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  • by NORML May 24, 2017

    Cannabis PenaltiesRepublican Gov. Phil Scott today rejected legislation, Senate Bill 22, that sought to eliminate criminal and civil penalties for the adult use and possession of marijuana. The Governor said that he did not support the legislation as written, but remains open to working with lawmakers over the summer on ways to amend the state’s cannabis policies.

    Representatives from the Vermont Association of Police Chiefs, the Vermont Medical Society, and the Vermont American Academy of Pediatrics were among those groups opposing S. 22.

    “It is disappointing that Gov. Scott would not only defy the will of state legislators, but also the will of the majority of Vermont voters who support ending criminal penalties for those adults who consume cannabis responsibly,” NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said. “Minor marijuana possession offenders should not be saddled with a criminal record and the lifelong penalties and stigma associated with it. Rather than looking to the future, Gov. Scott seems intent on repeating the failures of the past.”

    Senate Bill 22 would have amended state law so that the possession of up to one ounce of cannabis and/or the cultivation of up to two mature plants (and up to four immature plants) would have no longer been subject to penalty, beginning July 1, 2018. It also established a nine member commission to make recommendations to the legislature regarding how best to regulate the adult use marijuana market.

    State lawmakers approved the measure earlier this month. It was the first time that a legislative body ever approved legislation eliminating criminal and civil penalties for adults who possess or grow marijuana for non-medical purposes.

    House lawmakers in 2016 rejected similar legislation. That measure had been supported by former Gov. Peter Shumlin.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director April 10, 2017

    3410000930_95fc2866fa_zRepublican Gov. Susana Martinez has vetoed legislation, House Bill 527, which would have greatly expanded the state’s decade-old medical cannabis program.

    For those keeping track, this is the third marijuana-related bill the Governor has vetoed this legislative session. In March, Gov. Martinez rejected without explanation a pair of measures that sought to license the cultivation of industrial hemp in compliance with Section 7606 of the Federal Farm Act. Governor Martinez previously received a ‘F’ grade on NORML’s 2016 Gubernatorial Report Card.

    In her veto statement of HB 527, the Governor opined that she did not favor adding new qualifying conditions by legislative action. She specifically expressed concerns regarding the use of cannabis for those suffering from opioid dependence, and for those patients registered in other states. Studies report that the use of cannabis is associated with a reduction in opioid use, abuse, mortality, and hospitalizations.

    Had HB 527 been signed into law, it would have permitted qualified patients to receive organ transplants, it would have expanded the list of qualifying illnesses for which medical cannabis may be recommended, and it would established reciprocity for non-residents, among other changes.

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director June 27, 2012

    Members of the New Hampshire state Senate this morning failed to override Governor John Lynch’s veto of SB 409, which sought to allow for the personal possession, cultivation, and use of cannabis by qualified patients. The Senate voted 13 to 10 to override the Governor’s veto. However, 16 total ‘yes’ votes were necessary to achieve the two-thirds Senate majority necessary to enact SB 409 into law.

    Although House members had overwhelmingly backed SB 409, Senate support for the measure had consistently been more evenly split, with Senate members having previously voted 13-9 in favor of the bill. According to a MPP news release, two Democratic Senators, Lou D’Allesandro and Sylvia Larsen, reversed their prior ‘yes’ votes on the bill and decided to uphold the veto of Gov. Lynch, who is also a Democrat.

    In 2009, Gov. Lynch vetoed a separate medicinal cannabis law. That year, members of the Senate also fell just shy of the votes necessary to override him.

    While today’s outcome is disappointing, the future nonetheless looks bright for the passage medical cannabis legalization in New Hampshire. Lynch, a four-term governor, recently announced that he would not be seeking re-election in 2012. Hopefully, New Hampshire’s next Governor will listen to the will of its people and to the majority of state lawmakers and sign medical marijuana legalization into law. If so, the Granite State will soon join fellow New England states Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island, and Vermont — all of which now allow for the possession and use of cannabis as a medicine.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director June 21, 2012

    As anticipated, Gov. John Lynch, a Democrat, today vetoed Senate Bill 409, which sought to allow for the personal possession, cultivation, and use of cannabis by qualified patients.

    The measure now returns to House and Senate lawmakers, who have the power to enact SB 409 absent the Governor’s approval. On Wednesday, June 27, both chambers will vote on whether or not to override the Governor’s veto.

    Gov. Lynch’s actions, though disappointing, were anticipated. The four-term governor, who recently announced that he would not be seeking re-election in 2012, had previously vetoed medicinal cannabis legalization in 2009 and had vowed to do likewise this year. That is why ever since the passage of SB 409, lawmakers and activists have been lobbying legislators, particularly Senate lawmakers, to assure that the measure possesses super-majority support in both chambers.

    To review: House lawmakers on June 6 affirmed their support for SB 409 via a voice vote. They had previously voted in favor of the measure by the two-thirds majority necessary to override a veto by the Governor. (The actual vote was 236 to 96.) The Senate vote, however, was a different matter. In that chamber, lawmakers gave final approval to the bill by a vote of 13 to 9, a gain of two ‘yes’ votes since the Senate had previously acted on the bill in March, yet just shy of the two-thirds majority votes needed to override a veto. (A co-sponsor of the bill, Senator John Gallus, R-Berlin, was not present for the June 6 Senate vote.)

    In short, two additional Senate ‘yes’ votes are needed to make New Hampshire the 18th state to allow for the limited legalization of cannabis therapy.

    If you reside in the Granite State, the actions you take over the following days can help make this a reality. Click here to go to NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ today to see how your Senator voted and to urge him or her to vote ‘yes’ this Wednesday on SB 209.

    Additional information on this campaign is available from the Marijuana Policy Project here and from NH Compassion here.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director April 14, 2011

    Yesterday, Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer — a Democrat — vetoed House Bill 161, a GOP-backed measure to repeal the state’s six-year-old medical marijuana law.

    NORML would like to thank its allies, particularly Montana NORML and Patients and Families United for their tireless work on behalf of this issue, as well as all of you who took the time to contact the Governor and urged him to kill this draconian measure.

    Unfortunately, Montana’s 28,000+ patients are not out of the woods just yet. In recent weeks, lawmakers have gotten behind a separate effort, Senate Bill 423, to severely restrict existing patients’ access to cannabis. According to a summary of the measure in the Billings Gazette: “The latest version of SB423 seeks to greatly limit the number of people licensed to use medical marijuana, now at 28,300, with backers hoping to bring that number fewer than 2,000. SB423 first would repeal the current law and shut down medical pot growing and dispensing operations on July 1.”

    Our allies Patients and Families United have called SB 423, as presently amended, “Repeal in Disguise.” You can learn more about this measure and its up-to-date status on the P&FU Facebook page here or on the Montana NORML Facebook page here. Action alerts regarding this measure are available at the Montana NORML homepage. You can also contact/call your specific individual state lawmakers and urge them to vote ‘no’ on SB 423 via the Montana Government’s ‘Find a Legislator’ page here.

    You may also wish to contact the office of Gov. Schweitzer and thank him for his veto decision, and also urge him to continue to stand up for Montana’s patients. E-mail or call the Governor here.

    No state has ever repealed or severely restricted their medical marijuana following its implementation. Do not let Montana be the first. Get active; get NORML.

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