WHILE WE RESPECT the time and effort the commission put into the study, the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police opposes the legalization of marijuana. The experiences of other states that have legalized its recreational use have shown the adverse impact it will have on New Hampshire.

No information received by the commission has shown any reason to support legalization.

New Hampshire is in the middle of an opioid and substance abuse crisis. Colorado has seen a dramatic increase in opioid overdose deaths since recreational use of marijuana was legalized.

Studies have shown increased hospitalization because of marijuana use in Colorado and other states with legalization. Marijuana ingestion has led to an increase in children being admitted to hospitals in these states.

Legalization sends a message to youth that the harm of marijuana use is minimal. A diminished risk of use can lead to more use by youth at a time their brain is still developing.

Science has consistently shown marijuana use can lead to psychosis, schizophrenia and other mental health issues, especially in our youth.

With legalization has come an increase in motor vehicle accidents and deaths. Marijuana is the most commonly seen illicit drug in fatal accidents. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has released a study showing how accidents increased in states that have passed legalization.

States with recreational marijuana have seen an increase in fatal accidents with drivers who had used marijuana.

There is no accepted roadside test or level of THC in the blood to determine impairment.

Despite significant expenditures on enforcement, these states have seen the black market grow with legalization. The black market has been used by organized crime to deal drugs.

Recent studies show marijuana use is associated with intimate partner violence (IPV) and victimization.

At the Senate hearing for HB1476 (2018) on April 12, 2018, every therapeutic cannabis program patient that testified said they buy from the black market because of the cost. One said occasionally they did buy from the assigned ATC as a “treat.” Allowing recreational use of marijuana by anyone will only send more people into the black market and we will see it expand. In other states, dispensaries divert legally grown marijuana into the black market.

We have concerns about the report. The Department of Revenue Administration dramatically overestimated the potential for tax revenue. They used a sales tax and assumed a cost of more than $325 an ounce. This is significantly higher than marijuana is selling in almost every other legalized state.

Currently in some states it is sold for less than $100 an ounce. In Maine, it is currently listed on “menus” for less than $200 an ounce.

The fact it is cheaper in neighboring states could mean a large number of buyers will purchase the marijuana elsewhere, reducing the sales in New Hampshire.

Given the potential for organized crime and weapons as seen in other states, the staffing and equipment costs cannot be minimized. It also would be inappropriate to have DRA enforce violations of the laws.

There will need to be a lab to test products for user safety.

The significant amount of money to be derived from diversion and potential for violence cannot be underestimated. The report minimizes the significant threats seen in other states because of organized criminal enterprises and crimes against marijuana dispensaries and growers. The DRA is not equipped or trained to investigate illegal sales of marijuana, which the report treats as a simple tax avoidance scheme.

The report supports people growing their own marijuana in a secured area. There are many problems with home cultivation. One plant will put someone over the possession limit in the report.

In other states home cultivation is the route used for marijuana to end up in the black market and is used by organized crime.

Allowing home cultivation will reduce the amount collected by taxes, hinder investigations into the black market, and creates another route for minors to access marijuana.

There is no proof legalization will result in savings of law enforcement resources. In fact, the opposite has been seen in Colorado with departments having to expand their evidence rooms and request grants to deal with black market marijuana investigations.

During the hearing on Oct. 22, 2018, there was discussion that different products are sold on the medical versus recreational markets. That is false.

There is no state that has both programs where that is happening. A quick search of the menus of dispensaries in other states would show that the products are the same for both markets. There is no separation of products between medicinal and recreational users.

If DHHS representative Michael Holt was referring to cannabidiol (CBD) products, they are already being sold over the counter as a dietary supplement in health food stores in this state.

The state of Washington shut down the medical dispensary system after recreational marijuana was legalized. It makes no sense as there is no dosage, no prescription, and no product regimen prescribed in the medical programs.

Patients go into a dispensary and self-select the products and delivery system they wish to use. Then the patients determine the dose and frequency of use. That is not how any real form of medicine is practiced.

Someone with an infection does not walk into a pharmacy and pick out the antibiotic they want, select the delivery type, and then create their own dose and frequency of use.

Andrew Shagoury is president of the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police