Minor changes proposed to medical marijuana bill
CONCORD — Minor changes were proposed to a complex medical marijuana bill on Tuesday, as House and Senate negotiators sought to reconcile differences between their two versions of the legislation.
House members of the conference committee were largely supportive of changes backed by SB 409’s chief sponsor, Sen. Jim Forsythe, R-Strafford.
The most significant change concerns a potential expansion of who would be eligible for a marijuana prescription. Under the original bill, only those diagnosed with an ailment specifically mentioned in the bill, such as cancer, glaucoma or HIV, would be able to get a prescription. Under the amended bill, other conditions could be treated with marijuana, provided the Health and Human Services commissioner determines that they are “severely debilitating or terminal.”
The underlying bill would allow a patient or a registered caregiver to possess up to six ounces of†marijuana†or cultivate up to four plants within a locked and secured facility in a location known to law enforcement.†
A patient or caregiver would also be allowed to possess up to two ounces away from home.
While wide margins in the House and Senate passed the bill, it faces a certain veto from Gov. John Lynch, who has cited law enforcement concerns about drug proliferation.
Based on its vote in March, the Senate is three votes short of the three-fifths majority needed for an override.
Forsythe said he remained optimistic. “I think there’s the potential to override the veto. We have to continue educating people,” he said.
The conference committee is slated to meet again Wednesday to sign off on the bill.
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