New Hampshire: House To Vote On Marijuana Decriminalization, MMJ This Week

Photo - New Hampshire: House To Vote On Marijuana Decriminalization, MMJ This WeekBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

New Hampshire may take a step closer to legalizing medical marijuana this week with the state House scheduled to vote on a proposal that would allow five dispensaries and permit patients or their caregivers to grow up to three plants. Meanwhile, the House is also expected to vote on a cannabis decriminalization bill.

An amended version of the medical marijuana bill, which restricts out-of-state patients from buying or growing pot in New Hampshire and also tightens other language of the original bill, has been overwhelmingly approved by a House committee, reports The Associated Press.

The New Hampshire Legislature has already passed medical marijuana bills two times, but both were vetoed by former Governor John Lynch. A third attempt was killed in the Senate. Governor Maggie Hassan has endorsed the idea of a "tightly regulated" medical marijuana law, but has expressed concerns about this bill's home-grow option.

The House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs committee reduced the number of plants allowed for patients from four to three, and also added language requiring that patients have a qualifying illness, not just certain symptoms. Physicians could approve conditions not listed on a case-by-case basis, reports Morgan True at The Associated Press.

Senate GOP leader Joe Bradley said on Monday he thinks there's enough support in the House to pass a medical marijuana bill, but added there's a "good possibility" that the House's version could be dismantled in the Senate and sent back with major changes.

Meanwhile, the marijuana decrim bill, HB 621, could also get a vote this week. If the bill passes, anyone or older who has less than an ounce of cannabis would be subject only to a fine of up to $100, reports Joe Gullo at Fox 44/ABC 22. Anyone under 18 possessing less than an ounce could be required to participate in a "drug awareness" program.

The decrim bill, introduced in January, is sponsored by Rep. Kyle Tasker (R-Rockingham). Gov. Hassan has said she does not support marijuana decriminalization.

"There's an increasing appetite in the House for reforms, and I would say that appetiate goes beyond therapeutic use," said Matt Simon of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP).

Morgan pointed to a House vote on marijuana legalization earlier this year that, surprisingly, garnered 112 yes votes.