As New Hampshire legislators move closer to achieving consensus in favor of decriminalization, New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan says she remains opposed. She told the Nashua Telegraph last week that she did not support HB 618, a modest bill that would reduce the penalty for possessing up to one-half ounce of marijuana to a violation.
If you are a New Hampshire resident, please take a moment to call her office today and urge her to change her mind!
We are pleased that the Senate Health, Education, and Human Services Committee unanimously voted Tuesday to approve HB 573 and send it forward to the Senate floor. However, we were sad to watch as the bill was compromised by several amendments that were insisted upon by Gov. Hassan.
The worst was the removal of the home cultivation provision. If no patient or caregiver in the state is allowed to cultivate, patients will likely have to wait two or more years for safe, legal access through alternative treatment centers. Another offensive amendment requires patients to secure written permission before using marijuana on private property.
Senators felt they had little choice but to accept these mandates, because to do otherwise would be to risk having the bill vetoed. MPP held a press conference following the Senate vote, and our concerns were reported by media outlets including NHPR, The Union-Leader, The Concord Monitor, and The Nashua Telegraph.
Please share this news and add your voice to the voices of patients like Clayton Holton, who published this excellent letter in The Portsmouth Herald, and Hardy Macia, a cancer patient who recorded a sad, compelling video message for Gov. Hassan from his hospital bed.
This past Sunday, New Hampshire’s Sentinel Source positively highlighted the state’s proposed medical marijuana legislation, House Bill 573. The editorial board points out that the “well-crafted,” 30-page bill removes the ambiguities with which reform opponents often take issue. The proposal stipulates that prior to receiving a medical marijuana recommendation, qualifying patients must first try other forms of relief, and it sets strict rules about the financial relationships between recommending doctors and treatment centers, the total of which is capped at five. From the Sentinel:
In recent years, 18 states have authorized the use of marijuana for medical purposes, principally for palliative care for dreadfully painful conditions, and nine more are now considering such a move. New Hampshire is in this latter group with House Bill 573, a piece of legislation that is carefully drawn and deserving of support.
This support was echoed on Monday by the Nashua Telegraph, another prominent New Hampshire newspaper:
Arguments against medical marijuana are reasonable and legitimate, but they miss the point that the legislation is about easing the suffering of thousands of New Hampshire residents for which the alternatives aren’t viable. When the risks are weighed against the benefits, legalizing medical marijuana is in the best interests of New Hampshire and its citizens.
[caption id="attachment_5929" align="alignleft" width="270"] Clayton Holton, 27, who suffers from muscular dystrophy, testified at a New Hampshire medical marijuana hearing last week. (Photo - Nashua Telegraph)[/caption]
MPP would like to thank these publications for supporting this compassionate legislation. It is time for New Hampshire to join the rest of New England and allow patients like Clayton Holton to use the medicine that works best for them. Many of them cannot afford to wait. UPDATE: The Concord Monitor has joined the newspapers above in support for medical marijuana in New Hampshire.