New Hampshire

Medical marijuana by state.

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New Hampshire

Postby palmspringsbum » Tue Dec 12, 2006 4:18 pm

The Marijuana Policy Project wrote:<span class=postbold>Drug War Chronicle</span> - world’s leading drug policy newsletter

Job Opportunity: MPP New Hampshire Medical Marijuana Campaign

from Drug War Chronicle, Issue #464, 12/8/06

The Marijuana Policy Project is hiring a campaign manager to run Granite Staters for Medical Marijuana (GSMM), MPP's year-long effort to influence the presidential candidates to take positive positions on medical marijuana during the presidential primary campaign in New Hampshire. The position is based in New Hampshire, begins in early 2007 (no later than April) and will terminate after the January 2008 New Hampshire primary. Salary is $40,000 to $60,000, depending on experience. Benefits are negotiable.

The campaign manager must have excellent oral and written communication skills, an understanding of politics and public policy, and experience working with reporters and doing media interviews. In addition, the campaign manager must be highly organized, energetic, a hands-on manager, and able to work the long hours that a campaign requires.

Campaign experience -- particularly experience working for a candidate or on statewide field programs -- is strongly preferred.

The campaign manager is responsible for executing the campaign's field plan and directly overseeing all field operations, including:
<ul class=postlist>
<li>Recruiting, organizing, and managing a volunteer workforce of perhaps several hundred people throughout the state;</li>

<li>Ensuring that the candidates are asked for their positions on medical marijuana at every available opportunity, with the goal of garnering public statements on the issue; </li>

<li>Coordinating a campaign presence at candidate forums in the state, including volunteers with signs outside and volunteers inside asking the candidates questions; </li>

<li>Directly lobbying campaign staffers and providing candidates with documentation on the medical benefits of marijuana;</li>

<li>Acting as spokesperson for media interviews, pitching stories to reporters, and generating positive news coverage;</li>

<li>Writing a weekly e-newsletter for campaign volunteers; and</li>

<li>Writing and issuing news releases every time a candidate issues or changes his or her position on medical marijuana.</li>
</ul>
While MPP's headquarters in Washington, DC will be able to provide a small amount of staff support for the campaign's activities, ultimately the campaign manager is responsible for executing all aspects of the campaign. The campaign manager will report to MPP's director of government relations in DC, who reports to MPP's executive director in DC. Visit http://www.mpp.org/jobs/process.html for information on applying for the campaign manager position.

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Marijuana could be a fresh revenue source, MARK FULLER, Conc

Postby palmspringsbum » Sun Dec 31, 2006 1:35 pm

The Concord Monitor wrote:Article published Dec 18, 2006


Marijuana could be a fresh revenue source,
MARK FULLER, Concord - Letter


The Concord Monitor


I compliment Annmarie Timmins on her report about the seizure of the large-scale marijuana-growing operation.

I am concerned about comments by Attorney General Kelly Ayotte and Drug Enforcement agent Stansbury. Ayotte said the bust will have a significant impact on the drug trade across New England. Stansbury said you cannot put a price on the lives destroyed by drug dealing.

If marijuana is worth $280 per ounce, $28 million worth of marijuana was meant to supply about 100,000 people with an ounce each. Are we to expect that 100,000 people will look elsewhere for a substitute? No, if those consumers are driven the way consumers of other commodities are, they will simply seek another supply.

The drug trade involves the illegal distribution of mind-altering chemical substances such as marijuana. Alcohol is the worst of them all. Yet legal measures are made for the manufacture, distribution and consumption of alcohol.

The property owners were participating in an industry that is forced underground. Marijuana is a weed. Tobacco is a weed. Alcohol is a poison.

This bust is one small example of a large amount of revenue that is untaxed. People who grow pumpkins must pay their taxes. Growing marijuana is like growing corn or tobacco. It is pointless not to bring marijuana into conformity with the controls for other products - coffee, tea, tobacco, alcohol.
Growing and smoking marijuana is a nonviolent activity. For many people, smoking it brings relief from pain and stress. It is a natural alternative to synthetic drugs for the treatment of certain serious medical conditions.

What will we do with $28 million worth of pot? We could fire the steam plant for five minutes, but how about financing education and health care?

The restrictions that outlaw growing and smoking marijuana are absurd.

MARK FULLER

Concord



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Legalize pot? I'm not holding my breath

Postby palmspringsbum » Thu Jan 18, 2007 4:24 pm

The Concord Monitor wrote:Article published Jan 18, 2007

<span class=postbold>Letter</span>


Legalize pot? I'm not holding my breath

Bruce M. Carleton Jr., Henniker
For the Monitor
The Concord Monitor

<b>Re "Bill aims to legalize marijuana use" (Monitor, Jan. 16):</b>

It won't happen - not with the mindset of our "leaders."

The History Channel has shown and re-shown the story of marijuana and how it came to be illegal. Do congressmen ever watch TV (other than football)? Those who would rule us should be required to watch educational TV now and then and maybe read a book or two about the real world.

Why is it, Mister Lawmaker, that you won't even allow medical researchers to study marijuana? What kind of evil do you think is in that flower anyway?

I've done a lot of research into drugs. I've never heard of anyone dying, becoming ill or losing their minds and going starkers from eating or smoking marijuana. And how many people lie bleeding in the road at this very moment because of your drug of choice?

Apart from the many humane reasons that exist, legalizing pot will bring down the price. You can tax it and pay for education. The police and courts will be able to concentrate on important things, like actual crime.

Legalization would give millions of Americans reason to believe you guys are people, too. That alone should be a reason to consider it. The way you guys are running things, you need all the friends you can get.
I have a personal stake in this bill. I have a condition listed on various marijuana bills. But it should be legal for healthy people, too.

I am a peace lover and do not steal from or harm anyone. I am, if anything, a benefit to society. There are many more like me. Would you arrest us all for the crime of trying to feel good while we explore our minds?

Legalizing marijuana might help some people get away from the drugs that really are harmful.

BRUCE M. CARLETON Jr.

Henniker



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Lawmakers will hear bill that would legalize marijuana

Postby palmspringsbum » Thu Jan 18, 2007 4:33 pm

The Concord Monitor wrote:Lawmakers will hear bill that would legalize marijuana

January 18, 2007
The Concord Monitor

CONCORD, N.H. --Using and selling marijuana would be legal under a bill debated by state legislators.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Charles Weed of Keene, told colleagues Wednesday that legalizing marijuana would give police more resources to tackle violent crime.

He also said that existing laws governing marijuana are too harsh and lead to users being jailed with people who use or sell much more dangerous drugs, such as cocaine and heroin.

"If people are convicted for soft-drug use, they're in a problem for the rest of their lives," Weed, a Democrat, told the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee.

The bill is co-sponsored by two Republicans: Rep. Steve Vaillancourt, of Manchester, and Rep. Paul Ingbretson, of Pike. Weed and Ingbretson are also sponsoring bills to legalize medical marijuana use and allow farmers to grow industrial hemp, which is not a drug.

Vaillancourt called marijuana possession a "victimless crime" and said the drug is less harmful than legal substances such as alcohol and tobacco.

However, even some advocates said the bill goes too far. Matt Simon, a spokesman for the Coalition for Common Sense Marijuana Policy, said it should be amended, although the group is collecting signatures in support of the bill.

"The way it is now, you could grow a field of marijuana, drive it across into Massachusetts," he said. "This is a place to start the discussion of what the best way is to change the policies."

Similar proposals have failed before. The attorney general's office and state health officials oppose the bill, along with groups representing police chiefs and county sheriffs.

State police Maj. David Kelly said marijuana use often leads to people trying harder drugs. "Decriminalization will come at the expense of society, of public safety, of children and of you," he said.

Simon Brown, head of the attorney general's criminal justice bureau, said police resources would be further stretched by legalization, not decreased, as supporters argued. He also said marijuana use has been shown by researchers to impair driving and can even lead to violence.

But police Officer Bradley Jardis, speaking on behalf of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a national group the supports legalization of marijuana, questioned the link to violence.

"In my experience, I've never gone to a fight call or domestic violence call where it's only because of marijuana," he said.

He also cited federal statistics showing that marijuana use has never been a primary cause of death.

State Health and Human Services offficials say about 10 percent of state residents use marijuana, with higher numbers among teenagers and young adults.

------

Information from: Concord Monitor, http://www.cmonitor.com

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Locals frown on bill to legalize marijuana

Postby palmspringsbum » Sun Jan 21, 2007 4:21 pm

The Eagle-Tribune wrote:Published: January 21, 2007 12:00 am

Locals frown on bill to legalize marijuana

By Gordon Fraser , Staff writer
Eagle-Tribune



A proposal to decriminalize marijuana in New Hampshire is getting an icy reception from local lawmakers and officials.

"I wouldn't support it," said Sen. Mike Downing, R-Salem.

"Will it make my job easier? No," said Salem prosecutor Robert Prince.

"Marijuana is a stepping-stone drug, so obviously, from a law-enforcement perspective, we would be against legalizing," said Kingston police Chief Donald Briggs.

And the list goes on.

"I'm not sure that's the kind of atmosphere we'd want to encourage in this state," said Rep. John Gleason, R-Derry.

"If it's the same bill that I've seen before, I voted against it," said Rep. Anthony DiFrucia, R-Salem.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Charles Weed, D-Keene, told colleagues in the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee last week that taking marijuana out of drug-enforcement statutes would give police more resources to tackle violent crime.

He also said that existing laws governing marijuana use are too harsh and lead users to being jailed with people who use or sell much more dangerous drugs, like cocaine or heroin.

Rep. Bob Fesh, R-Derry, sits on the committee hearing the bill. He doesn't think the proposal will get very far.

"I voted against this last term," Fesh said, adding that he doesn't expect the bill will even make it out of committee.

But Weed, a professor of political science at Keene State College, thinks his proposal could fare better this year than similar proposals have in the past.

First, there's a Democratic majority this year. But, perhaps more importantly, some members of the law-enforcement community are speaking out in favor of it.

Police Officer Bradley Jardis, speaking on behalf of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a national group that supports the legalization of marijuana, testified that prosecuting marijuana offenders, who are typically nonviolent, does more harm than good.

"In my experience, I've never gone to a fight call or domestic violence call where it's only because of marijuana," he said.

But Weed - who is co-sponsoring his proposal with Republican Reps. Steve Vaillancourt of Manchester and Paul Ingbretson of Pike - said he realizes there are real obstacles to overcome in convincing people that marijuana shouldn't be illegal.

"I think it's very hard to change people's minds, and I think it's probably been 60 or 70 years that (messages about the dangers of marijuana) were drilled into them," he said.

Weed and Ingbretson also are sponsoring bills to legalize medical marijuana use and allow farmers to grow industrial hemp, which is not a drug.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Washington should leave potheads alone

Postby palmspringsbum » Thu Feb 15, 2007 11:16 pm

The Union-Leader wrote:
John Stossel: Washington should leave potheads alone

By JOHN STOSSEL
The Union-Leader
Sunday, Feb. 4, 2007

TWO WEEKS AGO, U.S. drug agents launched raids on 11 medical-marijuana centers in Los Angeles County. The U.S. attorney's office says they violated the laws against cultivation and distribution of marijuana.

Whatever happened to America's federal system, which recognized the states as "laboratories of democracy"?

According to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, 11 states (Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington) have eliminated the penalties for physician-approved possession of marijuana by seriously ill patients. In those states people with AIDS and other catastrophic diseases may either grow their own marijuana or get it from registered dispensaries.

But the U.S. government says its drug laws trump the states' laws, and in 2005, the Supreme Court agreed.

This is not the way it was supposed to work. The constitutional plan presented in the Federalist Papers delegated only a few powers to the federal government, with the rest reserved to the states. The system was hailed for its genius. Instead of having decisions made in the center -- where errors would harm the entire country -- most policies would be determined in a decentralized environment. A mistake in California would affect only Californians. New Yorkers, Ohioans, and others could try something else. Everyone would learn and benefit from the various experiments.

It made a lot of sense. It still does. Too bad the idea is being tossed on the trash heap by big-government Republicans and their DEA goons.

Drug prohibition -- like alcohol prohibition -- is a silly idea, as the late free-market economist Milton Friedman often pointed out. Something doesn't go away just because the government decrees it illegal. It simply goes underground. Then a black market creates worse problems. Since sellers cannot rely on police to protect their property, they arm themselves, form gangs, charge monopoly prices, and kill their competitors. Buyers steal to pay the high prices.

Alcohol prohibition in the 1920s gave America Al Capone and organized crime. Drug prohibition has given us South American and Asian cartels that finance terrorism. Even the government admits that the heroin trade bankrolls terrorists. Prohibition's exorbitant black-market prices make that possible. In the United States, drug prohibition spawns gangs that are sometimes better armed than the police. Drug prohibition does more harm than drugs.

The war on drugs hasn't even accomplished what it promised to do. Drugs are abundant and cheaper than ever. "ABC News" reported last month, "marijuana is the U.S.'s most valuable crop. The report, 'Marijuana Production in the United States,' by marijuana policy researcher Jon Gettman, concludes that despite massive eradication efforts at the hands of the federal government, 'marijuana has become a pervasive and ineradicable part of the national economy.'"

The destructive failure of the drug war is why it makes so much sense to let states experiment, which 11 of them have done with medical marijuana.

Legalizing only medical marijuana brings its own problems. For one thing, it invites state authorities to monitor the practice of medicine to make sure doctors don't prescribe pot promiscuously.

But government officials shouldn't be the judges of what is and isn't medicine. That should be left to medical researchers, doctors, and patients. The effectiveness of medicine is too dependent on individual circumstances and biochemistry. One size does not fit all, so politicians and bureaucrats should butt out.

More fundamentally, why should only people whom the state defines as sick be able to use marijuana?

Despite my reservations about medical marijuana, the states' experimentation is still better than a brutal federal one-size-fits-all crackdown. There is no role here for the federal government.

If the people of a state want to experiment by loosening drug prohibition, that should be their right.

Washington should mind its own business. The feds and rest of us should watch. We might learn something.

<small>John Stossel is co-anchor of ABC News' "20/20" and the author of <i>"Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity Get Out the Shovel -- Why Everything You Know is Wrong."</i></small>

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Romney hounded by marijuana advocate

Postby palmspringsbum » Sat Dec 15, 2007 7:45 pm

The Union Leader wrote:Romney hounded by marijuana advocate

<table class=posttable align=right width=425><tr><td class=postcell><object width="425" height="355"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/CO4zd6VEBK0&rel=1"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/CO4zd6VEBK0&rel=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="355"></embed></object></td></tr></table>by Faith Swymer, The Union Leader
October 26th, 2007


EXETER – Clayton Holdon said Mitt Romney's stance on medicinal marijuana is unclear, and the wheelchair-bound Dover resident said he will continue to bird dog the candidate across the state until he receives a sufficient answer.

Holdon, 22, said he suffers from a rare form of muscular dystrophy and has smoked marijuana since being hit by a car while crossing the street in his wheelchair at the age of 16. Holdon said he has asked John Edwards and Fred Thompson whether he should be arrested for smoking marijuana and has found only Romney to be difficult.

On Oct. 6 at a campaign stop at Dover, CNN filmed Holdon as he asked the question of the presidential candidate during a meet and greet, only to have Romney say he doesn't support legalizing marijuana. Romney then turned his back on Holdon, who was pleading with Romney to answer the question. The clip, which has received over 100,000 views on YouTube, has turned Holdon into a small celebrity.

Yesterday, at Romney's campaign stop at Phillips Exeter Academy, Holdon tried again.

Holding a "Governor, you haven't answered my question" homemade sign, he told the crowd of the clip and the response from Romney.

"I don't do any arresting," said Romney, who appeared uncomfortable, but reiterated his stance against legalizing marijuana.

"It's the opening gateway for drug use for many people in our country," he said.

Holdon said the answer was not clear.

"In so many ways, he'd say yes, he'd have me arrested," he said. "He has some very warped logic."

The clip made available on CNN.com was uploaded to YouTube by a pro-marijuana group called The Granitestaters. According to its website, the group is staffed and funded by the Marijuana Policy Project. It raises awareness for marijuana legalization and coordinates volunteers to push the issue at various campaign stops.


<span class=postbold>See Also</span>: 11 Oct 07 - Dear Mr. Romney, will you arrest me?

<span class=postbold>See Also</span>: 11 Oct 07 - Hazy Stances
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Bills would lessen penalties for marijuana

Postby palmspringsbum » Wed Jan 23, 2008 3:11 pm

The Concord Monitor wrote:State House

Bills would lessen penalties for marijuana

<span class=postbigbold>One seeks to reduce possession to violation </span>


The Concord Monitor
By SARAH LIEBOWITZ
Monitor staff
January 23, 2008

Two bills before state lawmakers aim to loosen marijuana penalties, lessening the punishments for possessing smaller amounts of the drug or doing away with any punishment altogether.

"None of the doom and gloom scenarios this bill's opponents may try to scare people with have ever come to pass following decriminalization," said Matt Simon, executive director of the New Hampshire Coalition for Common Sense Marijuana Policy, regarding a proposal to lessen criminal punishments for marijuana possession. "It's time to reduce marijuana penalties in New Hampshire."

Easing marijuana punishments has become a perennial cause at the State House, with some lawmakers making numerous attempts to legalize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes and diminish the legal consequences of possession. Last year, an effort to remove criminal penalties for marijuana possession and use failed.

Yesterday, backers of relaxed marijuana restrictions showed they're taking a different tack. Rather than legalize marijuana possession outright, one of the two bills before a House committee yesterday would make the penalty for possessing less than 1.25 ounces of marijuana a violation, rather than a misdemeanor. The violation could bring a fine of no more than $200.

The bill's supporters cast the proposal as a way to keep marijuana possession charges from blocking an individual's educational and vocational opportunities, and they distinguished marijuana from other forms of illegal drugs.

Those convicted of marijuana possession can "become ineligible for financial aid for college, cannot enlist in the armed services and can even lose eligibility for employment," Rep. Jeffrey Fontas, a Nashua Democrat and the bill's sponsor, said at a press conference before yesterday's public hearing. "This is a bill about protecting the opportunity for young people to grow up and be productive, fulfilling citizens in their communities."

Another bill - sponsored by Rep. Charles Weed, a Keene Democrat - would permit the possession of up to a quarter of an ounce of marijuana for medical or personal use. Weed also sponsored last year's proposal to legalize marijuana use and sales, a bill that went beyond what other states allows.

A subgroup of the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee will study the proposals.

But if yesterday's public hearing on reducing the penalties for marijuana possession drew more supporters than opponents, several law enforcement officials lined up against the proposed changes. The attorney general's office threw its weight against the measure. Karin Eckel, an attorney at the state Department of Justice, said that marijuana possession already carries a lesser penalty than possession of other illegal drugs. And Eckel deemed "troublesome" a portion of the bill that appears to eliminate the penalty for selling up to 1.25 ounces of marijuana.

And Peter Morency, president of the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police, described the issue in terms of crime, pointing to the high levels of crime that he said were drug-and-alcohol related. "We look at this as another step toward legitimizing or legalizing marijuana," Morency said.

But Bradley Jardis, who says he is a New Hampshire police officer and member of the group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (which promotes an end to drug prohibition), countered that argument, saying that alcohol users pose far more crime problems than marijuana users.

"In my time in law enforcement, I've been punched, kicked, choked, thrown on the ground, jumped on on the ground by people who drink alcohol," said Jardis, who declined to say where in New Hampshire he worked as an officer. "This has never happened, in my experience, with someone who just smoked marijuana.

"Criminalizing our kids, turning 16-year-olds into criminals for using a drug that in my opinion is far less dangerous than alcohol, which does nothing but ruin their lives," Jardis added.

Currently, possession of smaller amounts of marijuana is a misdemeanor. Individuals convicted of such possession can receive up to one year in prison and a $2,000 fine. Selling or cultivating marijuana carries far tougher penalties.

State lawmakers throughout the nation have been considering changes to marijuana penalties in recent years. Marijuana can be used for some medicinal purposes in 11 states, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

New Hampshire lawmakers last year rejected a proposal to allow people with debilitating illnesses to use marijuana for health purposes.

It's unclear how the marijuana-related proposals will fare in the Legislature.

But Simon is optimistic about the fate of the bill to make possession of smaller amounts of marijuana a violation, rather than a misdemeanor.

"Last year we supported a bill that was far more radical and we discussed what sort of things they would support," Simon said. "This is within the parameters of that."

------ End of article

By SARAH LIEBOWITZ

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Taking marijuana message out West

Postby palmspringsbum » Mon Feb 11, 2008 12:41 pm

Foster's Daily Democrat wrote:Article published Feb 7, 2008

Taking marijuana message out West:


<span class=postbigbold>MD victim heads to California to advocate</span>

<table class=posttable align=right width=250><tr><td class=postcell><img class=postimg src=bin/holton_clayton.jpg></td></tr><tr><td class=postcell><span class=postbold>Clayton Holton, 22, sits in his room at Riverside Rest Home in Dover. He left for California last week to speak and act on the legalization of medicinal marijuana.</span></td></tr></table>By JASON CLAFFEY
jclaffey@fosters.com

Foster's Daily Democrat
Thursday, February 7, 2008


MANCHESTER — The rare form of muscular dystrophy Clayton Holton suffers from has chipped away at his body to the point where he weighs 80 pounds — even though he's 6 feet, 2 inches tall.

Clayton has been in a wheelchair since he was 10. His disease, Duchenne's syndrome, has robbed him of his ability to walk, shriveled his arms to the size and shape of a baseball bat handle, and burrowed a 6-inch crater in the center of his chest.

One thing the disease hasn't eaten away at is his eyes. They're huge, blue, and full.

Holton boarded a plane to California from Manchester-Boston Regional Airport late last monthbecause he refused to die at the Riverside Rest Home in Dover, where the OxyContin he was taking caused him to lose more and more weight; where he'd sit around all day surrounded by people older than his grandparents; where, at 22, he was the youngest nursing home patient in the state of New Hampshire.

He would not die in that situation. He would not waste away to nothing.

Basically, Clayton went to California so he can legally smoke marijuana. He and his doctors say it's the only thing that alleviates his pain.

He doesn't smoke marijuana simply for recreational purposes. He says it takes away the pain in his chest and in his back. It takes away the fatigue from sitting in a wheelchair all day. It relaxes him. It makes him want to eat.

OxyContin doesn't do that for him. The drug, notorious for being abused on the street, takes away his appetite, gives him headaches, drains his energy, changes his personality. When he's on OxyContin, his eyes are red, his skin is white and he lies in bed for hours because he's so tired. He literally can't move. He doesn't want to be around people when he's on OxyContin. He can't eat anything. He's tried other drugs, like Vicodin and Percocet, and says both make him feel the same way.

Tim White, a doctor and medical marijuana advocate, heard about Clayton from Elizabeth Kucinich, the wife of former Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich. White paid for Clayton to fly to California and arranged for him to stay at a medical facility in Santa Barbara for the next eight months. Clayton plans on being a spokesman for a variety of medical marijuana groups while in California, where the drug is legal for medicinal purposes.

"I can't wait to get out of here. I need to get out of here," Clayton said from the nursing home two days before he left for California. "This is actually happening."

He smiled. So much has gone wrong in Clayton's short life — his parents divorced when he was young, he was hit by a car while crossing the street in his wheelchair when he was 16, he says he and his mother don't speak anymore — that going to California is one thing that's finally gone right.

<table class=posttable align=left width=250><tr><td class=postcell><img class=postimg src=bin/holton_clayton_2008.jpg></td></tr><tr><td class=postcell><span class=postbold>Clayton Holton, 22, sits in his room at Riverside Rest Home in Dover. He left for California last week to speak and act on the legalization of medicinal marijuana.</span></td></tr></table>The California trip was the culmination of a four-month personal campaign he started when he moved to Riverside. Medical marijuana is illegal in New Hampshire, and Clayton wanted to change that. He sent hundreds of e-mails to medical marijuana groups, presidential candidates, and anyone and everyone who he thought could help. He started a MySpace page. He posted videos of himself on YouTube.

He worked with Granite Staters for Medical Marijuana, and a representative drove him around New Hampshire to town hall meetings before the primary so he could ask presidential candidates about their position on medical marijuana. A now-famous clip of him challenging a flustered Mitt Romney was broadcast on CNN and posted on YouTube.

Clayton was supposed to meet with Dennis Kucinich, but the Ohio Congressman had to fly back to Washington the day he was scheduled to stop at the Riverside nursing home. Instead, Clayton got to meet his wife, Elizabeth, a tall, striking Englishwoman with movie-star looks. Clayton talked with her for an hour. It was one of the best days of his life.

Clayton went to the Kucinich campaign's New Year's party, and he has stayed in touch with Elizabeth over the past few weeks.

"She's the one behind all this," Clayton said of the California trip. "She's smart. She cares about people. She's an amazing woman."

At 8:30 a.m. Friday morning, the day Clayton went to the airport, his father, Brian, and his cousin picked him up at Riverside. Clayton was already packed and ready go, and the three of them quickly boarded the elevator. Before the doors shut, a nurse waved goodbye.

"See you later ... for the last time, hopefully," she said.

Brian hates that his son had to go to Riverside, but there was no other option. When Clayton left the home where he had been living, Brian couldn't care for him because his home isn't set up to accommodate Clayton and he has to work all the time to get out of debt.

Brian say he has tried to do the right thing for his son, visiting him at the nursing home and supporting his efforts to legalize medical marijuana. He understands that the drug alleviates his pain, and wishes New Hampshire would legalize it for medicinal use. He's proud that Clayton is moving out to California.

"He's done all this on his own," Brian said at the airport, as Clayton was going through a security checkpoint. "(Going to California) will help him, if anything. It could keep him alive longer."

Brian gave his son a hug and watched as he slowly made his way through the security line. Brian started to talk about what Clayton was like as a young child, before the disease ravaged his body.

"I bought him a three-wheeler. He rode that all the time," Brian said. "He was a normal kid."

He said Clayton's had a tough life, that he's had to deal with too many awful things. He knows that getting on that airplane was the best thing he could've done — that it was the path to a better life. He wants to see his son live as long as he can, as comfortably as he can. He said he's going to furnish his home to accommodate Clayton when he comes back.

Leaning against a railing near the boarding gate, lost in thought, Brian suddenly looked up.

"Do you see Clayton? I think he's gone," he said, scanning the crowd in the restricted area of the gate.

"Yep, he's gone."
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Manchester Mayor Sends Kids the Wrong Message

Postby palmspringsbum » Fri Mar 21, 2008 8:47 pm

PR Canna Zine wrote:
Marijuana law: Manchester Mayor Sends Kids the Wrong Message about Democracy


<span class=postbold>CONTACT:</span> Matt Simon, NH Coalition for Common Sense Marijuana Policy, (603) 391-7450

March 21, 2008

http://pr.cannazine.co.uk : CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE — A letter from Manchester mayor and likely gubernatorial candidate Frank Guinta shocked political observers after being reported in today's Union-Leader.

In the letter, Guinta asked State Rep. David Scannell (D-Manchester) to resign from his position as spokesman from the Manchester school district after voting in the 193-141 majority for HB 1623, a bill reducing the penalty for possession of one-quarter ounce of marijuana to a violation punishable by a $200 fine.

HB 1623 will reduce the penalty for small scale marijuana possession to a $200 fine. Its not perfect, but its better than jailing tens of thousands of Americans every year.

According to the Union-Leader, Guinta said it was inappropriate for Scannell to support the bill because "he interacts with kids on a daily basis." This logic caused many to wonder if Guinta realizes that most of the 193 legislators who voted for the bill have children of their own, and if he thinks these individuals are now unfit to interact with their own children.

"I'm pretty sure none of these 193 representatives considered their vote to be a vote in favor of marijuana use," explained Matt Simon, executive director of the New Hampshire Coalition for Common Sense Marijuana Policy. "And in fact, 40 of these 193 representatives were Republicans, three of whom represent Manchester — did Mayor Guinta take time to ask any of these individuals what prompted them to support the measure?"

As an example, Simon mentioned Rep. David Welch (R-Kingston), who spoke in favor of the bill on the House floor. Welch, who chaired the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee for many years, has 23 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.

"Rather than threatening young people with up to a year in prison for a minor marijuana arrest, leaders should consider the message such hasty reactions send to children about the political process," Simon explained. "We tell kids that if they don't like a law, they should get involved and try to change it; this is exactly what happened with HB 1623 in the House, but with hostile reactions like this from the mayor, it's no wonder so many young people are turned off by politics."

Despite threats of a veto from the governor's office and this hostile reaction from Mayor Guinta, the bill's supporters remain confident. The bill was given little chance in the House, but support steadily increased in the weeks leading up to the upset victory. Reformers can only hope the Senate will listen before rushing to judgment against the bill.

"Representatives in the House took their time, listened to their constituents, and weighed the evidence before reaching their conclusions," Simon observed. "Once decision-makers understand that eleven states have already taken similar steps, and that marijuana use has not increased following penalty reductions, they begin to see the common sense in this reform."

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Pot bill an education for this man's daughter

Postby palmspringsbum » Fri Mar 21, 2008 11:31 pm

The Nashua Telegraph wrote:<span class=postbold>Letters</span>
The Nashua Telegraph
Published: Thursday, March 20, 2008

Pot bill an education for this man's daughter

When I ventured up to Concord earlier this year to testify in favor of decriminalizing marijuana in the state, I invited my 12-year-old daughter to come along. She and her sister are home-schooled, and it seemed like an excellent opportunity for a civics lesson.

She listened to the many articulate and well-reasoned arguments in favor of HB 1623 and saw that the opposition put forth just two relatively unprepared speakers – one from the attorney general's office and one representing the interests of the police chiefs.

As we were leaving, my daughter sparked smiles in the full elevator by proclaiming that the measure would have to pass, since the speakers in favor of the bill were so much better prepared than the mumbling opposition with crinkly notes. On the way home, I explained that if members of the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee were to base their votes on the testimony they heard, the measure would indeed have their support.

But because their views are based instead on entrenched and largely false notions about cannabis, they were not likely to be swayed by any amount of fact-based testimony.

Although the House of Representatives has taken the bold step of passing the measure, it is already being called dead on arrival in the Senate. If it passes that hurdle, the governor will surely uncap his veto pen because he feels that relaxing penalties for simple possession of marijuana "sends absolutely the wrong message to New Hampshire's young people about the very real dangers of drug use."

My older daughter raises a brow. Her confusion is understandable, since as home-schoolers, they get their messages not from the government but from responsible parents and mentors.

Marijuana is but one of many temptations she and her sister will face along the way – temptations that warrant their staunch rejection, at the very least, until they have physically matured. Once they reach adulthood, they will be free to make reasoned decisions about what substances they may put in their bodies. Or will they? As adults in America, they will be free to get themselves hopelessly addicted to tobacco, and they will be free to poison themselves with alcohol.

But as an adult citizen, if they use cannabis tincture to quell premenstrual discomfort the way Queen Victoria did, they will risk losing their rights and freedoms.

My daughters know that last year we spent over $40 billion fighting the war on cannabis and that over 800,000 Americans were arrested for the victimless crime of simple possession. They also know that although no one has died from an overdose, cannabis is not a substance children should experiment with.

These parental messages are guided by facts and credible testimony available in print, in documentaries and online. There are already lots of online sites that convincingly refute drug war proclamations about cannabis, including Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, The Science of Medical Marijuana, Marijuana-Uses and Vote Hemp.

The message to my fellow citizens is it is up to you to first avail yourselves of the truth about cannabis, and then be willing to either take direct action, or at least elect informed officials who have the conviction and courage to push against these laws that waste obscene amounts of our tax dollars, and more importantly, are far more harmful to users than the plant itself.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Carl Hedberg is a board member of the New Hampshire Coalition for Common Sense Marijuana Policy (NHCommonSense.org), an advocacy group seeking decriminalization of cannabis.

Carl Hedberg
Lyndeborough

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Bill to decrease pot fines is stalled

Postby palmspringsbum » Fri Mar 28, 2008 2:08 am

The Boston Globe wrote:
Bill to decrease pot fines is stalled

<span class=postbigbold>Little support from Senate, governor
</span>
The Boston Globe
By Tom Long, Globe Correspondent | March 27, 2008

When the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana, it was the first time the legislative body approved reducing the penalty for having pot.

But the bill is unlikely to become law. It appears to have little support in the Senate, and Governor John Lynch has said he'd veto the bill if it reaches his desk because it sends the wrong message to the state's young people about the dangers of drugs.

"Our representatives in the House did the right thing for New Hampshire - and especially for New Hampshire's young people," Matt Simon, executive director of the New Hampshire Coalition for Common Sense Marijuana Policy, said last week. "It's time for the Senate to finish the work we've started here and bring some sanity to our marijuana sentencing policies."

The bill would make the possession of a quarter of an ounce or less of marijuana a civil violation that would carry a maximum $200 fine, instead of a criminal misdemeanor that may result in up to a year in jail and fines of up to $2,500.

Though the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee recommended against passage of the law, the bill passed the full House, 193 to 141, on March 18.

In Massachusetts, two bills are before the Legislature that would decriminalize the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, and another bill would allow the drug to be used for medical reasons.

Also, Representative Barney Frank said last week that he intends to file a bill in the US House to legalize "small amounts" of marijuana.

Nobody was more surprised when the New Hampshire House passed the bill than Jeffrey Fontas, the 21-year-old Democrat from Nashua who cosponsored the legislation.

"Many people told us that it wouldn't pass, but it did. I think it was because of the way we framed the argument. Mistakes early in life, like a possession charge, can be devastating to the futures of our young people," he said, adding that a single drug arrest can lead to the loss of a college scholarship, the ability to serve in the military, and the chance to qualify for subsidized housing and food stamps.

Representative David Welch, a Republican from Kingston and a member of the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee who voted in favor of the bill, said it's a generational issue.

"I think if all the House members were under 30, it would be a slam dunk."

Welch, who is serving his eleventh term in the House, said he has never used drugs, "except aspirin," and feels there are a lot more dangerous products on the market: alcohol and cigarettes, for instance.

"I think alcohol abuse does a lot more damage. . . . Not only that, but we tax alcohol. It's not as if it's a large amount of marijuana we're talking about here. It's only enough to make seven or eight cigarettes," he said. "People - young people in particular - do stupid things, and I don't think they should be penalized for life."

Fontas said he is not disheartened by a lack of support for the bill in the Senate.

"The so-called experts said the bill didn't have a chance in the House, but many members voted for it after they heard what we had to say. Who knows what might happen in the Senate if we have another open discussion of the issue?"

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NH House hears from medical marijuana supporters

Postby palmspringsbum » Wed Mar 11, 2009 8:34 pm

The Boston Herald wrote:
NH House hears from medical marijuana supporters

By Associated Press | Monday, March 9, 2009 | http://www.bostonherald.com | Northeast

CONCORD, N.H. — Proponents of medical marijuana urged New Hampshire lawmakers today to pass a bill that would allow patients with painful ailments to possses a small amount of the drug.

Dozens of supporters packed a hearing on the bill before the House health and human services committee. Lead sponsor Evalyn Merrick, who has cancer and used marijuana to quell queasiness from chemotherapy in 2002, says her bill would help many patients who are suffering in pain.

"They are not drug addicts," said Merrick, a Lancaster Democrat who has multiple myeloma, a blood cancer. "They are law-abiding citizens who only wish to find healing."

Her bill would allow some patients to posses up to 2 ounces of marijuana to alleviate pain from diseases like cancer and multiple sclerosis.

Patients would also be able to grow up to six cannabis plants at home and keep six seeds for later use. Only patients in constant pain for at least three months would qualify for the drug.

Somersworth resident Clayton Holton, 23, told the committee he has a rare form of muscular dystrophy, and he moved to California for about 10 months to take advantage of that state’s medical marijuana law. He said he uses marijuana to maintain his appetite. His weight dropped to 69 pounds at one point during his illness.

"Doctors were threatening me with feeding tubes," he said, adding that if Merrick’s bill failed he may have to move with his parents to Rhode Island or Maine, two states that allow medical marijuana use.

Sandra Drew,a 56-year-old retired nurse with multiple sclerosis, addressed concerns that the bill would send the wrong message to young people. Drew, of Allenstown, said she never smokes marijuana around her children or grandchildren. But she uses the drug to ease the pain from muscle spasms.

Merrick acknowledges that patients would have no legal way to buy marijuana under terms of the bill. She says they would have to get the drug from other patients, family members or dealers until the state opted to regulate distribution.

Assistant Attorney General Karin Eckel spoke against the bill, telling the committee it would violate federal law.

Thirteen states now allow medical marijuana use. Federal drug agents have raided dozens of medical marijuana dispensaries, mainly in California. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a news conference last month that the Obama administration would end such raids.

<small>http://www.bostonherald.com/news/national/northeast/view.bg?articleid=1157411</small>

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Pros and cons of medical marijuana debated at Laconia forum

Postby palmspringsbum » Fri Mar 20, 2009 7:54 pm

The Citizen of Laconia wrote:Article published Mar 17, 2009

Pros and cons of medical marijuana debated at Laconia forum

by Gail Ober gober&citizen.com
The Citizen of Laconia

<table class="posttable" align="right"><tr><td class="postcell"><img class="postimg" src="bin/drew_sandra.jpg" title="MATT SIMON, left, executive director, NH Coalition for Common Sense Marijuana Policy, and state Rep. James 'Doc' Pilliod listen as Sandra Drew, who suffers from muscular dystrophy discusses why she is in favor of legalizing marijuana for medical purposes during a forum at Lakes Region Community College in Laconia, Monday."></td></tr></table>Sandra Drew has multiple sclerosis. Diagnosed in 1991, she worked as a registered nurse for 10 years before her illness forced her to retire. When she can, she smokes some marijuana before sleeping. Drew said so far it's the only thing she's found that eases the "Charlie horse" leg cramps that ruin her sleep and make her unable to relax.

Richard Crate is the Enfield Police Chief and has spent his working career in law enforcement. To him, marijuana is not a medicine but a dangerous drug. Every day he sees younger and younger people becoming involved in drugs and he is a perennial witness to the perils and consequences of drug abuse.

Dr. James Pilliod is a Belmont state representative and a retired physician who specializes in pediatrics. While he can't prescribe it, he has told a few of his terminally ill "friends" that marijuana has been known to provide some relief from their chronic pain.

These three people, each with a personal stake and interest in House Bill 648 — a measure that, if passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor, would legalize medical marijuana in the state — joined other professionals Monday in a lunch-time forum at the Lakes Region Community College to discuss the pros and cons of medical marijuana.

Moderated by Dr. Mark Edelstein, the college's president, about 40 people participated in the lively, back-and-forth panel discussion where nobody's mind appeared to be changed but everyone learned something about medical marijuana, the law and what some in New Hampshire hope to achieve.

We need to be sure that "these patients are not on the battlefield," said Matt Simon of the N.H. Coalition for Common Sense Marijuana Policy, saying HB 648 protects people from arrest if their doctors recommend marijuana.

Among its provisions, HB 648 would allow for personal possession of up to six ounces of marijuana and for the cultivation of not more than 12 marijuana plants for each qualifying patient.

Karin Eckel, a lawyer with the N.H. Attorney General's Office, said the possession and cultivation of marijuana would still be a federal crime and this law would not protect state residents from federal arrest or prosecution.

"The state, [and, by extension, law enforcement] will take on an enormous burden...," said Eckel. "The state doesn't have the resources to regulate it."

In addition, Eckel said, some people are confusing "good intentions" with "good medicine. Pot has yet to be tested."

For Gilford radio personality Skip Murphy, the issue is one of gateway.

"I've seen a lot of good potential go by the wayside," said Murphy in referring to high school classmates whose marijuana use escalated to other drugs. "It also doesn't make for good public policy."

The research done so far on the medicinal benefits on tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana, indicates some medical usage for pain and nausea relief and a tablet form is available by prescription — but the pill is expensive and, according to one man who walked with a cane and who is prescribed the drug, Marinol, or dronbinol, is beyond the financial reach of most people sick enough for a prescription. He also said most insurance companies will not pay for it.

"What gives you guys the right to affect the quality of my life?" he asked, his questions directed toward Crate and Eckel. "Don't take away this for the people who need it, not enjoy it."

"Eight of 10 of the states where medical marijuana is legal have the highest incidents of drug abuse," said Crates, who added that his real problem with HB 648 is its potential for abuse, showing the audience two bags filled with fake marijuana cigarettes, or joints, and telling them that those bags represent only two ounces.

As to its medical uses in the smoked form, Crate asked Pilliod directly how he would go about prescribing it when its strength and delivery systems are so varied and unconventional.

"I can't prescribe it," said Pilliod explaining his problem is that because it's illegal, not enough studies have been done on any level.

Common Sense representative Simon agreed, adding that many major pharmaceutical companies and university research centers are prohibited from possessing the drug by federal, and in most cases, state law, so the ability to test it in its smoked form is limited by the very nature of what they're testing.

As to the California medical marijuana laws, Simon said they have been "a policy disaster. I would never wish that law on New Hampshire."

"This law allows them to grow their own," said Simon, citing Maine and Vermont as states with similar laws as HB 648.

As for criminalizing sick people who do smoke, cultivate and/or possess small quantities of marijuana, Crate asked the audience when any of them had ever heard of a sick person being arrested, charged and prosecuted by state or local law enforcement for marijuana infractions.

When asked if he would arrest someone "smoking a joint in a wheelchair alone in the woods," Crate allowed that he probably wouldn't, citing jury nullification or a too sympathetic jury or judge that would overlook the law and deny a conviction.

"But if I saw that person smoking a joint on Main Street, I certainly would," he said.

The New Hampshire House schedule said it plans to report HB 648 out of committee by March 19. No decisions have been made but the public hearing has been held. A favorable vote in the house sends the bill to the Senate for additional revisions and considerations.

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Panel backs medical marijuana use in NH

Postby palmspringsbum » Fri Mar 20, 2009 11:32 pm

The Union Leader wrote:Panel backs medical marijuana use in NH

The Union Leader
By TOM FAHEY
State House Bureau Chief
Thursday, Mar. 19, 2009


CONCORD – A bill allowing severely ill patients to grow and use marijuana for medicinal purposes has won a 13-7 vote in the House Health and Human Services Committee.

The bill, HB 648, heads to the full House for a vote next week. Two Republicans joined the Democratic majority in support of the bill.

The bill requires patients to be certified by a doctor before they can grow or possess up to six plants or two ounces of marijuana. They or a caregiver can grow the plants, and a patient is given the option of obtaining marijuana from another certified patient.

Thirteen other states have medical marijuana bills on the books. In the past month, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has said federal policy will shift, giving states more leeway to pass and enforce their own medical marijuana laws. Federal emphasis will move from raids on marijuana clinics and onto distributors who violate state and federal laws, he said.

Two years ago, the New Hampshire House defeated a medical marijuana bill by nine votes, 186-177.

Committee Chair Rep. Cindy Rosenwald, D-Nashua, said this bill improves on all the shortcomings she saw two years ago. She termed HB 648, "a narrowly written, tightly focused, well-crafted bill." Supporters of the bill said it offers hope to those with a debilitating chronic or terminal illnesses. In many cases treatments for illnesses such as cancer or HIV, create nausea that weakens patients at a time when they need strength to survive. Proponents say it eases pain and can increase appetite in ways that manufactured drugs cannot.

Bill sponsor Rep. Evalyn Merrick, D-Lancaster, said after the committee vote, "It's a compassion bill. It's to help the seriously ill and terminally ill patients who have not been able to find relief from the symptoms and side effects of their diseases or treatments through legal therapeutic pharmaceuticals ... It gives them an option." Gov. John Lynch's press secretary Colin Manning said Lynch is not sold on the bill.

"The governor has concerns about the bill," he said. "It is in conflict with federal law and he will continue talk to lawmakers as well as law enforcement and medical community about it."

Opponents said the bill runs counter to federal law and represents the beginning of what will become the unwinding of state drug laws. It is opposed by law enforcement, including the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police.

Rep. John Cebrowski, R-Bedford, said illegal drugs are already a national problem.

"I refuse to be part of something which exacerbates that," he said. By leaving patients to find or grow their own supply, he said, the bill "takes a pure gray-market, back-alley approach to health care."

Matt Simon of N.H. Common Sense said he worries restrictions on access could make things difficult for patients. On the other hand, he said, "only people who need it will be able to get it."

Rep. Roger Wells, R-Hampstead, who voted to recommend the bill, said the bill has enough protections built into it that it will prevent abuse.

"People who are suffering, at least in our state of New Hampshire, ought not to be called criminals," he said.

Rep. Peter Batula, R-Merrimack, argued the committee acted against the best advice of national drug experts.

"There is no right way to do the wrong thing," he said.


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Medical marijuana legislation advances

Postby palmspringsbum » Fri Mar 20, 2009 11:38 pm

The Citizen of Laconia wrote:Medical marijuana legislation advances

The Citizen of Laconia
By GAIL OBER gober@citizen.com
Thursday, March 19, 2009


Two days after the community college held a lunch-time forum on medical marijuana, the House Committee of Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs gave a nod to the House Bill that would make it legal in some cases in New Hampshire.

In a vote that saw two Republicans, including co-sponsor Rep. Dr. James "Doc" Pilliod, R-Belmont, joining with the Democratic majority, House Bill 648 will go to the floor with an "ought-to-pass" recommendation.

"I do support this but for a different reason," said Pilliod Wednesday night. "I'm trying to push the federal government to do what they should do and get the Food and Drug Administration and the Drug Enforcement Agency to regulate it. We don't want to make it legal, we want to make it regulated."

Alida Millham, R-Gilford, voted against the bill while first-term Democrat Kate Miller of Meredith joined the 13-7 majority.

"I would give anything to be able to support this," said Millham, who voted for an amendment that "cleared up some of the fuzzy parts" and restricted it a little better, but voted against sending the bill to the full House with a positive recommendation.

Millham said to earn her support, the federal government has to legalize or regulate marijuana and she is uncomfortable about how it would be supplied.

"I do not think I'll vote for this when it comes to the floor," she said.

For Miller, her 'aye' vote was a very tough decision.

"I have my concerns," said Miller, who said she completely understands why many legislators are against it and respects the position taken against medical marijuana by law enforcement.

"I felt it was a fairly realistic bill," said Miller, who approved the amendments that narrowed the potential for abuse.

HB 648, as amended, would allow medically ill patients with certificates from physicians to possess up to two ounces. A designated caregiver would be allowed to assist only one patient, instead of the original five, and it identifies out-of-state "visiting qualified patients" to stay in the state for a maximum of 30 days.

Supporters on medical marijuana contend that it is a drug that can be used to successfully treat pain and nausea caused by terminal cancer, multiple sclerosis and other debilitation diseases.

Opponents say it violates federal law, which classifies marijuana as a Class 1 dangerous drug.

Even Pilliod said he has some problems with HB 648 as amended, but supports its mission.

"I want to publicize the fact that we don't want patients to be criminals and join the other 13 states who do this," Pilliod said.

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House OKs medicinal marijuana bill

Postby palmspringsbum » Thu Apr 02, 2009 11:50 pm

The Eagle-Tribune wrote:House OKs medicinal marijuana bill

March 26, 2009 03:38 am
The Eagle-Tribune


CONCORD (AP) — New Hampshire residents with crippling ailments could grow and use a small amount of marijuana for medicinal purposes under legislation the House passed yesterday.

The House voted 234-138 to send the bill to the Senate where its fate is uncertain. Gov. John Lynch has said he has concerns about the bill.

The bill would allow severely ill patients or their caregivers to grow and possess six marijuana plants and two ounces of the drug. It requires doctors to certify a patient has a debilitating medical condition and would benefit from the therapeutic or palliative benefit from using marijuana.

Only patients in constant pain for at least three months would qualify for the drug.

The House defeated a medicinal marijuana bill two years ago by nine votes.

Rep. Evalyn Merrick, D-Lancaster, is the lead sponsor of the bill. She has multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer, and used marijuana to quell queasiness from chemotherapy in 2002.

Rep. Jim Craig, D-Manchester, pleaded for compassion for cancer patients like his friend Jamie, who died last year. Jamie needed the drug to be able to eat, Craig said.

"The easy thing is to just vote no. I can't because of Jamie. There are people out there like Jamie," Craig said.

Rep. Cindy Rosenwald, D-Nashua, said the narrowly written bill prevents unfettered access to the drug by those who aren't suffering, and that helped change her mind about the issue.

New Hampshire residents attended the hearing in walkers and wheelchairs to seek relief from lawmakers, she said.

"They've asked us for compassion to treat them as patients and not as criminals," she said.

Opponents charged that the law would invite abuse.

"Each pot smoker is his or her own doctor. Medical use is a Trojan horse to ultimately legalize marijuana," said Rep. John Cebrowski, R-Bedford.

Rep. David Hess, R-Hooksett, reminded the House that growing, possessing and using the drug would still be illegal under other state and federal laws.

Merrick acknowledged that patients would have no legal way to buy marijuana under terms of the bill. She said they would have to get the drug from other patients, family members or dealers until the state opted to regulate distribution.

"This law is to protect the people who medically use it. I suppose if you bought it on the street, (sellers) would be breaking the law but you wouldn't. But it isn't necessary to do that," Rep. Roger Wells, R-Hampstead, said in response to opponents' questions.

Thirteen states now allow medical marijuana use. Federal drug agents have raided dozens of medical marijuana dispensaries, mainly in California. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said at a news conference last month that the Obama administration would end such raids.


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Just Say No

Postby palmspringsbum » Sat Apr 04, 2009 6:49 pm

OpEdNews wrote:Just Say No (to medical marijuana in NH) an open letter to Governor Lynch

by Carmen Yarrusso
OpEdNews | 31 Mar 2009


Dear Governor Lynch,

Once again left wing extremists are trying to get New Hampshire to join liberal druggie states like California, Maine and Vermont to allow so-called “sick” people to grow and possess marijuana for medical purposes. Should the NH Senate pass HB 648 (already passed the NH House), I urge you to veto this outrageous bill ASAP.

This bill is a poorly disguised attempt to lessen our government’s control over our personal decisions. After all, who should have ultimate control over what goes into your body, you or the government? Passing HB 648 would allow certain “sick” individuals to actually decide for themselves what goes into their own bodies. This is left-wing lunacy.

Our government may not be very competent at regulating banking, or at managing disasters, or at spending our tax dollars wisely, or at much of anything else it does. Time and time again our government has put special interests above the welfare of the American people. But when it comes to protecting us from ourselves, we should trust our government to do what’s in our best interests.

If HB 648 passes, our children might grow up thinking they’re more competent than our government to make personal decisions about drugs. Do we really want to raise kids who can think for themselves when it comes to drugs? We need to set a good example so our kids will know to trust our government, not their own minds, when deciding if a drug is good for them or not.

By keeping marijuana illegal, our government sends us a very clear message, “not only are you too stupid to decide what goes into your own body, but if you dare disobey Big Brother and actually decide for yourself, you are a criminal and will be punished”. Our government allows us to ingest tobacco and alcohol, which are clearly more dangerous than marijuana. But safety is not the issue. The issue is control over personal decisions.

If we allow a few “sick” people to control what goes into their own bodies, we will open up a Pandora’s Box of abuse. Soon NH residents who aren’t even sick will want to have control over what goes into their own bodies. Passing HB 648 could eventually lead to keeping government out of all our personal decisions, not just out of our medical decisions. Governor, this is left-wing lunacy.

We in the “live free or die” state can’t allow a few “sick” people to decide what goes into their own bodies. Healthy New Hampshire residents might wake up from their comas and realize that marijuana prohibition for any adult is a blatant violation of the very essence of our state motto. Making criminals out of NH residents who simply put something into their own bodies (sick or not) mocks the very concept of “living free”. If you don’t have sovereignty over your own body, you most certainly are not living free.

Governor, I urge you to ignore a poll showing 71% of NH residents favor medical marijuana. If our federal government says NH adults are too stupid to decide what goes into their own bodies, who are we to object? Just because the federal government would lose billions of our tax dollars if marijuana were legal, doesn't mean they aren't looking out for our best interests.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder recently stated he wouldn’t harass states passing medical marijuana laws. But as leader of the “live free or die” state, you must send a clear message to all NH residents who think they should be able to control what goes into their own bodies.

Governor, please veto this bill (if the NH Senate is dumb enough to pass it). We certainly don’t want the rest of the nation to think we New Hampshire folks take our state motto seriously.

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GOP deserves praise for medical pot vote

Postby palmspringsbum » Wed Apr 08, 2009 3:17 pm

The Telegraph wrote:Published: Wednesday, April 8, 2009
GOP deserves praise for medical pot vote

The Nashua Telegraph


I'd like to applaud the 45 Republican state representatives who recently voted their consciences in support of HB 648 (March 26: "House OKs medical marijuana").

Medical marijuana has been perceived as a "liberals only" issue for far too long, and this vote was a good step forward for the GOP.

Amongst the GOP rank-and-file in New Hampshire, support for decriminalization of medical marijuana exceeds 56 percent of registered GOP voters. Support is even higher amongst undeclared registered voters – more than 73 percent. It's good to see our GOP state representatives reflect this support in Concord.

Most Republicans believe our state's policy decisions should be made by elected officials in New Hampshire, not by bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.

Likewise, in the spirit of limiting the influence of government in our lives, it seems to me that medical decisions should be made by doctors and their patients, not by bureaucrats and politicians.

The evidence has become clear that for a small number of patients with serious illnesses, marijuana may be the only thing that helps them combat their nausea and severe pain.

HB 648 is a responsible bill that simply identifies these patients and protects them from being arrested by state and local police. We are not talking about California-style pot shops, just a few plants in a few closets for the people whose doctors say they really need marijuana.

In addition to human compassion, this issue is really about restoring constitutional rights by returning as much power to the people as possible.

If passed by the Senate and signed by the governor, this would be a good reform for our state. Live Free or Die!

David Murotake

Nashua

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Marijuana bill passed to Lynch

Postby palmspringsbum » Thu Jul 02, 2009 2:21 am

theDartmouth.com wrote:Marijuana bill passed to Lynch

The Dartmouth
By Fan Zhang, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Friday, June 26, 2009

The New Hampshire state Senate and House of Representatives approved a bill on Wednesday that would legalize marijuana use for critically and terminally ill patients. If Gov. John Lynch, D-N.H., approves the measure or allows it to become law without his signature, the state will become the 14th in the nation to allow marijuana to be used for medicinal purposes.

Lynch will have five days after the bill is reviewed by the New Hampshire secretary of state to decide on the measure. If Lynch signs the bill or does not take action during that time, the legislation will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2010.

The Senate approved the bill by a 14-10 vote — nearly split along party lines, with only one Democrat voting against the bill and one Republican voting in favor. The House passed the measure by a wider margin, voting 232-108 to pass the compromise version of House Bill 648.

“We heard from many individuals how this truly would make a difference in peoples’ lives who are suffering from terminal illness or catastrophic illness,” bill cosponsor and state Senator Martha Fuller Clark, D-Portsmouth, said.

The amended bill would create up to three “compassion centers” in the state where marijuana would be grown. The centers would be allowed to distribute up to two ounces of marijuana every 10 days to each certified patient. Only three other states have licensed marijuana dispensaries — California, New Mexico and Rhode Island, which last week overrode Gov. Donald Carcieri’s veto of a bill to legalize medical marijuana.

Patients who could receive medical marijuana include those with glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, Lou Gehrig’s disease, multiple sclerosis and cancer as well as those undergoing treatments like chemotherapy.

“We have crafted a very strong and focused piece of legislation that deals with how the growth of medical marijuana is controlled by creating these compassion centers,” Fuller Clark said. “We hope that the governor would recognize that there is a real value in this legislation because it prevents pain and suffering, so we hope that he will sign it or let it go through without his signature.”

Lynch had expressed concern over the original bill, which would have allowed patients to grow marijuana on their own property. The governor stated publicly on Wednesday that he has not read the latest version.

“My concern all along has been the cultivation and distribution of it, not its dispensation to people who need it,” he said at the state capitol before the legislature voted on Wednesday. “I’ll be looking at the bill very carefully and using that test as I review it as to whether or not to go forward with the bill.”

State Rep. David Hess, R-Hooksett, who spoke against HB 648 on Wednesday said he opposed the legislation because marijuana use is still illegal under federal law. The measure would create a dilemma for local law enforcement officials who are sworn to uphold local and federal laws, he said.

The bill would also allow the “compassion centers,” which Hess described as a “euphemism,” to be built within 500 feet of schools, while state law mandates that the area 1000 feet around schools must be a drug free zone, according to Hess. Law enforcement agencies, including the attorney general’s office, are also not involved in the regulation of marijuana distribution, he said.

Under the Bush administration, the Justice Department raided marijuana dispensaries regardless of state laws legalizing medical marijuana, but Attorney General Eric Holder said in March that federal drug raids would now only target people breaking both state and federal law, according to a Wednesday Association Press article.

The state Senate originally passed HB 648 on April 29, after the bill was passed by the House on March 25.
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Police, local lawmaker clash on medical pot bill

Postby palmspringsbum » Thu Jul 02, 2009 3:55 am

SeacoastOnline.com wrote:Police, local lawmaker clash on medical pot bill

By Michael Mccord | news@seacoastonline.com
Seacoastonline.com | July 01, 2009 6:00 AM

PORTSMOUTH — While Gov. John Lynch continues to deliberate the fate of the medical marijuana bill passed by the Legislature last week, opponents and proponents of the measure hope Lynch is listening to them.

"Calling it medicine doesn't make it so," said Portsmouth Chief of Police Michael Magnant. "It's not FDA-approved and there's no quality control. It leads to higher drug use and it impairs driving. I think it sends the wrong message to our kids."

Magnant stands by the opposition to the bill by the N.H. Association of Chiefs of Police, which he said has shared its law enforcement concerns with Lynch.

Sen. Martha Fuller Clark, D-Portsmouth, was a co-sponsor of the bill that was amended last week and would allow patients with debilitating illnesses to possess and use small amounts of marijuana. She said the House-Senate conference committee crafted a bill that narrowed the scope of delivery and increased oversight by the state Department of Health and Human Services.

In particular, Fuller Clark pointed out that lawmakers changed provisions that would let patients grow marijuana at their homes; now they would go to "compassion centers," not-for-profit organizations that would be required to receive state certification.

"This is an enormous change that should address the law enforcement concerns about homegrown (marijuana) plants falling into the wrong hands," Fuller Clark said. "There are safeguards at every stage."

The medical marijuana bill, which passed the Senate by a 14-10 vote and by 232-108 in the House, allows for up to three compassion centers, although language allows for up to five centers after two years; it is expected that some 150 terminally ill and acute-care patients would be served per year.

Lynch has not said when he will sign — or if he will veto — the bill. The governor is reviewing the legislation, according to spokesman Colin Manning.

"He continues to have strong concerns about the system of distribution proposed in the bill," Manning said.

A New Hampshire-based think tank said Lynch should veto the bill on fiscal grounds.

"We call on Governor Lynch to veto this bill because of the severe fiscal impact it will have on the state budget should it be signed in to law," said Kevin Smith, the executive director of Cornerstone Policy Research-Action. "At the very least, state administrators predict a cost of $250,000 to administer the program which includes the creation of a new position within DHHS, at a time when the governor is considering furloughs or layoffs."

Another local lawmaker and co-sponsor recently told the Herald she had changed her opposition due to the medical evidence and the focus of lawmakers to make the bill as narrow as possible. "If you get the politics out of it, hopefully people can see this law will be, I believe, the most restrictive in the country," said Rep. Trinka Russell, D-Stratham. "This is about helping people who are really sick to deal with severe pain and nausea. This should be about a physician and a patient working together."

If Lynch signs the measure into law, New Hampshire will become the 14th state allowing medical marijuana and the fourth state to license dispensaries. But it's not a legal or medical distinction that Magnant thinks the state should have. He said efforts in other states such as California have turned out to be "a joke."

Fuller Clark said she hopes Lynch knows what's most important about the law.

"I hope he would see the enormous difference this will make to individuals in an acute medical situation," she said. "This provides them a measure of compassion."

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