The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled public hearings for five cannabis bills on April 20, beginning at 1pm. The list of bills includes HB 431 (home cultivation) and HB 639 (adult-use legalization). These hearings will take place in Room 100 of the State House in Concord.
Here’s a quick rundown on the five bills, in the order they are scheduled:
1pm: HB 360 would legalize cannabis for adults with no limits or regulations. The Senate seems very unlikely to take this bill seriously. Prime ATC has not taken a position on HB 360.
1:15pm: HB 431 would legalize home cultivation for registered patients and caregivers. Prime ATC supports HB 431.
1:30pm: HB 610 would make it easier for patients to be certified with a “severe pain” diagnosis. If it passes, the current requirements that patients have “not responded to previously prescribed medication or surgical measures” or that they have experienced “serious side effects” from other treatment options would be deleted. This is important because patients should not have to try opioids or surgeries before being certified for therapeutic cannabis. Prime ATC supports HB 610.
2:00pm: HB 611 would allow therapeutic cannabis certifications by any New Hampshire medical provider who is licensed to prescribe drugs to humans and possesses an active DEA registration. Many patients report that they have difficulty finding a provider who is knowledgeable about therapeutic cannabis. This bill would help by allowing a broader range of providers, including naturopathic doctors, to certify patients. The bill would also allow family practice providers who provide pediatric care to certify minor patients. Currently, N.H. requires two certifications for minor patients, and one must be from a pediatrician. However, this is problematic because many children are served by family practice providers rather than pediatricians. Prime ATC supports HB 611.
2:15pm: HB 639 would legalize cannabis for adults 21 and older and regulate cannabis production and sale by private businesses. Unlike last year’s HB 1598, this bill prioritizes the needs of patients and does not threaten the ongoing viability of the Therapeutic Cannabis Program. You can read more about this bill and why Prime ATC supports it here.
Note: most of these hearings are scheduled for only 15 minutes, but some will surely last much longer. As a result, the hearing on HB 639 may begin much later than the scheduled time of 2:15. In other words, we should expect this to be a long afternoon.
How Can You Support These Bills?
If you’d like to help advance cannabis policy reforms in New Hampshire, this is the week to get involved! The Senate has blocked reform efforts in the past, so it’s very important that senators hear from their constituents on this issue.
Here are five ways you can support any or all of these bills:
(1) Sign in to indicate your support to the committee.
It’s easy to sign in and register your support from home. Just visit the Senate’s remote sign-in page and follow these simple steps! You can do this now or anytime between now and April 20. If you choose to attend the hearing in person, there will be a sign-in sheet in the committee room for each bill.
(2) Call or email your state senator.
There are only 24 state senators in N.H., so each vote is critical. If you don’t already know who your senator is, you can look them up and find their contact information here. Sending a personal email may take more time than signing in on the remote sign-in page, but it is well worth doing. If senators don’t hear from enough supporters who live in their district, they may use that as an excuse to vote “no.”
You can also call your senator’s office and ask for their support. The call will likely either be answered by a staff member or go to voice mail. Here’s a sample script you can use:
“Hi, my name is ________ and I live in ________(city or town). I’m calling to ask that Senator ________ support HB ___.” Feel free to mention as many bills as you’d like. You can also briefly explain why you support cannabis policy reform, but it’s best to keep your message short and sweet.
(3) Call or email Gov. Chris Sununu.
In the past, Gov. Chris Sununu has not supported home cultivation for registered patients and caregivers or adult-use legalization. If you’d like to share your opinions with his office, you may do so via this webform or by calling his office. The number is 603-271-2121. You can use the same script as above, substituting “Governor” for “Senator.”
(4) Testify at the hearing or submit written testimony.
If you’d like to testify in person, you can sign up in the committee room. Due to time constraints, we should limit our testimony to no more than two or three minutes per person.
If you’d like to submit written testimony or simply email the committee members to express your opinions, visit the committee’s webpage and click “Email Entire Committee.”
(5) Share details with your friends!
Do your friends support cannabis policy reform? Do they know the Senate will soon be considering these bills? Share our blog and encourage your friends to take action!
IMPORTANT: If you decide to testify at the public hearing or communicate with elected officials, please be courteous and respectful. Elected officials tend to respond unfavorably if advocates appear disrespectful of the legislative process.
Thank you for your interest in improving N.H. cannabis policies!