Ad Features New Hampshire Cancer Survivor Dennis Acton Asking Gov. Lynch to Allow Medical Marijuana Bill to Become Law
CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE — Advocates for the New Hampshire medical marijuana bill recently passed by the state Legislature announced a new TV ad today urging Gov. John Lynch to allow the bill to become law.
The ad, which is available online at www.mpp.org/NHads, features Fremont resident Dennis Acton, who used medical marijuana to relieve the nausea he experienced while undergoing treatment for testicular cancer in 1999.
"If I smoked just a very small amount of marijuana, just a few puffs, I experienced immediate relief that I didn't get with any other drug," Acton says in the ad, which will air on WMUR, CNN, MSNBC and other cable stations across the state beginning today. "I hope Gov. Lynch will have the courage to step up and sign this bill into law."
HB 648, which would remove the threat of arrest for seriously ill patients who use medical marijuana with their doctor's recommendation, was amended earlier this month by a special legislative committee to address eight specific concerns expressed by Lynch.
The key change to the bill, as requested by the governor, involves removing a provision allowing patients or their caregivers to cultivate their own marijuana plants, as patients are permitted to do in all 13 states that currently protect medical marijuana patients from arrest. Instead, the amended bill allows for the creation of up to three nonprofit "compassion centers," which could legally cultivate medical marijuana and dispense it to qualified patients.
Another concern that has been expressed, in this year of difficult budget cuts, has been over the program's potential cost to taxpayers. Fortunately, the bill clearly states that fees for patients and compassion centers must be set to cover the entire cost of the program. The Department of Health and Human Services would determine what fee to charge for patients and compassion center staff ID cards. It would also set the fees for all applicants wishing to become compassion centers and for the licensing of approved compassion centers. In other states, medical marijuana programs have generally had no trouble covering their expenses and have even generated surpluses. In fact, both Vermont and Montana have been able to reduce their fees for patients while continuing to cover all costs. In Oregon, the state's medical marijuana ID card program generated a surplus of over $1 million.