N.H. poll shows strong public support for legalizing and regulating marijuana
According to a new WMUR Granite State Poll released October 25, 60% of New Hampshire adults support HB 492, a bill to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol.
Despite this strong showing of public support for the measure, the New Hampshire House of Representatives Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee recently voted 11-7 against recommending the passage of HB 492. The bill is modeled on the ballot initiative passed by Colorado voters last November and would allow adults 21 and older to cultivate up to six plants for personal use, in addition to creating a system for taxing and regulating the cultivation, production, and sale of marijuana.
Bill sponsor Rep. Steve Vaillancourt (R-Manchester) has vowed to continue pushing the legislation by fighting the committee recommendation on the House floor. The House is expected to vote on the bill sometime during the first three days of the 2014 legislative session.
Please ask your legislators to support HB 492 when the legislature reconvenes in January.
Gov. Hassan signs bill; N.H. becomes 19th state to pass medical marijuana law
On July 23, 2013, Gov. Maggie Hassan signed a bill allowing seriously ill New Hampshire residents to use marijuana for medical purposes. Unfortunately, before doing so, she insisted on several changes, which included gutting the affirmative defense provisions, removing PTSD from the list of conditions, and requiring written permission from property owners or tenants before patients may use marijuana on private property. A summary of the bill is available here.
MPP and other advocates’ and legislative champions’ work on this bill did not stop with Gov. Hassan’s signature. We are closely monitor the rulemaking and implementation processes, and we're doing our best to make sure the program is implemented as swiftly and responsibly as possible. We will also support legislation to improve the law.
MPP's Matt Simon and former Rep. Evalyn Merrick — who sponsored medical marijuana legislation — after the signing of HB 573.
House passes bill reducing penalties, considers several other marijuana policy reform bills in 2013
Gov. Hassan has said she opposes any form of marijuana decriminalization, but that didn’t stop the House from considering three bills that would have reduced or eliminated possession penalties in 2013.
HB 621, as amended, would have reduced the penalty for possessing less than one ounce of marijuana to a violation punishable by a fine of up to $200. HB 621 passed the House by a decisive 214-115 margin March 21. Sadly, the Senate Judiciary Committee once again voted the bill “inexpedient to legislate” in a 5-0 vote.
HB 492, as discussed above, would legalize personal cultivation and possession of marijuana for adults 21 and over and regulate it like alcohol. Although the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee recommended against its passage, the bill will get a floor vote in January. Ask your legislators to support it!
Finally, HB 337 would have entirely removed marijuana from the New Hampshire criminal code. The bill received 112 votes in the House, losing 239-112.
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