Where Do Members of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee Stand on Medical Cannabis Home Cultivation?
New Hampshire’s medical cannabis home cultivation bill, HB 350, passed the House on February 24 with no discussion or debate after being approved 20-1 by the House Committee on Health, Human Services, and Elderly Affairs. It has been scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on March 17 beginning at 9:45 a.m. You can indicate your support to the committee or sign up to testify at the hearing using the Senate’s remote sign-in sheet.
Here is an overview of how the five senators on that committee have voted on previous medical cannabis bills.
Color code: Supportive Maybe Opposed
Chairman: Sen. Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro) vocally supported medical cannabis legislation in 2012 and 2013 and voted yes on those bills. Sadly, although he had supported a bill allowing home cultivation of medical cannabis in 2012 (SB 409), he voted against medical cannabis home cultivation bills as a member of the Senate Health Committee in 2019 (HB 364) and 2020 (SB 420). Email: Jeb.Bradley@leg.state.nh.us Office phone: 603-271-3479
Vice-chair: Sen. James Gray (R-Rochester) opposed medical cannabis home cultivation bills as a member of the Senate Health Committee in 2019 (HB 364) and 2020 (SB 420). He seems unlikely to change his mind, but it can’t hurt to try. Email: James.Gray@leg.state.nh.us Office phone: 603-271-3092
Sen. Thomas Sherman (D-Rye) voted yes on the medical cannabis bill in 2013 as a member of the House. In 2019, he voted yes on the medical cannabis home cultivation bill (HB 364) and spoke on the Senate floor in favor. In 2020 he voted yes on SB 420. Note: Sen. Sherman is a medical doctor and served as chair of this committee when Democrats held the majority. Email: Tom.Sherman@leg.state.nh.us Office phone: 603-271-7875
Sen. Rebecca Whitley (D-Concord) expressed support for allowing adults 21 and older to cultivate their own cannabis as a candidate in 2020 (she was not asked about medical cannabis). This is her first year serving in the legislature. Email: Becky.Whitley@leg.state.nh.us Office phone: 603-271-3092
Sen. Kevin Avard (R-Nashua) voted yes on a medical cannabis home cultivation bill (SB 409) as a member of the House in 2012, but he voted no on a medical cannabis home cultivation bill (HB 472) as a member of the Senate Health Committee in 2017. After the committee vote, he said “I think the timing right now is part of the issue.” When asked by another senator to explain his comment, he replied, “During an opiate crisis, it’s still very difficult.” He was defeated in the 2018 election and regained his seat in the 2020 election. Email: Kevin.Avard@leg.state.nh.us Office phone: 603-271-3077
Finally, it should be noted that Gov. Chris Sununu vetoed a similar bill (HB 364) in 2019. If advocates can’t convince him to evolve and support HB 350, it will be very difficult to override his potential veto. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Office phone: 603-271-2121