After Lawmakers' OK, Marijuana Bill Goes To Lynch
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After Lawmakers' OK, Marijuana Bill Goes To Lynch
Posted by CN Staff on June 25, 2009 at 05:03:00 PT
By Kevin Landrigan, Staff Writer
Source: Nashua Telegraph
Concord, NH --  With little controversy, the New Hampshire Legislature sought to make this the 14th state to give the chronically ill access to marijuana to relieve their suffering.The House of Representatives approved the latest compromise late Wednesday, 232-108. The state Senate endorsed it, 14-10.
But the bill (HB 648) still faces its stiffest test from three-term Democratic Gov. John Lynch, who has yet to say whether he can accept a new compromise.Lynch told reporters his biggest concern was an earlier bill that made it too easy for residents to cultivate marijuana, a substance that would remain illegal to possess under federal criminal law."I will be reading it very carefully with that as my guide," Lynch said.Earlier this month, Lynch told legislative supporters that he would have vetoed a bill that allowed residents or designated caregivers to grow their own marijuana.House and Senate leaders spent the past three weeks trying to address the Lynch-cited shortcomings. The compromise would create three, nonprofit "compassion centers" where patients and caregivers could obtain marijuana.Sen. Peggy Gilmour, D-Hollis, had worked on the compromise and is a co-founder of the state's first hospice for the terminally ill."We have constructed the most restrictive law in the land," Gilmour said. "Our committee worked very hard to take every concern the governor had and try to ameliorate them."Rep. Cindy Rosenwald, D-Nashua, chaired the House-Senate working group that produced a rewritten bill. But Rep. David Hess, R-Hooksett, a former state prosecutor, said the bill makes it impossible for local law enforcement to report on illegal pot users to federal authorities."This legislation before us puts our local and state law enforcement officers in an impossible situation," Hess said. "It requires them to violate their oath to uphold the laws and regulations of the United States of America."He also quarreled with the fact that compassion centers had to be at least 500 feet from a school, only half the distance of federally designated drug-free school zones.State Rep. Daniel Eaton, D-Stoddard, said passing the bill is the humane thing to do."Sick individuals should be called patients and not criminals," Eaton said. "Our friends, our neighbors going through the darkest, most painful hours of their lives should be afforded the same compassion and relief as residents in 13 other states."Among issues Lynch and his staff raised were whether the definition of eligible patients was too broad, if there should be criminal background checks for all caregivers and if the bill compels landlords to rent to patients or caregivers who grow or possess marijuana.Under the bill, a person with a "debilitating medical condition" or designated caregiver could obtain up to two ounces of marijuana.Attorney General Kelly Ayotte and nine of the state's 10 county attorneys oppose the bill because possessing marijuana violates federal law.States that now allow medical marijuana include Maine, Rhode Island and Vermont.The compromise makes clear that it remains against the law to drive a car or boat under the influence of marijuana or to smoke in public and that no health insurer can be compelled to cover the cost of its use. Bill At a Glance:Bill No. HB 648Sponsor: Rep. Evalyn Merrick, D-Lancaster.Description: The original bill would have let patients and designated caregivers possess six plants and up to two ounces of useable marijuana to help with a “debilitating medical condition,” as long as it’s under the supervision of a physician.A person would have cultivated his or her own marijuana or receive it as a gift. For-profit sales would not have been permitted. A changed the bill in hopes of winning over support from Gov. John Lynch.A compromise of conference committee of House and Senate negotiators would not permit residents to grow marijuana. Instead, they would obtain it from up to three, nonprofit compassion centers. These outlets would obtain the marijuana from sites in the 13 states where it’s now legal for ill residents to use marijuana for medicinal purposes.Status: The New Hampshire Legislature approved the final bill and sent it to Gov. John Lynch, who declined to say Wednesday if he would accept it.  Source: Nashua Telegraph, The (Nashua, NH)Author: Kevin Landrigan, Staff WriterPublished: June 25, 2009Copyright: 2009 Telegraph Publishing CompanyContact: letters nashuatelegraph.comWebsite: http://www.nashuatelegraph.comURL: Article:Panel's Changes in MMJ Bill Face Concord Test Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #1 posted by dongenero on June 25, 2009 at 08:57:53 PT
how many between a patient and their medicine?
Requiring dispensaries is quite a cost burden to those patients who are capable of growing their own and who have time to do so.Some cancer and chemo patients of course need immediate supply and do not have months to wait for a crop. I think both models should be adopted. Patient grown and dispensaries or licensed providers. Then, those that have long term needs can reduce their costs and those with immediate need can obtain what they require quickly.
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