marijuana

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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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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In states all across the country, the days of pot prohibition are coming to an end. Today, critics say new regulations favor so-called the "Walmart weed" industry and put the squeeze on home growers.

Plus, Derrick Hamilton has never been to law school - but that hasn't stopped him from filing federal complaints against inhumane treatment of inmates, and helping others obtain hearings. He also fought the wrongful that put him in jail for 21 years. We'll talk with a jailhouse lawyer who was set up, but still believes in the power of the law.

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 The New Hampshire House has again voted decriminalize marijuana. This proposal would make first offense possession of a 1/4 ounce or less a violation.

The 289-58 vote marked the seventh time house lawmakers have tried to make marijuana possession a violation.

Backers of this proposal, like Hampton Democrat Renny Cushing pitched it as a middle ground.

"This is a compromise that will allow us to have first time offenders who have a small amount of marijuana escape a lifetime of draconian punishment for that and have a second chance."

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The New Hampshire Senate has rejected a bill to decriminalize possession of up to a half-ounce of marijuana. But opponents say it would be wrong to reduce marijuana penalties in the midst of an opioid crisis.

While the New Hampshire house has repeatedly voted to decriminalize marijuana, the policy has never found favor in the senate. This time was no different. MIlford Republican Gary Daniels compares the state's fight against heroin and Fentayl to a war. He says now would be the wrong time to convey a tolerant attitude towards marijuana.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

After a slow week at the State House, lawmakers will have long session days in both chambers with roughly 60 bills on the docket in the House and Senate. 

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Both the New Hampshire House and Senate will be in session this week but with a pretty light agenda – only about 20 bills are on the docket in both chambers.

But lawmakers will still hold dozens of public hearings – some to look at loosening up the state’s drug laws and others to build them up.

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A bill that aims make it easier for judges to treat the possession of an ounce or less of marijuana as a violation is winning favor at the state house and has the  support of the  New Hampshire Association of Police Chiefs, which has always opposed loosening state drug laws.

Marijuana decriminalization has passed the New Hampshire House several times. But no decriminalization bill has won favor in the senate. One reason why is the staunch opposition by New Hampshire law enforcement.

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With growing concerns nationally and in New Hampshire about a large and expensive prison population, the House recently passed a bill to repeal mandatory minimum sentences for some offenses. And then later we'll look at another House measure to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.

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  Advocates of decriminalizing marijuana say they're hopeful lawmakers will finally send a bill to the governor this year. 

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New Hampshire residents hoping to get access to medical marijuana are still waiting for the state’s dispensaries to open

Right now, those new facilities still have to go through a few more rounds of inspections before they can open their doors and start serving patients. Once they do open, patients will only be able to visit one dispensary at a time. And for residents in the northernmost region of the state, the nearest dispensary could be at least two hours away.

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A bill that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana goes before a House committee Tuesday.

The proposal would make possession of up to a half ounce a civil violation with a fine of no more than $100 for a first offense.

Possession of greater amounts would remain a criminal offense.

New Hampshire is the only New England state where the possession of any amount of marijuana remains a criminal offense.

A similar bill passed the House last year, but was tabled in the Senate.

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