Yesterday was an incredibly frustrating day at the N.H. State House for patients and advocates, as the effort to override Gov. Chris Sununu’s veto on the home cultivation bill fell three votes short of success. The vote was 13-11, and 16 votes would have been necessary in order to pass HB 364 into law.
A few senators told us yesterday morning that they were leaning in favor of voting for the override, but when it came time for the vote yesterday afternoon, we actually lost one senator who had voted in favor of the bill on May 2: Senator Kevin Cavanaugh (D-Manchester).
In positive news, the House and Senate both voted to override the governor’s veto on SB 88, a bill that will eliminate the required three-month waiting period before a medical provider can certify a new patient for the therapeutic cannabis program. This bill will become law in 60 days. This article in the Union Leader covers both the success of SB 88 and the failure of HB 364.
After you follow up with your elected officials about HB 364, please share this sad news with your family and friends.
The Senate will vote TOMORROW (September 19) — please urge your senator to support overriding the veto and passing HB 364 into law!
In an overwhelming show of support for patients, the N.H. House voted 259-120 to override Gov. Chris Sununu's veto of HB 364! The Senate is expected to cast a final vote on the bill tomorrow, and if it passes there by more than two-thirds, the governor's veto will be overridden and the bill will become law.
It is critical that all 24 senators hear from us today! Please email or call your senator right now!
If you are able to visit the State House tomorrow morning to show support for HB 364, your presence would be welcome! Here are more details:
WHAT: N.H. Senate votes on veto overrides, including HB 364
WHEN: The Senate session begins at 10 a.m. You can meet me outside the Senate chamber (second floor of the State House) between 9 and 10 to get your sticker and demonstrate support for the bill as senators enter the chamber.
WHERE: State House, 107 N Main Street, Concord
If you haven't already done so, please contact your senator today and tell them home cultivation should not be a crime for patients in the "Live Free or Die" State!
Please share this link with friends and supporters: MPP.org/nhveto
Patients have expressed dissatisfaction with New Hampshire's therapeutic cannabis program from the outset, so it should come as no great surprise that the program has flunked a legislative performance audit. On Sunday, the Union Leader reported that the medical cannabis program received a "failing grade," in part because "nearly 100% of patients fail to receive cards... within a mandated time frame."
The opponents of allowing home cultivation have frequently argued that the state's medical cannabis program is fine the way it is, but the performance audit tells a very different story. Please contact state legislators today and tell them patients in the "Live Free or Die" state deserve better — improvements are urgently needed, and they should start by overriding the governor's veto on HB 364!
The bill, which would allow registered patients and caregivers to possess up to three mature plants, three immature plants, and 12 seedlings per patient, passed the Senate 14-10 on May 2. However, since HB 364 was vetoed by Gov. Chris Sununu, two additional Senate votes will be needed in order to pass the bill into law.
The House of Representatives is expected to vote in favor of overriding the veto on Wednesday, September 18. Assuming that happens, the bill will proceed to the Senate for a final vote. We're committed to fighting for every vote we can get in the legislature and passing this bill into law.
Please share this link with friends and supporters: MPP.org/nhveto
Yesterday, after a series of delays, the medical cannabis home cultivation bill was finally delivered to Gov. Chris Sununu's desk. That means the governor will have until Saturday to sign or veto HB 364, which would allow registered patients and caregivers to cultivate a limited supply of cannabis at home. If he takes no action, the bill will become law without his signature.
After you call Gov. Sununu, please share this important update with your friends and family!
Late yesterday, the Rhode Island Senate adopted the House's budget bill, sending the legislation to Gov. Raimondo for her approval. Although the governor's January budget proposal included a plan to legalize marijuana for adults, the state legislature removed it and instead increased the number of licenses for medical marijuana compassion centers from three to nine. The budget also raises the annual licensing fees for these businesses to $500,000 — by far the highest in the nation.
Though the outcome is not what we hoped for, we were successful in avoiding an even worse result. After MPP and our allies called legislators' attention to it, the House amended out a budget provision that would have allowed the Department of Business Regulation to establish "criteria for eligibility or a demonstration of need" for patients and caregivers who wish to grow medical marijuana. Given the department's stated opposition to home cultivation, many patients could have lost their ability to produce their own medicine had this provision not been removed.
Looking ahead, advocates for sensible marijuana policy reform in Rhode Island are regrouping and planning for next year. With the legislative session winding down and no elections coming up, the next six months are an excellent time to contact your state senator and representative and talk with them about the need for sensible cannabis policy reform.
Though it is disappointing when progress does not come quickly, our movement is winning, and our numbers are growing. We must continue speaking out and advocating for reform. I appreciate you for sticking with us and continuing this fight.
Stay tuned for more updates soon.
This Friday, the Rhode Island House will debate H 5151 Sub A, the budget bill for the coming fiscal year. As written, Article 15 of this legislation would make two significant changes to undermine the state's medical marijuana program.
First, the House budget would require all patients who wish to grow for themselves to register as their own caregiver. Then, it empowers the Department of Business Regulation to establish criteria for caregivers, which may include "eligibility" and "a demonstration of need." Depending on how the department uses this authority, it could effectively eliminate home cultivation for all but a few patients.
Second, while the current budget proposal would increase the number of compassion centers from three to nine, it also raises the annual licensing fee for these facilities to $500,000 a year, which is 10-100 times more than what most other states require for medical marijuana business licenses. This fee will ensure that only people with deep pockets can enter the market, and the increased costs will be passed down to patients in the form of increased prices.
Limiting patients' ability to grow their own medicine while simultaneously increasing costs for patients at the compassion centers is a cruel and unnecessary way to balance the budget. Enough is enough.
Thank you for taking action!
Action has been delayed on legalization, but we're still doing everything we can to pass the medical cannabis home cultivation bill — please call Gov. Chris Sununu today and urge him to sign HB 364 into law!
The New Hampshire Senate has delayed action on the legalization bill, but several cannabis-related bills have been approved by both chambers of the legislature, and they will soon land on the desk of Gov. Chris Sununu.
Most of these bills passed with strong support in both chambers, but the fate of one critical bill remains uncertain. HB 364, which would allow registered patients and caregivers to cultivate a limited supply of cannabis at home, passed the House today in a final voice vote. Unfortunately, the margin of support in the Senate was only 14-10, so we would have to gain two votes in the Senate in order to override a potential veto.
Here are the other cannabis-related bills that appear to be on track to become law:
- HB 399 would allow people who received misdemeanor possession convictions prior to decriminalization to apply to have their records annulled. It passed both chambers in a voice vote. We are very grateful to our allies at ACLU-NH and Americans for Prosperity for their work to help get this bill passed.
- HB 350 would allow physician's assistants to certify patients. It passed both chambers in a voice vote.
- SB 88 would eliminate the three-month waiting period for provider-patient relationships. It has already passed the House (263-90) and the Senate (17-7) and awaits a final vote in the Senate.
- SB 145 would allow alternative treatment centers to reorganize as for-profit businesses. It passed both chambers in a voice vote.
After you call Gov. Sununu and urge him to sign HB 364, please share this important update with your friends and family!
HB 481 won’t receive a committee vote until December, but we’re still working to pass bills to allow home cultivation and enable annulments for past convictions — contact your senator about the annulment bill today!
On Tuesday, New Hampshire’s Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously decided to postpone action on the legalization bill until later this year. Three of the five senators on the committee said they wanted to spend more time working on HB 481 and understanding the details before bringing it to a vote in the full Senate, so it’s clear that this is only a temporary setback. The committee will vote on the bill before the end of 2019, and it will come before the Senate in January 2020.
We are now turning our attention to two critical bills that need our help to get across the finish line. One very important bill, HB 399, would allow people who received misdemeanor possession convictions prior to decriminalization to apply to have their records annulled. It has already passed the House in a voice vote, and it passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. However, the committee vote was only 3-2 (Senators Shannon Chandley and Sharon Carson voted no), so victory remains far from certain.
No Granite Stater should have to be burdened with a criminal record for having possessed small amounts of cannabis prior to decriminalization. Please email your state senator today!
Meanwhile, the medical cannabis home cultivation bill will receive a final vote in the House on May 23, and we expect it to pass by an overwhelming margin. After that, it will proceed to Gov. Chris Sununu’s desk. Call Gov. Sununu’s office today and urge him to support HB 364!
Please share these important updates with your friends and family!
If you live in N.H., follow up with your senator today; public hearing on legalization bill continues at 9 a.m. TOMORROW
Last Thursday, the Senate voted 14-10 to pass HB 364, a bill that would allow home cultivation of cannabis for registered patients and caregivers. The bill would allow up to three mature cannabis plants, three immature plants, and 12 seedlings for each patient.
Please take a moment to find out whether your senator voted for or against patients, and send a follow up message! All you have to do is type in your contact information, and our automated system will load a “thank you” or “I’m disappointed in you” letter based on how your senator voted.
And, if you haven’t already done so, please call Gov. Sununu’s office today and urge him to stand up for patients!
In other news, the Senate Judiciary Committee will resume its public hearing on HB 481, the adult-use legalization bill, beginning at 9 a.m. tomorrow (Tuesday) in Room 100 of the State House. If you didn’t testify on April 23, your testimony will be welcome! Here are details on how to sign up, and here are some talking points in support.