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Entries in Medical Marijuana (55)

Wednesday
Jul232014

MPP - NH Med. Marijuana Patients to Deliver Message to Hassan 

One Year After New Hampshire Adopted Medical Marijuana Law, Patients Still Risking Arrest and Criminal Prosecution

                                                                      

On Wednesday — the first anniversary of Gov. Hassan’s signing of H.B. 573 — Rep. Donald ‘Ted’ Wright will join patients and advocates at a demonstration in front of the State House

 

* Photo opportunity: The group will deliver a list of grievances and requests to the governor’s office *

                                                

CONCORD — One year after New Hampshire adopted a law intended to allow seriously ill people to use medical marijuana, patients are still facing criminal penalties for marijuana possession.  

 

On Wednesday — the first anniversary of Gov. Hassan’s signing of H.B. 573 — Rep. Donald “Ted” Wright (R-Tuftonboro) will join patients and advocates at a demonstration in front of the New Hampshire State House to discuss a list of grievances and requests to the governor. Patients will then deliver the list to Gov. Hassan’s office. The list of grievances and requests is pasted below and available online at http://mpp.org/NHgrievances.

 

“Patients have nothing to celebrate on the first anniversary of New Hampshire’s medical marijuana law,” said Matt Simon, the Goffstown-based New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Implementation of the program has been beset by needless delays, and people with debilitating conditions still face criminal penalties for possessing any amount of marijuana. This situation is unacceptable.


“We’re fed up with state officials’ stonewalling,” Simon said. “It’s time to start listening to the seriously ill people the medical marijuana law was intended to help.”

 

WHAT: Demonstration and rally to raise awareness about delays facing New Hampshire’s “Therapeutic Use of Cannabis” program

 

WHEN: 9:30 a.m. ET, Wednesday, July 23

 

WHERE: In front of the New Hampshire State House, 107 N. Main St., Concord

 

WHO: Rep. Donald “Ted” Wright

Matt Simon, MPP New England political director

New Hampshire patients and advocates

#########

Patients’ Ten Grievances and Requests — July 23, 2014

 

#10[1] — No legal protection — Patients will have no protection from arrest until ID cards are issued, and the Attorney General’s office has advised the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) not to issue ID cards until the first dispensary opens. Governor Hassan, since you insisted on patients not having any legal protection until ID cards are issued, please urge DHHS to ignore the AG’s deeply flawed legal opinion and move forward with issuance of ID cards, as legislators intended.

 

#9 — No urgency on dispensaries — One year after the signing of HB 573, DHHS still has not managed to produce a first draft of the rules that will govern dispensaries. Governor Hassan, please tell these administrators to get serious and begin implementing this law more swiftly.

 

#8 — Removal of PTSD — Many patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) report significant benefits from using cannabis. These patients include military veterans and victims of violent crime, and such patients can now qualify under the laws of 10 states, but not in New Hampshire. Governor Hassan, please withdraw your opposition to allowing PTSD as a qualifying condition.

 

#7 — No case-by-case approval — Unlike other state laws, New Hampshire’s law requires both a listed symptom and a listed condition to qualify. The Attorney General’s office has advised DHHS to ignore the law’s “case-by-case approval” language that would allow providers to certify patients with rare conditions or unique circumstances. As a result, rules have been adopted that will exclude patients with compelling needs, including those suffering from epilepsy. Governor Hassan, if you are re-elected, please support efforts to improve this law and allow patients with compelling circumstances to qualify.

 

#6 — Unreasonable requirements for providers — DHHS has adopted rules that exceed its statutory authority by requiring providers to justify their certifications by handing over medical records. Governor Hassan, please begin to recognize that cannabis is less harmful than prescription drugs, such as OxyContin, and that it is insane to discourage providers from recommending a less harmful alternative.

 

#5 — Unreasonable requirements for patients — Under New Hampshire’s medical marijuana law, it is a crime to possess cannabis in “Drug Free Zones.” This means a patient living within such a zone — or even driving through such a zone — would not be legally allowed to possess or use cannabis, even in the privacy of his or her own home or vehicle, and even if the cannabis is not smoked. It also means any patient or caregiver transporting cannabis within two or threeblocks of a school would be inadvertently committing a crime. The law also includes an absurd requirement that patients must have written permission before they can consume cannabis on another person’s property. Governor Hassan, please support removing these unique and burdensome restrictions so patients can obtain cannabis from dispensaries and transport it to their homes without risking an unreasonable arrest.

 

#4 — Opposition to reducing penalties — New Hampshire is the only state in New England where simple possession of marijuana remains a crime punishable by possible jail time. Reducing penalties would reduce patients’ and their family members’ exposure to the criminal justice system if they possess cannabis for therapeutic purposes, including while they wait for ID cards to become available. Governor Hassan, please withdraw your opposition to reducing marijuana penalties to a violation.

 

#3 — Police Chief on Advisory Council — The first person appointed to serve as “a member of the public” on the Advisory Council was Tuftonboro Chief of Police Andrew Shagoury. Chief Shagoury was one of the leading opponents of allowing patients access to cannabis, and his opposition to the interests of patients continues. The legislature has since voted to give the police chiefs’ association its own spot on the council, but patients are afraid that yet another opponent will be appointed to represent the public. Governor, please acknowledge the overwhelming public support for this program and appoint a public representative who will not advocate against the interestsof patients.

 

#2 — No patient representative on Advisory Council — The first patient appointed to the Advisory Council has not attended a single meeting. This is unacceptable. Governor Hassan, please appoint a qualifying patient who supports the implementation of this program and one who is willing to attend meetings and represent the interests of patients.

 

#1 — Home cultivation by patients remains a felony — Patients know that if they lived in any neighboring state, they could legally grow their own plants. Governor Hassan, please withdraw your opposition to allowing limited home cultivation by patients and caregivers.

 


[1] These are not in any particular order but are numbered for ease of reference.

Tuesday
Apr082014

MPP - NH Medical Marijuana Hearing and News Conference

New Hampshire Senate Committee to Hold Hearing Tuesday on Bill That Would Provide Legal Access to Medical Marijuana                                                                    

HB 1622 sponsor Rep. Donald ‘Ted’ Wright will join medical marijuana patients and advocates for a pre-hearing news conference at 10:30 a.m. ET in the lobby of the Legislative Office Building

 

CONCORD — The New Hampshire Senate Health, Education, and Human Services Committee will hold a public hearing Tuesday regarding a bill that would provide licensed patients with legal access to medical marijuana while the state develops a system of regulated cultivation and distribution.

Rep. Donald “Ted” Wright (R-Tuftonboro), who is sponsoring HB 1622, will join medical marijuana patients and advocates at a pre-hearing news conference at 10:30 a.m. ET in the lobby of the Legislative Office Building. The committee hearing is scheduled for 11 a.m. ET in Room 103.

"My weight is down to around 60 pounds, and I have no appetite without cannabis," said Clayton Holton, a Dover-based medical marijuana advocate suffering from muscular dystrophy, who will not be attending the hearing because he is no longer able to travel. "Where is the compassion for patients like me who are literally wasting away because of these delays?"

HB 1622 would allow licensed medical marijuana patients or their designated caregivers to possess up to two mature marijuana plants and twelve immature plants or seedlings. Patients and caregivers would be required to report their cultivation locations to the Department of Health and Human Services, and they would lose their ability to cultivate once an alternative treatment center opens within 30 miles of their residence.

"If this bill passes, New Hampshire will continue to have one of the strictest medical marijuana laws in the nation," said Matt Simon, the Goffstown-based New England Political Director for the Marijuana Policy Project. "At least it will help those desperately ill patients who cannot wait any longer for legal access to medical marijuana."

WHAT: News conference and State Senate Committee hearing regarding HB 1622, which would allow licensed medical marijuana patients or caregivers to cultivate limited amounts of medical marijuana while the state develops a system of regulated alternative treatment centers

WHEN: Tuesday, April 8 — news conference at 10:30 a.m. ET; Senate committee hearing at 11 a.m. ET

WHERE: News conference in the lobby of the Legislative Office Building, 33 N. State St., Concord; Senate committee hearing in Room 103

WHO: Rep. Donald “Ted” Wright (R-Tuftonboro), sponsor of HB 1622

Matt Simon, New England Political Director for the Marijuana Policy Project

Frank Paine, Center Sandwich medical marijuana patient

Christine Lopez, Manchester medical marijuana patient

# # #

The Marijuana Policy Project, the nation’s largest marijuana policy organization, has been responsible for changing most state-level marijuana laws since 2000. For more information, visit http://www.MarijuanaPolicy.org.

Friday
Mar072014

MPP - Medical Marijuana Home Cultivation Bill Passes NH House

HB 1622 would allow licensed patients to cultivate up to two mature marijuana plants until an alternative treatment center opens near their residence

CONCORD — The New Hampshire House of Representatives approved a bill 227-73 on Thursday that will provide people who qualify for the state's medical marijuana program with legal access to medical marijuana while the state develops a system of regulated medical marijuana cultivation and distribution. The bill will now move to the Senate, where it will receive a public hearing.

HB 1622, sponsored by Rep. Donald “Ted” Wright (R-Tuftonboro), would allow licensed medical marijuana patients or their designated caregivers to possess up to two mature marijuana plants and twelve immature plants or seedlings. Patients and caregivers would be required to report their cultivation locations to the Department of Health and Human Services, and they would lose their ability to cultivate once an alternative treatment center opens within 30 miles of their residence.

“We applaud House members for continuing to stand up for people with debilitating conditions who could benefit from medical marijuana,” said Matt Simon, the Goffstown-based New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project, which supports the bill. “Seriously ill patients in New Hampshire have waited long enough for legal access to medical marijuana, and some simply cannot afford to wait any longer.”

HB 573, the bill that created New Hampshire’s medical marijuana law, was signed into law in July by Gov. Maggie Hassan. A provision allowing patients to cultivate their own marijuana was included in the version approved by the House, but it was removed by the Senate after Gov. Hassan threatened to veto the bill if it was included. The Department of Health and Human Services is not required to finalize its rules for authorizing alternative treatment centers until January 2015. If HB 1622 is not approved, patients are not expected to have legal access to medical marijuana until at least the summer of 2015.

“We hope the Senate will agree these people deserve to finally be protected from arrest in the ‘Live Free or Die’ state. Bills allowing home cultivation passed the Senate in 2009 and 2012, so we are optimistic senators will once again listen to the needs of patients in 2014.”

# # #

The Marijuana Policy Project, the nation’s largest marijuana policy organization, has been responsible for changing most state-level marijuana laws since 2000. For more information, visit http://www.MarijuanaPolicy.org.

Saturday
Feb222014

MPP - NH State Marijuana Regulators Urged to Protect Patients Now

State Regulators Urged to Disregard Attorney General’s Opinion and Protect New Hampshire Patients in 2014

 The attorney general’s office has advised the Department of Health and Human Services to delay issuing ID cards until alternative treatment centers are open, which would leave patients vulnerable to arrest for much longer than legislators intended

 

CONCORD — At a public meeting of the Therapeutic Use of Cannabis Advisory Council on Friday, advocates urged the Department of Health and Human Services to disregard a controversial advisory opinion from the attorney general’s office that would create a significant delay for patients who are desperately waiting for legal protections. In a memo dated February13, Senior Assistant Attorney General Michael Brown opined that the Department should delay issuing any patient ID cards until the alternative treatment center (ATC) regulations are finalized and the facilities are open.

HB 573, the bill that created New Hampshire’s medical marijuana law, was signed into law by Gov. Maggie Hassan on July 23, 2013. The Department is not required to finalize its rules for authorizing alternative treatment centers until January 2015. As a result, patients do not expect to have legal access to medical marijuana until the summer of 2015 at the earliest. Those who have been approved for the program and issued ID cards, however, would be protected from arrest in the interim.

Sen. John Reagan (R-Deerfield), a co-sponsor of HB 573, strongly objected to the advisory opinion. “The idea of forcing patients to wait until 2015 or later for legal protection is absurd and not at all what legislators intended when they approved HB 573,” he said. “These patients have already been waiting far too long for relief, and there's no good reason for any further delay.”

Matt Simon, New England Political Director for the Marijuana Policy Project, presented the council with a letter asking them to respect the intent of the legislature and to support protecting seriously ill patients from arrest as soon as possible. The full letter can be found at the end of this release.

# # #

The Marijuana Policy Project, the nation’s largest marijuana policy organization, has been responsible for changing most state-level marijuana laws since 2000. For more information, visit http://www.MarijuanaPolicy.org.

Friday
Feb212014

MPP - Medical Marijuana Access Bill Moves Forward 

Bill Allowing Patients Legal Access to Medical Marijuana Passes New Hampshire House Committee

HB 1622 would allow qualifying patients to cultivate up to two mature plants until an alternative treatment center opens near their residence

CONCORD — A bill that would allow qualifying patients to cultivate a limited amount of medical marijuana in New Hampshire was approved this morning in a 13-3 vote by the House Committee on Health, Human Services, and Elderly Affairs. The bill will be considered by the full House sometime in March.

Sponsored by Rep. Donald “Ted” Wright (R-Tuftonboro), HB 1622 was designed to provide safe, legal access for patients who can’t afford to continue waiting for the four alternative treatment centers that were authorized by New Hampshire’s “therapeutic use of cannabis” law. The bill would allow qualifying patients or their designated caregivers to possess up to two mature plants and twelve seedlings. The cultivation location would have to be reported to the Department of Health and Human Services, and patients would lose their ability to cultivate when an alternative treatment center opens within 30 miles of their residence.

“Patients and caregivers in Vermont and Maine have been cultivating their own marijuana legally for years with little controversy," said Matt Simon, the Goffstown-based New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project, which supports the bill. "The House has consistently supported patients who urgently need medical marijuana to treat their conditions, and in light of this excellent committee vote, we fully expect a strong House vote in favor of HB 1622.”

HB 573, the bill that created New Hampshire’s medical marijuana law, was signed into law by Gov. Maggie Hassan on July 23, 2013. However, a home cultivation provision included in the House-approved version was removed by the Senate following a veto threat. The Department of Health and Human Services is not required to finalize its rules for authorizing alternative treatment centers until January 2015. As a result, unless HB 1622 is enacted, patients do not expect to have legal access to their medicine under HB 573 until the summer of 2015 at the earliest.