Medical Marijuana Bill Passes N.H. House Committee In 14-3 Vote


Graphic: Cafe Press

​A New Hampshire House committee on Wednesday brought seriously ill Granite Staters closer to relief with a 14-3 “ought to pass” vote on a bill to allow the medical use of marijuana.

The House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee endorsed House Bill 442, which creates a narrow exception in New Hampshire law for people with certain qualifying medical conditions to use marijuana medicinally with a doctor’s recommendation.
HB 442 now moves on to the full House for a vote.
Introduced by Rep. Evalyn Merrick (D), herself a cancer survivor, the bill has five Republican cosponsors, including the chair of the Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee, Rep. John Reagan (R-Deerfield).

HB 442 also has strong support among voters. A 2008 Mason-Dixon poll showed that 71 percent of New Hampshire voters are in favor of allowing the medical use of marijuana, with only 21 percent opposed.
“Today’s vote once again shows that when legislators learn the facts about medical marijuana, they are motivated to allow its use by seriously ill patients,” said Kirk McNeil, executive director for the New Hampshire Coalition for Common Sense Marijuana Policy.
The bill would create a tightly regulated ID system for all patients, as well as establish state-licensed “alternative treatment centers” (dispensaries) to provide safe access to medical marijuana. It also includes strict rules regarding public use, impairment, and driving under the influence.
The General Court approved a medical marijuana bill in 2009, but it was vetoed by Gov. John Lynch. The House voted by more than the required two-thirds to override the veto, but the effort in the Senate fell only two votes short.
Washington, D.C., and 15 other states, including New Hampshire’s neighbors Vermont and Maine, have enacted laws protecting patients whose doctors recommend medical marijuana.