The New Hampshire Senate on Thursday evening blocked a widely supported bill that would have removed criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana.

After Senators voted 9-15 to overturn the Judiciary Committee’s recommendation that the bill be killed, Sens. Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro) and David Pierce (D-Etna) proposed a compromise floor amendment to HB 618. Four senators argued strongly against the bill and the amendment: David Boutin (R-Hooksett), Sharon Carson (R-Londonderry), Gary Daniels (R-Milford), and Jeannie Forrester (R-Meredith).

Senators were unable to agree on the language and the bill was tabled.

HB 618, which the House approved 297-67 in March, would have made possession of up to one-half ounce of marijuana a civil violation punishable by a fine of $100 for a first offense, $200 for a second offense, and $500 for a third or subsequent offense. Under current state law, 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: Former Narcotics Officer To Testify In Support Of Marijuana Decrim Bill

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A former narcotics officer will testify at a New Hampshire Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday in support of a bill to remove criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana.

At 9 a.m. ET, immediately prior to the hearing, Maj. Neill Franklin, a 34-year law enforcement veteran and executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), will join Rep. Adam Schroadter (R-Newmarket) and Matt Simon of the Marijuana Policy Project at a news conference in the lobby of the Legislative Office Building. The hearing is scheduled to begin at 9: 40 a.m. ET in Room 100 of the State House.

HB 618, sponsored by Rep. Schroadter and a bipartisan group of seven co-sponsors, would make possession of up to one-half ounce of marijuana punishable by a civil fine of $100 for a first offense, $200 for a second offense, and up to $500 for third and subsequent offenses. 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.

The House of Representatives approved the measure 297-67 on March 11.

“New Hampshire is the only state in New England that still doles out criminal records and jail time for simple marijuana possession,” said Simon, a Goffstown resident and New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “People’s lives should not be turned upside down just for possessing a substance that is less harmful than alcohol.

New Hampshire: House Approves Removing Criminal Penalties For Marijuana Possession

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Bill with bipartisan support would replace potential jail time with a civil fine for possession of small amounts of marijuana

The New Hampshire House of Representatives on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a bill 297-67 that would remove criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana. The measure will now be considered in the Senate.

“We’re pleased to see such strong legislative support for this important legislation,” said Matt Simon, Goffstown-based New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “We hope the Senate will agree with their colleagues in the House and the vast majority of state voters that it’s time to stop criminalizing people for simple marijuana possession.”

HB 618, sponsored by Rep. Adam Schroadter (R-Newmarket) and a bipartisan group of seven co-sponsors, would make possession of up to one-half ounce of marijuana punishable by a civil fine of $100 for a first offense, $200 for a second offense, and up to $500 for third or subsequent offenses. 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 Committee Approves Measure Removing Criminal Penalties For Marijuana Possession

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Bill that would replace potential jail time with a civil fine receives bipartisan support in House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee

The New Hampshire House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee on Thursday approved a bill 12-3 that would remove criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana. The measure will now go to the full House for a vote.

“Nobody should face time in jail simply for possessing a small amount of marijuana,” said Matt Simon, Goffstown-based New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “We’re glad the committee members agreed, and we hope the rest of their colleagues in the Legislature will, too. This is a commonsense reform that is long overdue.”

HB 618, sponsored by Rep. Adam Schroadter (R-Newmarket) and a bipartisan group of seven co-sponsors, would make possession of up to one-half ounce of marijuana punishable by a civil fine of $100 for a first offense, $200 for a second offense, and $500 for third or subsequent offenses. 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.

The House passed a nearly identical bill last year by a vote of 215-92, but the Senate refused to consider it.

New Hampshire: Supporters Of Marijuana Legalization Bill Hold Press Conference

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Bill sponsors joined by attorneys Paul Twomey and Jonathan Cohen, and Matt Simon of the Marijuana Policy Project, at event prior to House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee hearing on HB 618

Supporters of a bill to remove criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana in New Hampshire held a news conference at 1:30 p.m. ET in the lobby of the Legislative Office Building prior to a hearing on the bill by the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee.

The bill sponsor, Rep. Adam Schroadter (R-Newmarket), was be joined at the event by bill cosponsor Rep. Joe Lachance (R-Manchester), attorney Paul Twomey, attorney Jonathan Cohen, and Matt Simon of the Marijuana Policy Project.

The committee hearing followed, scheduled for 2:30 p.m. ET in Room 204 of the Legislative Office Building.

HB 618, sponsored by Rep. Schroadter and a bipartisan group of seven co-sponsors, 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 marijuana 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: Lawmakers To Consider Removing Marijuana Possession Penalties

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Bill introduced 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 bill has been introduced in the New Hampshire House of Representatives that would remove criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana. The House passed a nearly identical bill last year by a vote of 215-92, but the Senate refused to consider it.

HB 618, sponsored by Rep. Adam Schroadter (R-Newmarket) and a bipartisan group of seven co-sponsors, 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 marijuana 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 in New Hampshire, which is the only state left in New England that treats simple marijuana possession as a criminal offense with the potential for jail time.

"Criminalizing someone for possessing a small amount of marijuana causes far more harm than marijuana itself,” said Matt Simon, the Goffstown-based New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), which is supporting the bill. "A criminal record can prevent someone from accessing employment, an education, and even a home.”

New Hampshire: One Year After Medical Marijuana Law, Patients Still Risking Arrest

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On Wednesday — the first anniversary of Gov. Hassan’s signing of H.B. 573 — Rep. Donald ‘Ted’ Wright will join patients and advocates at a demonstration in front of the State House

One year after New Hampshire adopted a law intended to allow seriously ill people to use medical marijuana, patients are still facing criminal penalties for marijuana possession.

On Wednesday — the first anniversary of Gov. Maggie Hassan’s signing of H.B. 573 — Rep. Donald “Ted” Wright (R-Tuftonboro) will join patients and advocates at a demonstration in front of the New Hampshire State House to discuss a list of grievances and requests to the governor. Patients will then deliver the list to Gov. Hassan’s office.

The list of grievances and requests is pasted below and available online at http://mpp.org/NHgrievances.

“Patients have nothing to celebrate on the first anniversary of New Hampshire’s medical marijuana law,” said Matt Simon, the Goffstown-based New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “Implementation of the program has been beset by needless delays, and people with debilitating conditions still face criminal penalties for possessing any amount of marijuana. This situation is unacceptable.

“We’re fed up with state officials’ stonewalling,” Simon said. “It’s time to start listening to the seriously ill people the medical marijuana law was intended to help.”

New Hampshire: Medical Marijuana Patients, Advocates To Comment On Proposed Patient Registry Rules

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Advocates will urge regulators to more swiftly implement program that will provide seriously ill patients with legal access to medical marijuana; hearing will take place at the Department of Health and Human Services Brown Building Auditorium at 9:30 a.m. ET Thursday

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services is scheduled to hold a public hearing Thursday on its proposed rules for the patient registry portion of the state’s medical marijuana program. Patients and advocates will comment on the draft rules (available here) and the impact of a memo from the attorney general’s office (available here) that has delayed implementation of the program.

The Marijuana Policy Project is urging regulators to begin issuing ID cards to patients as quickly as possible.

“It is critical that the state begin issuing ID cards to patients as soon as the rules for the patient registry have been finalized,” said Matt Simon, a Goffstown-based New England Political Director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “There is no reason to delay the program, and many patients can’t afford to wait any longer for relief.

"Our state should not continue to criminalize seriously ill people who are using medical marijuana under their doctors’ supervision,” Simon said.

New Hampshire: Report Details Collateral Consequences Associated With a Marijuana Conviction

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Advocates call on members of the House of Representatives to add House-approved decriminalization measure to one or more Senate bills; HB 1625 would have eliminated criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana

The Marijuana Policy Project on Tuesday released a report detailing the collateral consequences associated with a marijuana conviction in New Hampshire. The organization urged members of the State House of Representatives to revive a measure that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.

The report, “Marked for Life: Collateral Sanctions in New Hampshire,” was released in an email to legislators, and copies were presented to House leaders, Senate leaders, and Gov. Hassan’s office. A PDF of the report is available at mpp.org/NHMarkedForLife.

“A misdemeanor conviction can absolutely follow a person for the rest of his or her life,” said Mark Sisti, a Concord-based criminal defense attorney. “All five other New England states have eliminated criminal penalties for simple marijuana possession and replaced them with a civil fine. New Hampshire should do the same.”

Advocates are calling on members of the House to attach the language of a widely supported marijuana decriminalization bill to one or more bills that have been approved by the Senate. The House passed HB 1625 with more than a two-thirds majority (215-92), but the Senate refused to accept the bill from the House.

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

NewHampshireDecriminalization

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: 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.

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