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Entries in MPP (32)

Thursday
Apr102014

MPP - UNH Poll: Support Up for Marijuana Legalization in NH 

New Granite State Poll Shows Growing Majority of New Hampshire Adults Support Making Marijuana Legal and Regulating It Like Alcohol; Three Out of Five Support the Decriminalization Bill Currently Moving Through the State Legislature 

UNH-WMUR survey finds 55% think marijuana possession should be legal — up from 53% in 2013 — and 61% support HB 1625, which would reduce the penalty for possession of limited amounts of marijuana to a $100 civil fine

CONCORD — The annual WMUR Granite State Poll released Wednesday by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center shows a growing majority of New Hampshire adults support making marijuana legal and regulating it like alcohol.

The survey found 55% percent support making possession of small amounts of marijuana legal in New Hampshire — up from 53% in 2013 — and 67% approve of marijuana being sold in licensed retail outlets and taxed at levels similar to alcohol if marijuana possession becomes legal.

"Marijuana prohibition has been an ineffective and wasteful policy," said Matt Simon, the Goffstown-based New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. "Voters are increasingly becoming fed up with it, and they're ready to replace it with a more sensible system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol."

The poll also found that three out of five New Hampshire adults (61%) support House Bill 1625, a measure approved by the State House of Representatives and now being considered by the Senate that would reduce the penalty for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana to a $100 civil fine. Currently, possession of any amount of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000. New Hampshire is the only state in New England that treats simple marijuana possession as a criminal offense with the potential for jail time. 

"Using taxpayer dollars to criminalize people for marijuana possession is not a popular idea in New Hampshire," Simon said. "How can anyone defend a law that subjects people to potentially life-altering criminal penalties simply for using a less harmful substance than alcohol? It’s irrational, it's counterproductive, and it's time for it to change."

The poll of 510 randomly selected New Hampshire adults was conducted March 24-April 1 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3%. The entire poll is available at http://cola.unh.edu/survey-center/most-granite-staters-support-changes-states-marijuana-laws-4914.

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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.

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

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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.

Wednesday
Mar192014

MPP - Marijuana Bill Moves Forward in New Hampshire House 

Bill to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Moves Forward to New Hampshire House of Representatives

Legislation to end marijuana prohibition and establish a legal market for businesses to sell marijuana to adults 21 and older amended by House Ways and Means Committee today

CONCORD — The New Hampshire House Ways and Means Committee adopted an amendment Tuesday on HB 492, a bill that would regulate marijuana similarly to alcohol. The amendment, which would simplify the tax structure and improve regulations for the legal marijuana industry, was approved by a subcommittee earlier this morning in a 5-0 vote. The Ways and Means Committee voted 14-5 to adopt the subcommittee’s amendment, and then it voted 14-5 to recommend that the House not pass the bill.

The House of Representatives already approved HB 492 once, in January, after overturning a similarly negative recommendation from the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. The bill will now return to the full House for a second vote. If approved, it will then be considered by the state Senate. 

Rep. Frank Sapareto (R-Derry), a member of the subcommittee, said he was very pleased with the committee’s adoption of the amendment: "We have developed what will be a workable and responsible system of regulating marijuana in New Hampshire."

He added: "New Hampshire has effectively regulated the production and sale of alcohol, and there is no reason why we cannot capitalize on that experience to effectively regulate the production and sale of marijuana."

HB 492, introduced by Rep. Steve Vaillancourt (R-Manchester) with a bipartisan group of four co-sponsors, would make the private possession and home growing of limited amounts of marijuana legal for adults 21 and older. It would direct the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration and other state agencies to license and regulate marijuana retail stores, cultivation facilities, product manufacturing facilities, and testing facilities. As amended by the committee, it would place a $60/ounce wholesale tax on cultivators, and vertical integration would be prohibited. Cultivators, product manufacturing facilities, marijuana testing facilities, and retail marijuana stores would be separately licensed and regulated.

"Members of the committee should be congratulated for seriously considering how best to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol in the Granite State," said Matt Simon, the New Hampshire-based New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project, which lobbied in support of the bill. "Even with a negative recommendation, this thoughtful amendment will make it much more likely that the bill will receive continued support from the rest of the legislature. We are optimistic that New Hampshire lawmakers will recognize that their constituents do not want to see adults arrested for using a substance that is safer than alcohol.”

Sixty percent of New Hampshire adults support HB 492, according to a WMUR Granite State Poll released in October by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center. Just 36% said they are opposed. The entire poll is available at http://cola.unh.edu/sites/cola.unh.edu/files/research_publications/gsp2013_fall_gastaxpot102513.pdf.

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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.

Thursday
Mar132014

MPP - Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Passes NH House

New Hampshire House Approves Bill to Remove Criminal Penalties for Marijuana Possession

Measure with bipartisan support would replace criminal penalties and potential jail time with a civil fine of up to $100 for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana

 

CONCORD — The New Hampshire House of Representatives approved a bill 215-92 on Wednesday that would remove criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana. The strong bipartisan support for the bill indicates the measure could withstand a veto from Gov. Maggie Hassan, who has expressed disapproval for such legislation despite broad public support. The bill will now go to the Senate, where it will be scheduled for a public hearing.

"This is a big step toward reducing the harms caused by marijuana prohibition," said Matt Simon, the Goffstown-based New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project, which is supporting the bill. "New Hampshire residents are sick and tired of seeing their tax dollars used to criminalize people for using a substance that is safer than alcohol. The Senate and Gov. Hassan should join the House and the majority of state voters in supporting this sensible reform."

HB 1625, sponsored by Rep. Adam Schroadter (R-Newmarket) and a bipartisan group of seven co-sponsors including Sen. Jeff Woodburn (D-Dalton), would make possession of up to one ounce of marijuana punishable by a civil fine of up to $100. It would also make cultivation of up to six plants a Class A misdemeanor instead of a felony. Currently, possession of any amount of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000. New Hampshire is the only state in New England that treats simple marijuana possession as a criminal offense with the potential for jail time. 

New Hampshire spends more than $6.5 million enforcing marijuana possession laws every year, according to a report released by the ACLU last year. Marijuana arrests account for more than half of all drug offenses in the Granite State.

"Every other state in New England has ended the needless and antiquated practice of criminalizing people for marijuana possession," Simon said. "It's time for New Hampshire to join them and adopt a more sensible marijuana policy."

According to a survey conducted in January 2013 by Public Policy Polling, 62% of New Hampshire voters support replacing the state's current criminal penalties for marijuana possession with a fine of up to $100 and no jail time. Only 27% said they were opposed. The full results of the poll are available at http://www.mpp.org/states/new-hampshire/2013NewHampshireResults.pdf.

Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have removed the threat of jail for possession of marijuana, including Colorado and Washington, where marijuana is now legal for adults 21 and older. Twelve other states are currently considering legislation to reduce marijuana penalties to only a fine.

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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.”

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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.