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Mass. Lawmakers to Hear Testimony on Medical Marijuana Restrictions

June 13th

BOSTON, MA — Lawmakers on Beacon Hill will hear public testimony next week on four proposals to add restrictions to Massachusetts’ yet-to-be-implemented medical marijuana law.

All four bills are designed to allow landlords, property owners, and municipal governments to ban the use of medical marijuana without such bans being considered discrimination due to a medical condition.

The four bills, all introduced by Rep. Cleon H. Turner (D-Dennis) and co-sponsored by lawmakers who have voted against sensible marijuana legislation in the passed, will be heard by the Joint Committee on The Judiciary next Wednesday, June 19, beginning at 1:00 pm in room A-1 at the State House.

House Bill 1663 would allow cities, towns, districts, school districts and regional school districts to regulate, including prohibiting, the use of marijuana, including medical use of marijuana used for medicinal purposes.

House Bill 2101 extends any existing marijuana smoking ban enacted by cities, towns, districts, school districts or regional school to automatically include medical marijuana, unless they vote to allow smoking medical marijuana on their properties.

House Bill 1664 would give landlords the ability to regulate or. . . . . READ MORE

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Maine Lawmakers Expand Medical Marijuana Program to Include PTSD

June 13th

AUGUSTA, ME — Lawmakers in Maine have passed a bill that will expand the list of qualifying ailments for medical marijuana to include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), inflammatory bowel disease, dyskinetic and spastic movement disorders, and other diseases causing severe and persistent muscle spasms.

Lawmakers in both chambers voted Wednesday to approve the bill, “An Act To Add Conditions That Qualify for Medical Marijuana Use.”

The bill, LD 1062, was originally suggested by the Committee on Health and Human Services, and was sponsored by six lawmakers, including Rep. Diane Russell (D-Portland).

New Mexico, Connecticut and Delaware are the only states that specifically recognize PTSD as an eligible condition for medical marijuana.  Lawmakers in Oregon passed a bill earlier this month to expand their medical marijuana program to allow treatment of post-traumatic stress.

A small handful of other states, like California, allow doctors the discretion to legally recommend marijuana for PTSD patients.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is an anxiety disorder that is estimated to impact some eight million Amer. . . . . READ MORE

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Maine Lawmakers Won’t Put Marijuana Referendum on Ballot

June 11th

AUGUSTA, ME – If Maine residents want to legalize marijuana via the popular vote, they may have to do it themselves. Last Friday, a bill that would have called for a referendum on marijuana legalization fell four votes short in the House.

Then, on Monday, the Senate “placed the bill in legislative files,” officially killing the bill.

The bill, LD 1229, sponsored by Rep. Diane Russell (D-Portland), was a detailed tax, regulate, and legalize marijuana measure when first introduced.

But, with a lack of support among colleagues, the bill was amended to merely call for a popular referendum. Even that watered down version couldn’t pass the House.

During debate on the bill last Friday, Russell argued that if legislators failed to act, it was likely that activists would put a legalization initiative before voters through the citizens’ initiative process, and that then, lawmakers wou. . . . . READ MORE

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Maine Marijuana Legalization Initiative Falls Short by 4 Votes on House Floor; Senate to Vote Soon

June 10th

AUGUSTA, ME — On Friday, marijuana reformers recorded the closest vote for a legalization measure on the floor of a state legislature in recent history.

Rep. Diane Russell’s LD 1229, which would place the question of legalization before Maine voters this fall, was narrowly rejected in a 71 to 67 vote. We only managed to get this vote so close because of the outpouring of support via phone and email that Representatives heard from their constituents. Never doubt the power that making you opinion known to your elected officials has a very quantifiable effect.

Legalize-Maine-2013The good news is that the fight for legalization in Maine still isn’t over for this year. Representative Russell just informed us that she intends to continue the fight for legalization to the floor of the State Senate.  The Senate will vote on LD 1229 as soon as Monday.

Maine residents, this is our final chance for this year, we need to give it everything we have. There is strong support for this legislation in. . . . . READ MORE

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Vermont Gov. Signs Bill Marijuana Decriminalization Bill into Law

June 9th

MONTPELIER, VT – Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) signed into law Thursday a bill decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana. That makes Vermont the 17th state to decriminalize, including all of its neighboring New England states except New Hampshire.

Introduced by Rep. Christopher Pearson (P-Burlington) and passed with tripartisan support, House Bill 200 removes criminal penalties for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and replaces them with a civil fine, similar to a traffic ticket. People under 21 will be required to undergo substance abuse screening.

Under current state law, possession of up to two ounces of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail for a first offense and up to two years in jail for a subsequent offense.

“This change just makes common sense,” Shumlin said as he signed the bill. “Our limited resources should be focused on reducing abuse and addiction of opiates like heroin and meth rather than cracking down on people for having very small amounts of marijuana.”

Earlier this week, Shumlin signed a package of bills aimed at reducing problems associated with opiate use, including measures designed to reduce opiate overdose deaths.

“We applaud Gov. Shumlin, the state’s top law enforcement officials, and the legislature for their leadership and support of this importan. . . . . READ MORE

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Vermont Gov. Signs Bill Marijuana Decriminalization Bill into Law

June 8th

MONTPELIER, VT – Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) signed into law Thursday a bill decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana. That makes Vermont the 17th state to decriminalize, including all of its neighboring New England states except New Hampshire.

Introduced by Rep. Christopher Pearson (P-Burlington) and passed with tripartisan support, House Bill 200 removes criminal penalties for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and replaces them with a civil fine, similar to a traffic ticket. People under 21 will be required to undergo substance abuse screening.

Under current state law, possession of up to two ounces of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail for a first offense and up to two years in jail for a subsequent offense.

“This change just makes common sense,” Shumlin said as he signed the bill. “Our limited resources should be focused on reducing abuse and addiction of opiates like heroin and meth rather than cracking down on people for having very small amounts of marijuana.”

Earlier this week, Shumlin signed a package of bills aimed at reducing problems associated with opiate use, including measures designed to reduce opiate overdose deaths.

“We applaud Gov. Shumlin, the state’s top law enforcement officials, and the legislature for their leadership and support of this importan. . . . . READ MORE

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New Hampshire Lawmakers Continue to Hash Out Medical Marijuana Law

June 3rd

Medical marijuana dispensaries

CONCORD, NH — The New Hampshire Senate last Thursday approved medical marijuana legislation, but removed language allowing patients to grow their own and protecting them from arrest before state ID cards are issued.

The House in March had approved the bill with those provisions, so now it goes before a conference committee to try to reconcile differences.

The Senate version also came with several other amendments, including reducing the number of state-licensed dispensaries, requiring that patients get written permission from a property owner before being able to use medical marijuana on privately owned land, and eliminating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from the list of eligible conditions for marijuana use.

Sponsored by Rep. Donna Schlachman (D-Exeter), House Bill 573, would allow state residents with serious illnesses, su. . . . . READ MORE

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Legal Appeal in the Rich Paul Marijuana Case

June 3rd

KEENE, NH — As Rich Paul sits in jail, supporters this week announced plans for an appeal of his marijuana conviction. New Hampshire’s most prominent advocate for cannabis legalization could be released during the appeals process.

During his trial, jury nullification was the basis of Paul’s defense strategy. New Hampshire is unique among the states, in that defense attorneys have the right to argue nullification before a jury.

However, in his instructions to the jury, the judge told the jurors that they “must follow my instructions, and ignore the statements of the lawyer,”  thus the foundation of the appeal.

Mr. Paul faces sentencing on June 7th, after which he will be moved from the county jail to the state prison system, though with his honor intact.

While the appeals process may release him temporarily, everyone hopes for an appeals victory which would completely free him. More than that, an appeal done well and successfully will set precedent in drug cases based on jury nullification.

The precedent would be binding only in NH, but the case law could have some degree of effect nationwide. It would also be a motivation for legal theorists and legislators across the. . . . . READ MORE

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Legal Appeal in the Rich Paul Marijuana Case

June 3rd

KEENE, NH — As Rich Paul sits in jail, supporters this week announced plans for an appeal of his marijuana conviction. New Hampshire’s most prominent advocate for cannabis legalization could be released during the appeals process.

During his trial, jury nullification was the basis of Paul’s defense strategy. New Hampshire is unique among the states, in that defense attorneys have the right to argue nullification before a jury.

However, in his instructions to the jury, the judge told the jurors that they “must follow my instructions, and ignore the statements of the lawyer,”  thus the foundation of the appeal.

Mr. Paul faces sentencing on June 7th, after which he will be moved from the county jail to the state prison system, though with his honor intact.

While the appeals process may release him temporarily, everyone hopes for an appeals victory which would completely free him. More than that, an appeal done well and successfully will set precedent in drug cases based on jury nullification.

The precedent would be binding only in NH, but the case law could have some degree of effect nationwide. It would also be a motivation for legal theorists and legislators across the. . . . . READ MORE

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admin has written 2733 posts on What Is Marijuana?

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New Hampshire Lawmakers Continue to Hash Out Medical Marijuana Law

June 3rd

Medical marijuana dispensaries

CONCORD, NH — The New Hampshire Senate last Thursday approved medical marijuana legislation, but removed language allowing patients to grow their own and protecting them from arrest before state ID cards are issued.

The House in March had approved the bill with those provisions, so now it goes before a conference committee to try to reconcile differences.

The Senate version also came with several other amendments, including reducing the number of state-licensed dispensaries, requiring that patients get written permission from a property owner before being able to use medical marijuana on privately owned land, and eliminating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from the list of eligible conditions for marijuana use.

Sponsored by Rep. Donna Schlachman (D-Exeter), House Bill 573, would allow state residents with serious illnesses, su. . . . . READ MORE

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