Proposals for Marijuana Legalization in N.H.

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  Proposals for Marijuana Legalization in N.H.

Posted by CN Staff on February 19, 2013 at 05:22:55 PT
By Sarah Palermo 
Source: Concord Monitor  

New Hampshire -- State lawmakers filed bills promoting a wide range of marijuana legalization this session, bills that have received widely varying reactions. At one end, a bill with broad support would allow people with certain chronic illnesses to use marijuana. At the other, a bill treats the cannabis plant like any cultivated vegetable or herb. Gov. Maggie Hassan supports allowing regulated access to medical marijuana “with controlled and limited dispensing,” but does not support legalization or decriminalization, according to her spokesman, Marc Goldberg.
Former governor John Lynch vetoed medical marijuana bills in 2009 and 2012. The medical marijuana bill currently in the House Health, Human Services, and Elderly Affairs Committee has 14 sponsors: six Democrats and eight Republicans, including four senators. The bill is due for its first hearing Thursday. It would allow patients with a professional diagnosis of cancer, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, hepatitis C, ALS, muscular dystrophy, Crohn’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease or multiple sclerosis to possess up to 2 ounces of marijuana.The bill would also allow registered distributors to possess up to 192 plants and seedlings plus 32 ounces of usable marijuana. The House Criminal Justice and Public Safety committee heard six hours of testimony last Thursday on three bills that would loosen regulations on marijuana possession for all, not just those with certain medical needs. Rep. Mark Warden, a Manchester Republican, seeks to erase all criminal penalties for marijuana possession from state law. It’s a move he called “the tomatoes bill.” “It’s a purist approach, because we’re seeking to allow people to grow marijuana as they would tomatoes or roses in their backyard, and return the use of it to a personal choice,” he said. He doubts the criminal justice committee will recommend the bill, but noted a positive side effect. “It does make some of the other bills look more palatable,” he said, “but was not my intention at all. I wanted to have the conversation, the debate about cannabis and people’s free choices.” In the middle, two bills seek different levels of relaxation of current laws and penalties. Rep. Kyle Tasker, a Nottingham Republican, is the sole sponsor of a bill that would turn possession of an ounce or less of marijuana into a violation, instead of a crime. It was a crime when he was arrested at age 17. “Your world goes upside down, your plans for the future go upside down,” he said. “It was the first time I really quantified that your freedom is only as much as they want to give you,” he said. “It doesn’t matter how free you think you are, it’s quantified by the government.” A $1,500 lawyer and a $600 fine later, “I didn’t learn a whole lot except not to get caught,” he said. Now 28, he says the arrest is what spurred him into politics, with the goal of staying in office until the state eased prohibition. “We’ve got high school kids with a criminal record indefinitely because they don’t do enough to annul it. Everyone wants to do medical marijuana because you want to help the sick people,” he said. “I’m just looking to carve out a little bubble for regular people possessing less than an ounce.” Under his bill, possession of an ounce or less of marijuana would result in a $100 fine, plus parental notification for a minor. A judge also would have the option of mandating a minor complete community service, a drug awareness program or both. The fourth bill, sponsored by Rep. Steve Vaillancourt, a Manchester Republican, legalizes possession of up to one ounce by people ages 21 and older, creates a license to sell marijuana and proposes a tax on the sale of the drug. The Criminal Justice and Public Safety committee has been talking in recent years about the cost of the prison system and the high rate of recidivism, Warden said, calling Vaillancourt’s bill “maybe a start of a different approach, an approach that is humane and tolerant and focused on education and rehabilitation rather than punishment.” Vaillancourt could not be reached for comment, but in a blog post Friday, he cited a poll showing more than half of New Hampshire residents support some type of decriminalization. “We never like to legislate based on poll results, but it sure makes it easier when we can at last say that public opinion is on the side of legalization, and more so all the time,” he wrote. Vaillancourt also wrote that most law enforcement officials who testified Thursday disagree with the proposals. The New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police spoke against all three of the decriminalization bills, and the medical marijuana proposal. “I still believe that it still kills brain cells. . . and we still believe that the use of marijuana is a gateway drug to more harsh drugs, cocaine and heroin and other stuff on the market,” said David Cahill, chief of the Sunapee Police Department and legislative representative for the chiefs’ association. “I don’t think there’s any one of us who wouldn’t say it probably helps people feel better and deal with pain, but it’s not curing cancer, it’s not curing arthritis, it’s not curing any other disabilities. . . . We would support anything the FDA did case studies on and has findings that say it’s good, it works, let’s do it,” he said. “That hasn’t happened and there’s reasons for that.” Source: Concord Monitor (NH)Author: Sarah PalermoPublished: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 Copyright: 2013 Monitor Publishing CompanyContact: letters cmonitor.comURL: http://www.concordmonitor.comCannabisNews -- Cannabis Archives 

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Comment #8 posted by jetblackchemist on February 23, 2013 at 19:08:29 PT
David Cahill, chief of the Sunapee Police Department...there's a reason that the FDA has not reviewed studies of cannabis, it is a schedule I substance, placed there at the behest of Richard Nixon; not by facts or studies. As a schedule I substance; therapeutic study is not allowed.The FDA approves many drugs that kill every year; cannabis has never caused a single death. I have over an 180 IQ, I graduated college with a 3.98 in engineering, I smoked every day and practically all day, when I was in college. Not now, 20 years later...I have too much to lose because of; these draconian unbalanced laws in my state, alcohol is much worse in every way; but still legal nonetheless.The gateway theory has been studied; and found to be a fallacy by the way. I find it amazing that many of those sworn in to uphold a law, like yourself; know nothing about what they are upholding as least you have to find it incredulous; that murderers, rapists, molesters etc. serve less time; and get a revolving door policy because jails and prisons are filled with non violent crime arrests.I would hope any law enforcement that reads this; takes it upon themselves to educate themselves and each other, on issues in their field instead of echo fallacies...that make people assault you with attacks questioning your intelligence. Good day and be safe out there.
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Comment #7 posted by Paul Pot on February 21, 2013 at 00:03:05 PT:
Separation of powers
What lying scumbags the cops are. 
Cops should not be able to influence legislation. 
They are literally writing their own job specs.
They work for us not the other way around.
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Comment #6 posted by disvet13 on February 19, 2013 at 19:05:11 PT:
the reason behind that
the fda hasn't done any studies. brilliant. why is that? control and money. it doesn't cure cancer? watch rick simpsons hemp oil cure. if it don't cure it, it sure looks healing to me. it sure seems to be the pain med cancer victims want the most. it doesn't cure arthritis? given a choice, with over 36 years of total body damage and ptsd while serving honorably and with good conduct in hell i choose marijuana and my guns. i'm sick to death of politicians and lawyers lawurinating so they can reinvent government. 
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Comment #4 posted by Hope on February 19, 2013 at 11:13:27 PT

Rep. Kyle Tasker
More power to him!Chief Cahill. Think, man. Think!
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Comment #3 posted by schmeff on February 19, 2013 at 09:33:12 PT

David Cahill is proof that a functioning brain is not required to become a police officer."’s not curing cancer, it’s not curing arthritis, it’s not curing any other disabilities...", so Police Chief Cahill is against it (cannabis).One could point out that aspirin doesn't cure any disease, and that insulin doesn't cure diabetes. If the big brain of Chief Cahill knows what DOES cure cancer or arthritis, he's not sharing it with us, but presumably he's against the billions of dollars that millions of people spend to treat cancer and arthritis. Leaps of logic do not occur amongst the synapses of Cahill's atrophied brain cells, and if David Cahill wasn't too stupid to realize how poorly his own brain functions, one might understand his concern about the possibility of killing brain cells.
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Comment #2 posted by The GCW on February 19, 2013 at 06:16:51 PT

Looks promising for New Ham
The old Gov. vetoed. The New Gov. is good.At the very least, medical cannabis is probably coming to New Hampshire. 
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on February 19, 2013 at 05:23:59 PT

The Tomatoes Bill
That sounds great to me! 
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