marijuana

Vermont Governor Signs Recreational Marijuana Law

14 hours ago

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.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

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.

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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.”

United States Fish and Wildlife Service / Wikimedia Commons

A commission studying the potential impact of legalizing, regulating and taxing marijuana for recreational use in New Hampshire is starting its work.

The Legislature created the commission earlier this year, and it will hold its first meeting on Tuesday. Members include lawmakers, representatives from several state agencies and industries, including banking, law enforcement and the medical community.

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People suffering from chronic pain can now get medical marijuana in New Hampshire, thanks to a law extending the treatment to cover new conditions that takes effect this week. Later in the month, people with post-traumatic stress disorder will also qualify.

Chronic pain is the most common reason why people seek out medical marijuana, according to a National Academies of Sciences report earlier this year. Add PTSD, and New Hampshire's medical marijuana market is looking at some major changes.

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Governor Chris Sununu has signed a bill that decriminalizes small amounts of marijuana.

Under the new law set to take effect in 60 days, those in possession of up to three-quarters of an ounce would face a civil violation and be subject to a fine of up to $100 for a first offense.

Pixabay, Fotobias

Lawmakers in Vermont yesterday stopped short on a bill that would have legalized possession and sale of Marijuana. Meanwhile, in New Hampshire, a bill to decriminalize pot possession is headed to Governor Sununu, who says he’ll sign it.

And in Massachusetts, where recreational use of marijuana was approved by voters in November, lawmakers are pushing to raise taxes on marijuana and tighten regulations, for instance by requiring background checks for workers in the industry.

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A bill decriminalizing three-quarters of an ounce of marijuana in New Hampshire is headed to Governor Chris Sununu, who says he’ll sign it. 

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The New Hampshire Senate has backed a bill to make up to ¾ an ounce of marijuana a violation rather than a crime.

This is the first time the Senate has supported proposals to loosen the state’s marijuana laws.

  A bill that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana could clear a major hurdle when it goes before the state Senate this week.

The Senate has historically opposed decriminalization, but after getting the support of the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, this latest proposal appears likely to pass when it comes up for a vote Thursday.

New Hampshire is the only New England state where the possession of small amounts of the drug remains a criminal offense.

KATJA RUPP, FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

The New Hampshire Senate, which has historically rejected proposals to decriminalize marijuana, took a step toward breaking that streak Tuesday.

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  With Republican Gov. Chris Sununu on board, advocates for marijuana decriminalization hope this is the year New Hampshire joins its New England neighbors in removing criminal penalties for possessing pot.

But the measure is facing challenges in the Senate, where lawmakers aligned with police chiefs are working to water it down. Lawmakers, police and advocates agree some form of decriminalization will likely reach Sununu's desk. Up for debate, though, is what amount of weed will be decriminalized and how much discretion cops should have to make arrests.

Several proposals to loosen New Hampshire’s regulations on the use of marijuana got hearings at the Statehouse Tuesday. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The New Hampshire House worked its way Wednesday through dozens of bills.

Among the measures approved are proposed changes to the state’s drug laws and public school funding.

NHPR’s Paige Sutherland has been covering Wednesday’s session and joins All Things Considered Host Peter Biello from the Statehouse in Concord.

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New Hampshire lawmakers will tackle two controversial issues this week: gun laws and marijuana policy.

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  Maine's governor says he has signed off on the results of a referendum that legalized marijuana in the state, but he is also calling for a moratorium on sales of the drug.

Voters in Maine narrowly approved of legalized marijuana in November. Gov. Paul LePage said on Tuesday during an appearance on WVOM-FM that everything that has crossed his desk related to the election is now signed.

But the Republican governor says he remains skeptical of whether it is wise for the state to implement legalized marijuana for recreational use.

By martinalonso4895 via Flickr CC / https://www.flickr.com/photos/martinalonsophotography/21005120690

Recreational marijuana is now officially legal in Massachusetts. But what does that mean, and what can New Hampshire residents expect now that they're surrounded by legal recreational marijuana?  

WBUR's Martha Bebinger spoke with NHPR's Peter Biello to discuss this new law.  

So Martha, it’s legal in Massachusetts now, but folks in New Hampshire should know that it’s not quite time to cross the border to buy some, correct?

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  As of Thursday, it’s legal to grow, use, and possess marijuana in Massachusetts.

Voters there approved a referendum in November legalizing the drug. And with Maine in the midst of a recount of a similar referendum, it’s possible New Hampshire could soon be bordered by two states where pot is legal.

New Hampshire remains the only New England state that hasn't decriminalized the drug.

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  It is now legal in Massachusetts for adults to possess, grow and use limited amounts of recreational marijuana.

While the voter-approved law took effect Thursday, it will be at least another year before the state issues retail licenses to sell the drug. For now, that leaves recreational users with little choice but to buy it from illegal dealers.

Marijuana advocates say they're happy to see the law take effect, but worried that lawmakers and Republican Gov. Charlie Baker will try to change it.

Photo Credit Katja Rupp, via Flickr Creative Commons

Lest there’s any confusion as Maine and Massachusetts move to loosen their drug laws, New Hampshire police want to make one thing clear about marijuana use in the Granite State.

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New Hampshire lawmakers say legalization of marijuana in Maine and Massachusetts should increase the chance of passing similar laws in the Granite State, while police officials say they'll continue to arrest people found in possession of pot until the law changes.

brooklyntheborough via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/5RyRoi

It's here - the day of reckoning for the most bitter, acrimonious, controversial election in recent memory. But not, it might be a relief to know, in American history. Today, some historical perspective on contentious elections with Brady Carlson: and spoiler alert - our democracy survived.

Then we'll check in with transhumanist presidential candidate Zoltan Istvan who is just one of the nineteen hundred people who decided to run for president this year. We'll talk to him about what it was like to be on the campaign trail for over a year and what he learned.

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