NH Finance Panel Clears Medical Marijuana Bill

Friday, 11 May 2012 12:19 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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The New Hampshire House Finance Committee has changed a medical marijuana bill to fund a proposed program through private donations rather than state fees charged to patients.
 
Both the state House and Senate, according to the New Hampshire Union Leader, had already approved the bill. But the amended version will now have to be approved by both chambers before being sent on to Republican Gov. John Lynch, who has vowed to veto it.
 
The original bill called for the program to be administered through identification card fees charged to patients. But that proposal was rejected, according to Republican finance committee member Paul Simard. 
 
“The testimony we heard was that this could be funded entirely through gifts and donations,” Simard said, noting a cost estimate of $200,000 to get the program up and running.
 
The amended bill calls for the establishment of a “Registry Identification Card Fund” to accept gifts, grants and donations of all sizes, without approval from state officials. However, the state Treasury would oversee the fund.
 
If it becomes law, the measure would allow patients or caregivers to possess up to six ounces of marijuana at home and up to two ounces when away from home. Patients and caregivers would also be allowed to grow up to four plants in a secured environment known to police.
 
According to the Union Leader, Lynch opposes the measure because he shares the view of state law enforcement officials who worry the medical program could be abused and lead to increased marijuana use across the state.
 
At the moment, the state House has enough votes to override a veto, but the Senate is still three votes shy of a two-thirds majority to do the same, according to the Union Leader.
 

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