Garry Rayno's State House Dome: Recurring issues on 2014 agenda
One change was predictable: a proposal to allow patients who qualify for the program to grow their own marijuana. A home-grow provision would give immediate relief to patients suffering from the effects of chemotherapy and to people who are chronically or terminally ill, said the proposed bill's sponsor, Rep. Donald Wright, R-Moultonborough. He was also a co-sponsor of House Bill 573, which was signed into law by Gov. Maggie Hassan on July 23.
As it stands, patients will have to wait for a year or more for four regional dispensaries to be established before marijuana will be available.
Matt Simon of the Marijuana Policy Project said he hopes the department has a good start on rule making, and he expects a report when the Therapeutic Use of Cannabis Advisory Council holds its first meeting, Thursday at 2 p.m. in the Legislative Office Building.
"Certainly that became a controversial part of the bill this year, and no one wanted to sacrifice the entire bill and risk not passing anything," Simon said. "It made sense to bring it back as a stand-alone bill and see if it passes."
"I've had some conversations with law enforcement, and one thing was the bill allowed someone to purchase 2 ounces of marijuana every 10 days," Wright said. "That seems like it could be excessive, so we would draw that out to 30 days, like most other states."
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First Filed: Two weeks ago, House members were able to begin filing requests to draft bills, which signals the start of the 2014 session.
Rep. Renny Cushing, D-Hampton, filed the bill request. Cushing has long advocated eliminating the death penalty.
The death penalty statute was expanded to include murder committed during a home invasion after Kimberly Cates of Mont Vernon was murdered and her daughter badly injured by four teenagers who picked their home at random to kill whoever was inside.
Cushing opposes the death penalty even though his father, Robert Cushing, was gunned down by off-duty Hampton Police Officer Robert McLaughlin Jr. on June 1, 1988, when Cushing opened the door to his home.
About a decade ago, a bill to repeal the death penalty passed both the House and the Senate, but then-Gov. Jeanne Shaheen vetoed it, and lawmakers failed to override the veto.
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Red Mass: People often pray that their legislators will do the right thing.
Lord knows lawmakers need all the prayer and help they can get.
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Anthem in Hot Seat: Anthem officials were in the hot seat last week when they explained their new Pathway network, which consists of 16 of the state's 26 hospitals and their physician practices.
Guertin told Lasky there are hospitals within 20 miles that are in the network that do offer full reproductive services for women. That would have to be Elliot Hospital in Manchester because the for-profit Parkland Medical Center in Derry is not in the network, and Catholic Medical Center in Manchester, which is of course Catholic and opposed to abortions, but is in the Pathway program.
He noted the North Country was able to have two hospitals originally outside the network included after political pressure was brought to bear.
"I hope you hear how frustrated as a group all senators are in this," said Sen. Andy Sandborn, R-Bedford. "We're all extremely disappointed."