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Drug charges for small amount of pot may be decriminalized

New Hampshire is one of the states with an approved medical marijuana law. In most states, when such laws are experienced over time, the state learns that modifications and amendments to them may be desirable. This state's House of Representatives has passed some bills that will facilitate medical marijuana procedures and other legislation that will decriminalize drug charges for a small amount of marijuana.

The proposed laws are now in the state Senate for consideration. One bill would allow medical marijuana users to be allowed to grow their own pot. Of course, that would not apply to persons not medically documented under the law to receive medical marijuana for recognized treatments. Other proposals passed in the House and being considered in the Senate include adding the categories of post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain to the list of approved medical marijuana conditions.

Some experts testified before the Senate that marijuana would be a better alternative in some cases to opioids for chronic pain. Marijuana is not addictive and would be a far safer alternative for those persons who experience pain relief from its use.  However, some groups testified against expanding the conditions for medical marijuana, stating that the law has only been in effect since 2013 and that more evidence should be first accumulated on its success.

Probably the most dramatic potential change is the House-approved bill that would decriminalize the possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana. Being caught in that circumstance would result in no drug charges, but in paying a citation rather than being arrested and prosecuted for a crime. That proposal begs the question, however, why the New Hampshire legislature does not simply legalize possession of a small amount of pot instead of continuing to require various penalties for its use.

Source: nhpr.org, "N.H. Senate Weighs Whether to Loosen State's Marijuana Laws", Paige Sutherland, April 11, 2017

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