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!
Election results put legalization on the agenda for 2019
Last week, New Hampshire voters sent a strong message to Gov. Chris Sununu and the political establishment: it’s time to end marijuana prohibition! Although Sununu (a prohibitionist) won re-election, his margin of victory over legalization supporter Molly Kelly was smaller than anticipated. Most importantly, the Democratic party — which added support for legalization to its platform earlier this year — gained control of both chambers of the legislature.
The Senate, in particular, promises to be much less hostile to reform advocates in 2019. To illustrate, here are a few senators who were voted out last week:
• Sen. Gary Daniels (R-Milford) voted no on all cannabis reform bills throughout his time in the House and Senate. Voters replaced him with Rep. Shannon Chandley (D-Amherst), who has been much more reasonable on cannabis policy as a member of the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee.
• Sen. Kevin Avard (R-Nashua) voted against a 2018 bill that would have allowed registered patients to cultivate their own limited supply of cannabis. Voters replaced him with a legalization supporter, former Rep. Melanie Levesque (D-Brookline).
• Sen. Bill Gannon (R-Sandown) strongly opposed all sensible marijuana policy reforms throughout his time in the House and Senate. This was supposed to be a safe Republican district, but voters chose to replace Gannon with legalization supporter Jon Morgan (D-Brentwood).
The odds of passing a legalization bill improved significantly as a result of the election. However, in order to achieve victory in the House and Senate, we will need a robust effort to educate and persuade undecided legislators.
After the election, I published a commentary in the Union Leader, making the case that “cannabis is objectively less harmful than alcohol, and most residents of the ‘Live Free or Die’ state are ready to see it treated that way.”
Please help us get our 2019 campaign off to a great start by contributing to the Marijuana Policy Project today!
Then, please share this message with your family and friends!
After you vote tomorrow, you are welcome to attend a marijuana legalization debate at New England College in Henniker!
Last week, New Hampshire’s study commission on marijuana legalization published its final report. The commission did not take a position on legalization, but it did make 54 recommendations to the legislature, including the following:
- Marijuana should be referred to as cannabis in any future legislation.
- If cannabis is legalized for adults’ use, limited home cultivation should be allowed.
- If cannabis is legalized, a Cannabis Commission should be created to license and regulate cannabis cultivators, testing labs, product manufacturers, and retail stores.
You can read the full report here. Overall, this is a much more useful report than we originally expected from the study commission, which was stacked with prohibitionists. Although it does contain some problematic language, the report will help to inform the legislature about the issue when it convenes in January.
We expect that your calendars are already marked for Election Day tomorrow. If you are available tomorrow evening after you vote, you’re welcome to join me and other panelists for a cannabis legalization debate at New England College.
WHAT: Debate: Should New Hampshire Legalize Cannabis?
WHERE: New England College, Simon Center Great Room, 98 Bridge Street, Henniker
WHEN: 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
WHO: Six panelists including Richard Van Wickler, Superintendent of Cheshire County Department of Corrections, Kate Frey, vice-president of advocacy at New Futures, and MPP’s New England Political Director Matt Simon
Finally, please click here to learn where candidates on your ballot stand on marijuana policy! Then, please share this information with your family and friends and remind them to vote on November 6!
Find out where N.H. candidates stand on marijuana policy, then help good candidates win on Tuesday, November 6!
Last week, Gov. Chris Sununu doubled down on his opposition to marijuana legalization. This is a disappointing development, especially in light of the fact that the legalization study commission’s report is set to be completed next week. Gov. Sununu signed the bill that created the study commission, so it’s unfortunate that he couldn’t wait for its report before taking a firm position on the issue.
Sununu’s general election opponents — Molly Kelly (D) and Jilletta Jarvis (L) — both support legalizing, regulating, and taxing cannabis for adults’ use. However, Sununu continues to lead in the polls, and it is rare for a first-term governor to lose a re-election bid in New Hampshire.
If Sununu wins on November 6, it will be difficult to pass a legalization bill in 2019, but that doesn’t mean it will be impossible. If enough legislators support ending marijuana prohibition, it will be possible to override a potential veto with a two-thirds majority in the legislature.
The outcome of state Senate races will be especially critical for our success in the next legislative session, and those contests are often determined by a very small number of votes. If you are able to volunteer to help a good Senate candidate win in your area, please consider doing so!
Please share this information with your family and friends. Then, please do what you can to help good candidates win in November!
Find out where N.H. candidates stand on marijuana policy, then help good candidates win on Nov. 6!
Less than seven weeks remain until the November 6 general election. The winners will have the power to determine New Hampshire’s marijuana policies for the next two years, so it is critically important for supporters of cannabis legalization to become informed and active participants in this year’s election.
As our voter guide explains, there are many strong contrasts between candidates’ positions on marijuana policy. In the race for governor, Gov. Chris Sununu (R) has not yet been convinced to support legalization, but Molly Kelly (D) and Jilletta Jarvis (L) have both taken clear positions in support.
The outcome of state Senate races will also be critical for our success, and those contests are often determined by a very small number of votes. If you are able to volunteer to help a good Senate candidate win in your area, please consider doing so. This could end up making a big difference in November!
Please share this information with your family and friends. Then, please do what you can to help good candidates win in November!
Mark your calendars, learn candidates’ positions, and remember to vote on Tuesday, September 11.
We have been busy compiling the candidates’ survey responses into an online voter guide for New Hampshire’s primary elections, which will take place Tuesday, September 11. The voter guide includes survey responses, votes cast by incumbents, and any available comments.
If you’re a New Hampshire resident, please share this message with your family and friends and remind them that the primary election is Tuesday, September 11.
The walls of marijuana prohibition have crumbled all around New Hampshire. It is now legal for adults in all three neighboring states to grow and possess cannabis, and retail sales will soon become a reality in Massachusetts, Maine, and Canada.
Sadly, Gov. Chris Sununu continues to oppose legalization, in part because he continues to rely on terrible advice from New Hampshire’s so-called “drug czar,” former Manchester police chief David Mara. Last week, during an appearance at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Mara went on camera and offered an incredibly weak argument in defense of the status quo.
In other news, Senate Democratic leader Jeff Woodburn has launched an online petition calling for Sununu to support legalization. Sen. Woodburn announced last month that he intends to sponsor a bill to legalize, regulate, and tax cannabis in 2019.
If you are a New Hampshire resident, please call Gov. Sununu’s office today — tell him it’s time to stop listening to Chief Mara and start listening to the people of New Hampshire, who overwhelmingly support ending marijuana prohibition!
Yesterday, the New Hampshire Senate Health and Human Services Committee voted 3-2 to reject a bill that would allow home cultivation of up to two mature cannabis plants and 12 seedlings by registered patients and caregivers. Instead of listening to the numerous patients who testified at the public hearing, the committee recommended that HB 1476 be sent to “interim study,” which would effectively kill it for the year. But there’s still hope. Next, the bill is expected to receive a vote in the full Senate sometime in the next few weeks. Gov. Chris Sununu has not expressed a public position on the bill.
This bill is critically important because many patients are unable to afford the products that are available at dispensaries, which are not covered by health insurance. For some patients, home cultivation is simply the best, most affordable option. There is no need for further study before allowing limited home cultivation by registered patients and caregivers, especially now that it is becoming clear that access to cannabis is a key to addressing the opiate crisis.
The New Hampshire Senate Health and Human Services Committee is expected to vote on HB 1476 next Tuesday, April 24.
The bill, which has already passed the House in a voice vote, would allow home cultivation of up to two mature cannabis plants and 12 seedlings by registered patients and caregivers. Many patients are unable to afford the products that are available at dispensaries, which are not covered by health insurance. Others have to drive long distances in order to reach a dispensary. For some patients, home cultivation is simply the best, most affordable option.