Marijuana and Cannabis News

New Hampshire considering three marijuana-related bills this session
By William Breathes in Legislation, Medical, News
Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 4:20 pm

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A greener New Hampshire.
New Hampshire has three different marijuana related bills for state legislators to consider this session, including two bills concerning recreational cannabis use and one allowing for medical marijuana in that state.

Currently, possession of any amount can net you a year in jail and a $2,000 fine. Cultivation falls under sales and possession with intent to sell in that state and is based on weight. Anything over an ounce (roots, leaves, stalks and all) will get you seven years in prison and $100,000 in fines.

House Bill 492

This basically follows the same regulation-similar-to-alcohol-based model set in the Colorado constitution as well as a proposed bill before Hawaii legislators currently. If passed, the law would make possession of up to an ounce of marijuana as well as personal cultivation of up to six plants (three in flower) legal for people 21 and up. The state would also regulate medical marijuana grows and recreational shops that would sell to anyone 21 and up with only an ID. Private sales remain illegal, but you can give away up to an ounce of ganja to someone at a time.

The bill also contains a somewhat controversial line that originated in Colorado's Amendment 64 that driving under the influence of marijuana would remain illegal. And unlike the state's proposed medical laws (see below), it doesn't necessarily make marijuana use a protected right and you can still be fired from your job for consuming in your free time if your boss sucks like that.

House Bill 0337

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New Hampshire state Rep. Mark Warden.
HB 0337 simply removes criminal penalties for marijuana, marijuana hash, and paraphernalia use and possession in New Hampshire outright.

Read that again. It would remove the criminal penalties for marijuana in New Hampshire. That includes everything from possession and use to removing it from the definitions of eavesdropping and wiretapping when it comes to organized crime. It also gives control of marijuana regulation to the state, but never outlines what that model would look like, unlike the much more robust House Bill 492. An email to the bill sponsor, state Rep. Mark Warden (R-Manchester), was not immediately returned.

House Bill 573

The state's proposed medical marijuana bill, HB 573, would allow possession of up to two ounces for patients suffering from a list of medical conditions, including: Cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, Crohn's disease, Alzheimer's disease and multiple sclerosis. Patients with other debilitating medical conditions can also apply, so long as they meet certain requirements like persistent nausea or chronic pain.

Medical cannabis would only be cultivated by state-regulated dispensaries, dubbed "alternative treatment centers" in the bill's language. Cannabis would essentially have to be organic-grown, and chemical pesticides are banned outright.

The bill could also be one of the first times that interstate transportation of medical marijuana is made legal (or at least, quasi-legal). Not only does the bill create reciprocity for medical marijuana cardholders from other states, it allows New Hampshire grow facilities to accept seedlings and seeds from other states where medical marijuana is legal. It also eliminates any penalties for growers from other states transferring marijuana for that reason to New Hampshire. No money can exchange hands, though. It all has to be donations.

Importantly, the bill has somewhat progressive language that other states (like Colorado) lack. Namely: the law would prohibit denying medical marijuana patients any of their state rights, including civil penalties and occupational and professional licenses. The latter two apply to everything from doctors and nurses to teachers and daycare center owners. It also protects patients from being fired simply because of their medical marijuana patient status, unless it is a federal job in which case there's little state law can do.

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