Governors Veto of Medical Marijuana in New Hampshire Stands
Although a medical marijuana bill in New Hampshire passed an overwhelming vote in the state House and had enough votes to pass the state Senate before going on to the state’s Democrat Governor, it will not be a reality in New Hampshire this year.
SB 409 was recently vetoed by NH Governor John Lynch, and although there were enough votes to override the veto in the House, the Senate came up three votes short of making medical marijuana legal for certain ailments in the state.
Things were going to be even closer, but according to The Marijuana Policy Project, two Democratic Senators, Lou D’Allesandro and Sylvia Larsen, reversed their prior “yes” votes and backed their Governor by voting “no.”
This year’s events are essentially a replay of what happened in 2009, when Governor Lynch vetoed a medical marijuana bill and the Senate came up a few votes short of overriding him.
But things may be looking up in NH as Governor Lynch has served four terms as is not seeking reelection in 2012. You have to think that a new Governor in New Hampshire will see the writing on the wall and will support and sign a solid medical marijuana bill.
There are many people in every state that deserve to be able to legally choose between cannabis and dangerous and addictive prescription drugs. And hopefully New Hampshire will soon join other medical marijuana states in New England like Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
Medical marijuana is very popular around the country, and there is only one reason more states don’t have patient protections yet. It’s because those who favor medical cannabis don’t speak up enough. Let your representatives know that you support medical marijuana, and that your vote for them depends on how well they represent you.
Grass Roots Activism
There are many forms of activism. You can tell your friends, family and co-workers about what you believe, you can donate time or money to a campaign, you can even opine on any subject and share it with people all over the world on the internet.
In the video below you get to see one of the most basic, ground-level forms of activism there is: signature gathering. If there is something on your state ballot you support, it likely got there through signature gathering. It’s a mechanism whereby state officials know a lot of people want a chance to vote on something; it’s one of the pillars of our form of government.
In the video below Mike Cann and friends gather signatures for marijuana legalization in Massachusetts and to get Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson on the statewide ballot. If you’re good at interacting with the public and are looking for ways to get active in the marijuana law reform, search the internet for any local measures that are in the signature gathering phase. If there are none, see how you go about starting a ballot issue of your own.
The World Wide Web is full of great information for getting more active in your favorite issues, just find what you’re the most passionate about.
Medical Marijuana Patients
Medical Marijuana Regulation Bill in California Must Wait Another Year
AB 2312, the medical marijuana regulation bill sponsored by San Francisco Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, will have to wait until next year for consideration. The bill passed the Assembly last month, but stalled in the Senate.
"I want the votes and I want the governor to sign this thing," Ammiano said. "It's still in play. We have some success under our belt and the best thing is the committee itself will now partner with me, they will help shepherd this." Now a Senate committee that deals with professional licenses will hold a hearing on the bill and study the issue further. Ammiano then plans on introducing a revised bill in 2013.
The current bill had been watered down some to secure passage in the Assembly, with restrictions on how cities could ban dispensaries being softened.
"In a sense, a lot of progress has been made, but we are also happy to go back to the drawing board to make sure we are all on the same page in terms of who this bill is supposed to help," said Kris Hermes, spokesman for the medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for safe Access.
Hopefully another year will gain enough support in both chambers of the legislature to get a solid bill passed and signed into law.
There are perhaps more than a million medical cannabis patients in California and they have the right to equal and fair treatment under state law. Federal law is another matter, and the feds will continue to do all they can to cripple the state’s medicinal marijuana industry.
But the least that state politicians can do is make sure there is a solid framework of clear rules and regulations for medical cannabis operators to exist under. And everything in a new bill should advance the goal of patients in the state having full and safe access to their medicine.
Medical Marijuana Returning to Fort Collins, CO Ballot
On Tuesday the Fort Collins, Colorado City Clerk’s Office confirmed that a citizen initiative to repeal the ban on medical marijuana dispensaries in the city has enough signatures to make the ballot this fall.
“We have certified it,” said acting City Clerk Rita Harris. “We stopped counting after we had verified 4,302 signatures (4,214 were needed), and there are 743 more signature lines that were not checked. I don’t think anything would have changed the outcome.”
“We feel great,” said initiative organizer Kirk Scramstad. “We’re happy that we collected the signatures that we have collected. We feel that shows that here is support for this issue within the city of Fort Collins, and we look forward to giving a larger number of voters a chance to vote on this issue in November.”
Organizers submitted about 9,000 signatures last week, and over half of them were thrown out.
Last year Fort Collins voters decided to ban dispensaries, and the proposed repeal of the ban would still prohibit dispensaries within 1,000 feet of a school or a playground and within 500 feet of a church, childcare center or recreation site. Plus, the number of dispensaries would be limited to one for every 500 registered medical marijuana patients.
If something was being banned that served just about any other group, cries of discrimination would come from everywhere, so why are medical marijuana patients allowed to be discriminated against? Just because they choose a safer form of medicine?
Propaganda about medical cannabis dispensaries still works, which is why it must be fought at every turn. They are not crime magnets but businesses just like any other with valuable merchandise. With good security they can be an asset to any neighborhood, and a great source of tax revenue for any city or town.
Michigan Court says MMJ Patients can be Arrested without their Paperwork
Things continue to evolve in Michigan, as they have since voters approved medical marijuana in the state in 2008.
A new Michigan Court of Appeals ruling says that legal medical marijuana patients can still be arrested for possession of cannabis, if they don’t have their state-issued medical marijuana registry card or application at a “reasonably accessible” location for law enforcement to see. Legal patients will still be able to produce their paperwork in court as their defense.
Last month the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that medical marijuana can be used as an affirmative defense by legal patients in the state (http://www.thcfinder.com/marijuana-blog/medical-marijuana/2012/06/michigan-supreme-court-says-states-mmj-law-shields-patients-from-prosecution).
"Defendant still has one more hurdle to overcome to be entitled to immunity from prosecution; he must also establish that at the time of his arrest he was engaged in the medical use of marijuana in accordance with the (Michigan Medical Marihuana Act)," the appeals judges wrote in the decision.
Things have been rough for some patients and caregivers in Michigan when dealing with local and state law enforcement, and hopefully these rulings will go a long way toward avoiding animosity-inducing interactions. In this way more patients can be helped and the medical cannabis industry in Michigan can grow faster, a win-win for everyone.
Michigan is a heavily-populated state, meaning there are many people who can benefit from medical cannabis. They should be able to choose a safer alternative to deadly and addictive prescription drugs.
The medical marijuana law in Michigan has the potential to become a model for states still discussing the possibility of medicinal marijuana legalization, and it may take the courts to decide exactly what’s legal at this point. While we don’t want courts making laws, many times they are vital in clearing up the finer points of existing law.
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