marijuana

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Last week, the city of Dover became the first New Hampshire municipality to raise their smoking age from 18 to 21. The new city ordinance prohibits anyone under 21 from buying, using or possessing tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and vaping devices. We look at what kind of impact this law may have on the Dover community, and the state as a whole, and look at similar legislation in Maine and Massachusetts. 

Later in the hour, an update on marijuana legalization across New England. 

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New England may still be the next U.S. frontier for legal cannabis; just don't try shopping for it quite yet.

After early successes for the cannabis industry in western states, the region seemed the next logical foothold. But while its famous independent streak, liberal politics and ample supply of college activism all made for fertile ground, the legalization movement has often collided with old-fashioned Yankee sensibilities — particularly in towns weary of the stigma around pot.

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It’s the summer of weed for neighboring states that have legalized recreational marijuana. The road to New Hampshire, though, remains one big “pot” hole.

Pot is still illegal here.

It’s a point underscored in an interview with Tuftonborough Police Chief Andrew Shagoury, president of the N.H. Association of Chiefs of Police.

Marijuana Legalization Added to N.H. Democrats' Platform

Jun 24, 2018

 

Marijuana legalization is now part of the New Hampshire Democratic Party platform.

Democrats meeting in Stratham for their convention on Saturday supported recreational use of pot for adults. 

"We believe that marijuana should be legalized, taxed and regulated," the resolution reads.

State delegates also approved a resolution advocating the removal of marijuana from the federal list of Schedule I drugs, those considered most dangerous, like heroin and cocaine.

Grassroots

Jun 15, 2018

Over the past five years, New Hampshire's cannabis legislation has gone from non-existent to possible all-out legalization. But among neighboring states, New Hampshire still lags behind. On today's show we're answering an #OnlyinNH question that asks, "why, when compared to other New England states, is New Hampshire so conservative on cannabis legislation?" And then a different kind of high - we head to the mountains to see who's hiking and smoking?   

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New Hampshire's medical marijuana law turns 5 next month, and the Therapeutic Cannabis Advisory Council will be issuing a five-year status report on how the program has operated.

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New Hampshire's Senate Minority Leader plans to file legislation to legalize and tax marijuana in the upcoming legislative session.

Democrat Jeff Woodburn announced the renewed push following President Trump signaling he is willing to support a bipartisan marijuana legalization effort that respects states' rights.

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The commission studying marijuana legalization in New Hampshire is watching Massachusetts as pot shops become legal there on July 1.

Ed Shemelya says it could present some unique challenges—even in the Granite State.

Shemeleya is coordinator of the National Marijuana Initiative, a federal anti-drug effort focused on marijuana data. He addressed the study commission on behalf of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program, established by the White House office of National Drug Control Policy.

The chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party has announced his support for including marijuana legalization in the party's platform.

Ray Buckley says he joins Molly Kelly and Steve Marchand, the two candidates for the Democratic nomination for governor, in support of legalization, regulation and taxation. He says he's willing to co-sponsor an amendment and vote for the platform change at the party convention June 23.

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  A bill heading to Governor Sununu’s desk aims to address issues of access within the state’s medical marijuana program.

Earlier this month the House and Senate agreed to a plan to allow for an additional two dispensaries.

There are now centers in Dover, Lebanon, Merrimack, and Plymouth.  

Senator John Reagan, a prime sponsor of the bill, says this isn't enough.

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State lawmakers recently passed a bill designed to expand access to medical marijuana through additional dispensaries, but a bill to allow patients to grow pot for personal use appears headed for defeat.

A Senate committee voted this week to recommend the bill be referred to interim study.

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The commission studying marijuana legalization in New Hampshire got a crash course Monday in "Juuling"—the  e-cigarette vaping that's become a craze among high school students.

Jill Burke, interim prevention administrator for the New Hampshire Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services, says some young people are using various vaping devices with oils derived from cannabis.

“It is the size of a USB stick and they’re using these products in schools and colleges, and they’re using these products with THC oils and derivatives,” she said.

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The New Hampshire Senate has passed a bill that would allow two more medical marijuana dispensaries to open in the state.

 

Lawmakers legalized medical use of marijuana for the treatment of a limited number of conditions in 2013. It can be purchased at licensed alternative treatment centers in Lebanon, Dover, Merrimack and Plymouth.

 

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New Hampshire lawmakers have referred a bill legalizing recreational use of marijuana to further study, dealing a blow to those who hoped the Granite State would join neighboring states in relaxing regulations on the drug.

The House gave preliminary approval to the bill earlier this year. It would allow adults to possess up to 1 ounce (28 grams) of marijuana and cultivate it in limited qualities.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Six months ago, the State Police Forensic Laboratory had a backlog of about 3,600 cases. It’s now down to 1,600, and analysts are steadily chipping away at the number of controlled drug cases.

There are a few reasons for the progress, Director Timothy Pifer says. They’ve hired two extra chemists, for one.

Another factor: Marijuana decriminalization.

New Hampshire’s state law eliminating jail time for possession of a small amount of marijuana took effect in September of 2017.

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A House committee voted Monday to recommend that a bill to legalize marijuana be sent to interim study.

It's the second time the legislation has come out of a committee with a negative recommendation–advocates view the “interim study” recommendation as "an egregious attempt" to kill the bill. In January, the full House overturned a committee recommendation to pass the bill.

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Lawmakers took more testimony Tuesday for and against a bill to legalize recreational marijuana.

Those who support legalizing marijuana say the time has come. Opponents argued the bill is an effort by advocates to get a toehold for the marijuana industry in New Hampshire.

 

Dr. William Goodman, Medical Director at Catholic Medical Center, opposed the bill on behalf of the New Hampshire Medical Society.

 

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  When it comes to marijuana policy, New Hampshire legislators continue to comb through a slew of what-if scenarios.

The review, and debate, comes on a couple of fronts:

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A bill to allow for annulment of criminal convictions for possession of small amounts of marijuana in New Hampshire has received a favorable recommendation from a House committee.

The legislation was drafted after Gov. Chris Sununu, R-Newfields, signed into law a measure to decriminalize possession of up to three-quarters of an ounce of pot. The law took effect Sept. 16, 2017. 

Vermont Governor Signs Recreational Marijuana Law

Jan 22, 2018

Vermont becomes the first state to legislatively enact a law permitting recreational marijuana, which bolsters advocates behind similar legislation in New Hampshire.

Gov. Phil Scott, a Republican, said he signed the bill into law with "mixed emotions" during a private signing, the Associated Press reports. It takes effect July 1. It allows adults to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana and have two mature and four immature plants.

Vermont is poised to legalize possession of small amounts of marijuana beginning this summer. Police along New Hampshire’s western border, though, say they’re not concerned about the policy change.

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The Weekly N.H. News Roundup on The Exchange hit the road this week and recorded before a live audience at The Barley House in Concord. The show airs at 9 a.m. and 7 p.m Friday.

Click here to see photos from the event

Host Peter Biello also fielded questions from the audience, including two about marijuana legislation.

The New Hampshire House of Representatives voted Tuesday morning in favor of legislation to legalize recreational marijuana.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

N.H. Banking Examiner Todd Wells says financial institutions may be even less likely to work with marijuana businesses after the federal government signaled a tougher stand on legalization.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions canceled an Obama-era memo last week that federal authorities would not pursue states that legalize pot for recreational or medical purposes.

The move comes as a New Hampshire commission is studying marijuana legalization. Wells referenced the AG's action during a commission meeting today.

Marijuana Policy To Be Debated At N.H. Statehouse

Dec 28, 2017
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A handful of lawmakers are proposing changes to some of the state’s policies on marijuana in 2018.

Britta Greene / NHPR

NHPR News covered hundreds of stories in 2017. They ranged from the sublime (see Todd Bookman's story about an amateur synchronized swimming team in Hancock), to the tragic - such as Jack Rodolico's Heroin Diaries, in which a wife of an overdose victim discovers his videos chronicling his struggle.

Dan Tuohy/NHPR

 

A commission studying marijuana legalization will be seeking data on youth pot use to establish a New Hampshire baseline.

The move comes after the panel heard testimony Monday from Andrew Freedman, the former director of marijuana coordination for Colorado, which has legalized marijuana.

"The problem is that baseline data doesn't exist in a lot of the metrics that we're looking at. He gave us some good ideas," Rep. Patrick Abrami, chairman of the commission, said after the hour-long presentation.

When it comes to marijuana legalization, the conflict between state and federal laws appears to be cause for concern for New Hampshire banks.

Todd Wells, Chief Bank Examiner for the New Hampshire Banking Department, says it's a matter of "reputation risk" for state-chartered banks and credit unions hesitant to establish direct relationships with marijuana-related businesses.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A House committee this week recommended against  a bill to legalize pot in the state - but advocates on both sides are continuing the debate.

Speaking today on NHPR's The Exchange, Kate Frey, vice president of advocacy for New Futures, compares the marijuana industry to the big tobacco and big alcohol industries. 

“It’s a profit-driven industry,” Frey says. “And once ‘Big Marijuana’ moves in, just like ‘Big Alcohol,’ then you have pot shops in your neighborhood, you have highly potent edible products targeted toward kids."  

A commission studying marijuana legalization is tasked with identifying “the good, the bad, and the ugly.”

That’s how Rep. Patrick Abrami sums it up. He’s the commission's chairman.

Abrami's outline of guidelines at the first meeting of the commission this week points to the workload ahead. And it hints at the disparate voices in this debate.

Abrami issued the good-bad-ugly bit to emphasize that the commission serve as a fact-finding body and that commissioners “leave our biases at home and objectively address this issue.”

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