We will need two-thirds majorities to overcome Gov. Sununu's veto threat — email your state legislators today!
Rep. Renny Cushing's legalization bill has been introduced in the New Hampshire House with a bipartisan slate of 11 cosponsors, and it has been assigned a number: HB 481.
It's encouraging that new House Speaker Steve Shurtleff believes the bill can pass even though Gov. Chris Sununu has threatened to veto it. However, a veto override will only be possible if legislators hear from large numbers of their constituents in support of such a bill. If you receive a response from a legislator, it would be very helpful if you could share it with us via email.
HB 481 has been referred to the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, and a public hearing has already been scheduled for 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 5, in Room 204 of the Legislative Office Building (33 N State St., Concord). Check out our summary of the bill here, and please plan to attend the hearing, if possible, on February 5.
After you email your state legislators, please forward this message to your family and friends!
The New Hampshire legislative session has begun, and several bills to improve the therapeutic cannabis program have already been scheduled for public hearings on Tuesday afternoon, January 15. There will also be a hearing Tuesday afternoon on a bill that would enable annulment of criminal convictions for possessing three quarters of an ounce or less of marijuana.
The public is welcome to attend these hearings. For each bill, there will be a sign-in sheet where people can register their support or opposition. Any member of the public can also sign up to testify — please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to testify so we can coordinate.
WHAT and WHEN: Public hearings on these bills in the House Committee on Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs, on Tuesday, January 15:
1:00 p.m. — HB 335, relative to therapeutic cannabis dispensary locations
1:30 p.m. — HB 174, relative to alternative treatment center licenses
2:00 p.m. — HB 364, permitting qualifying patients and designated caregivers to cultivate cannabis for therapeutic use
2:30 p.m. — HB 366, adding opioid addiction, misuse, and abuse to qualifying medical conditions undertherapeutic use of cannabis
Public hearing in the House Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety, on Tuesday, January 15:
2:30 p.m. — HB 399, relative toannulment of arrests or convictions for possession of a certain quantity of marijuana
WHERE: Legislative Office Building, 33 N State St., Concord. The medical cannabis bills will be heard in Room 303, and the annulment bill will be heard in Room 204.
In other news, the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript will be hosting a public discussion about legalization on Tuesday evening. Here are the details:
WHAT: Community Conversations, a discussion series that is free and open to the public. This week's program will focus on cannabis legalization and feature panelists from both sides of the debate.
WHERE: Monadnock Center for History and Culture, 19 Grove St., Peterborough
WHEN: 7:00 p.m., Tuesday, January 15
We expect that the legalization bill will be introduced very soon. Please share this message with your family and friends, and stay tuned for updates!
On Tuesday, the inaugural meeting of the New Hampshire marijuana legalization study commission took place in Concord. The commission, which was created by the passage of HB 215, is tasked with studying the potential impacts of legalizing, regulating, and taxing marijuana for adults’ use.
MPP's Matt Simon released the following statement:
This commission has a fantastic opportunity to learn what is really happening in states that have pioneered sensible marijuana regulations. Sadly, the commission includes staunch opponents of reform such as the Association of Chiefs of Police and New Futures, but supportive organizations such as the ACLU-NH were excluded in the language of the final bill. Additionally, none of the six legislators who were appointed to the commission has ever publicly expressed support for ending marijuana prohibition.
Regardless of what this commission decides to recommend, most Granite Staters clearly recognize that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol, and they’re ready for the state to start treating it that way.
Tuesday’s primary election in New Hampshire produced remarkably positive results for those of us who care about reforming the state’s marijuana laws.
The New Hampshire Senate has been the biggest roadblock facing reformers since the House first approved a decriminalization bill in 2008. This year, with four out of 24 senators retiring, the balance of power finally appears to be tipping in our favor. Here are a couple of examples:
- In Senate District 15, reform advocate Dan Feltes (D-Concord) won by a large margin Tuesday against a candidate who was wishy-washy on marijuana policy. Feltes is now very likely to replace a retiring senator who has been, at best, a fair-weather friend on medical marijuana.
- In Senate District 12, a reform advocate won a close race against a prohibitionist. Former Rep. Kevin Avard (R-Nashua), who voted for ending marijuana prohibition in 2012, defeated a current representative who has voted against both medical marijuana and decriminalization. Avard will face incumbent Sen. Peggy Gilmour (D-Nashua), whose record has been inconsistent on marijuana policy, in November.
Finally, although Andrew Hemingway did not win the nomination for governor, he did receive a respectable 37%, despite being outspent by 10:1. In the final debate, Hemingway made a strong case for decriminalization, and eventual primary winner Walt Havenstein took an open-minded position, saying “I'm in favor of at least looking at that … I certainly would consider it.”
Many more races will be decided on November 4. We will post a general election voter guide soon.