The absence of Gov. Maggie Hassan at the Senate Health and Human Services made no difference as she was present on everyone’s mind.
The committee witnessed many passionate testimonies from people who were in favour of amending the state’s new medical marijuana law to let the certified patients grow two plants until the state-licensed dispensaries open.
However, Hassan has repeatedly stated that she will not be in support of letting people to grow their own marijuana and with various proposed changes to the law that are up for debate this year, few senators looked a little reluctant to test her on this specific issue.
“As much as I want and I know everyone here wants to do the right thing for people, I don’t want us to swing for the fence knowing we would have been happy with a double,” said Sen. Andy Sanborn, a Bedford Republican. “We need someone to get with the governor and see what she can live with.”
Hassan’s position has not changed: “She continues to share the concerns of law enforcement about the state’s ability to effectively regulate a home-grow option,” Deputy Press Secretary William Hinkle said in a statement yesterday.
The bill 227-73 was passed by the House last month with no debate.
The Committee Chairwoman Nancy Stiles, a Republican from Hampton stated that she is highly uncertain that the Senate will pass a home-grow provision one year after killing a more or less similar provision.
She also said that she wants people to have access to this provision as soon as possible but it should be done the way it is intended to be.
Senate President, Chuck Morse, a Republican from Salem, did not support medical marijuana in the past. Jeb Bradley, a majority leader, a Wolfeboro Republican was in support of a 2012 bill that would have let people to grow marijuana in their home premises. However, he was not available yesterday for comment.
Several patients along with their advocates are pursuing many changes to the law as it can take years together for dispensaries to open.
A couple of months ago, the state was advised by the attorney general’s office to not to issue patient registration cards for the usage of medical marijuana until the dispensaries open.
One change that is expected to be proposed as an amendment to another bill deals with the state to issue registration cards in the month of July. Another change gives a seat to the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police on the advisory council analysing the program. A member of the association is currently serving on the council in the seat that is allocated for a member of the public.