Medical Marijuana Passes New Hampshire House

New Hampshire Statehouse.New Hampshire Statehouse.A bill that allows the use of medical marijuana passed the House and is on its way to the Senate then, if successful there, to a governor who might have some concerns about signing it into law. The House passed the bill 234-138 in an active day in the legislature that also saw the House repeal the death penalty.

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

Should it become law, New Hampshire will become the 14th state to permit the use of medical marijuana. Unlike the 13 other states, this law is more tightly crafted in that it requires the cultivation of the medical marijuana within the patient’s home.

Associated Press reports have quoted a spokesman for Gov. John Lynch that he has concerns about the bill.

Matt Simon, the executive director of the N.H. Coalition for Common Sense Marijuana Policy, appeared yesterday on New Hampshire Public Radio’s “The Exchange” program and was asked whether a medical marijuana bill would open the door in the future to efforts to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

He said the effort behind the medical marijuana bill is the “moral imperative” to get medical patients out of the equation. “There’s no other agenda here,” he said.

It’s been a busy couple of days in Concord.

To get through about 200 bills in three days, House Speaker Teri Norelli used an egg timer to limit to three minutes.

Here’s a headline version of some of the other action in the House:

  • Repealed the death penalty;
  • Rejected ban on smoking in the car with children;
  • Approved a ban on texting while driving;
  • Rejected higher fines on utilities that fail to trim trees to prevent ice storm-like power failures;
  • Dropped the overdue tax rate on stressed properties;
  • Rejected abortion notification;
  • Approved a so-called “cold case” unit.

The Senate:

  • Endorsed a four-year term for the governor. It currently is a two-year term.

Among the other bills that haven’t been acted upon as of this post is a bill in the Senate to expand legalized gambling and House consideration of gay marriage.

– Article from the Manchester Democrat Examiner on March 25, 2009.