Tag Archives: Governor Maggie Hassan

Judge Orders State of NH to Issue Medical Marijuana Card to Dying Cancer Patient

Concord, New Hampshire- While the state of New Hampshire continues to deal with delays in its implementation of a medical marijuana program approved in 2013, a Merrimack County Superior judge has ruled in favor of a woman suffering from late-stage lung cancer seeking access to a medical marijuana card.

Linda Horan, an Alstead resident suffering from stage 4 lung cancer, is seeking to obtain marijuana in the neighboring state of Maine because New Hampshire has yet to open any marijuana dispensaries despite approving a medical marijuana program. The Maine Medical Marijuana Act was passed in 1999 and the program was further expanded by voters in 2009.

New Hampshire, a state governed by Democrats for over a decade, appears to be experiencing much more difficulty approving and implementing medical marijuana than its neighboring states. While Democrat Governor Maggie Hassan signed a limited medical marijuana program into law in 2013, the program becoming a reality for patients in New Hampshire has been a lengthy process. Patients are continuing to wait for access as the state’s Department of Health and Human Services has just begun accepting applications for cards. No cards will be issued until dispensaries are opened, which is not expected to happen until early next year.

The Marijuana Policy Project provided an overview pointing to certain actions taken by the state which have led to delays, including the attorney general’s office “postponing its implementation of the patient registry process” in 2014.

In addition, rather than appointing “a member of the public” and “a qualifying patient” to an advisory council tasked with overseeing the law’s implementation, MPP noted that Gov. Hassan appointed Tuftonboro Police Chief Andrew Shagoury, as well as a patient described by MPP as “completely unknown to the patients who had supported the bill” who has not attended any meetings. On the council, Chief Shagoury represents the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police, an organization which has been a longtime and vocal opponent of medical marijuana legalization.

Before filing the lawsuit, Horan addressed Gov. Hassan during a NH AFL-CIO lifetime achievement award speech, asking the governor in an emotional plea to open dispensaries “not just for me, but for all the other sick people in this state.”

Shortly after Horan filed her lawsuit, MPP’s New England Political Director Matt Simon told Truth In Media that “the fact that a terminal cancer patient like Linda Horan still can’t be protected from arrest in New Hampshire is appalling and downright insane.”

Simon noted that “Governor Hassan signed the law creating this program on July 23, 2013, but somehow, patients today are still criminals if they choose to use marijuana as a substitute for prescription painkillers. This lawsuit shouldn’t even be necessary, but patients all over New Hampshire will be watching closely and hoping for a successful result.“

Horan showed frustration over the fact that New Hampshire has had multiple delays in providing patients with access to medical marijuana. “The state simply needs to issue me an ID card so that I can access the medicine that I need,” said Horan, according to the Union Leader. “It’s hard to imagine why it would take more than two years for that. There are seriously ill people throughout New Hampshire who are suffering every day they go without it.” 

“I want the state to stop dragging your feet over a technicality when you’re dealing with sick people,” she was also quoted as saying. “We don’t have the time to fool around.” 

Although Horan had expressed urgency in seeking medical marijuana and has been given a few months to live, state officials argued against the lawsuit.

Earlier this month, Gov. Hassan argued in a statement that “the law that we have put in place- as approved by the legislature- requires ID cards to contain the ‘registry identification number corresponding with the alternative treatment center (dispensary) the qualifying patient designated,’ which prevents the issuance of these cards until the ATCs are open.”

The Concord Monitor reported that “state officials, including Gov. Maggie Hassan, have maintained patients could not get ID cards until dispensaries, or Alternative Treatment Centers, in the state are open, which is expected to happen early next year.”

Judge Richard McNamara disagreed with the state’s argument. “Nowhere does the statute say that a qualifying patient can only obtain cannabis from a New Hampshire ATC,” wrote McNamara.

Hassan did not provide comments after McNamara’s ruling. Horan is expected to receive a card on Wednesday.

Ben Swann released a Truth In Media episode in 2014 which exposed the government’s hypocrisy in publicly treating marijuana as a health hazard while it holds two patents on cannabis for medical use.


New Hampshire Executive Council Votes To Defund Planned Parenthood

New Hampshire Executive Councilors Chris Sununu, David Wheeler and Joe Kenney voted to end the state’s contract with Planned Parenthood, essentially ending the state’s funding of the Planned Parenthood of Northern New England facilities.

In a statement, New Hampshire Republican State Committee Chairman Jennifer Horn said:

“The appalling videos showing Planned Parenthood executives discussing the sale of human body parts have raised serious and legitimate concerns. Instead of calling for an investigation of Planned Parenthood’s potentially criminal activity, Governor Hassan has turned a blind eye to this controversy and tried to give more taxpayer dollars to this scandal-plagued organization.

“This isn’t a matter of being pro-choice or pro-life. It’s about ensuring that public dollars are not being given to a company that may be engaged in criminal activity. We applaud Councilors Sununu, Wheeler and Kenney for standing up for taxpayers by refusing to fund Planned Parenthood and calling for an official investigation of its practices. It’s time for Governor Hassan to put politics aside and work with the Commissioner of Health and Human Services and the Executive Council to identify alternative health care providers to cover the services that were included in this contract.”

Gov. Maggie Hassan issued her own statement in response to the vote:

“Planned Parenthood provides critical primary and preventive health care services to thousands of New Hampshire women, including cancer screenings, birth control and STD testing. Access to these services is essential to the economic security and vitality of our families, and I am incredibly disappointed in the outcome of today’s vote.

“Two years ago, we came together across party lines to restore funding for Planned Parenthood and support the critical health care services that their health centers provide to women, men and families across the state. It is clear that today’s vote is the result of an ideological and political attack against Planned Parenthood and a woman’s right to make her own healthcare decisions, as there have been no allegations or evidence that Planned Parenthood of Northern New England has done anything but follow New Hampshire law and help thousands of women and families access health care.

“The council’s vote to defund Planned Parenthood will hurt the health and economic well-being of thousands of Granite Staters. Moving forward, I will continue to fight to ensure that women and families have access to the important health services that are essential to the economic security and vitality of our families.”

[RELATED: Second Planned Parenthood Exec Caught on Film Apparently Negotiating Fetal Tissue Prices]

The vote from the executive council follows the controversial publication of several undercover videos containing footage of discussions regarding the procurement of aborted fetal tissue and methods of obtaining such tissue. Hassan had previously rejected a request from one of the executive councilors calling for a review of Planned Parenthood operations in New Hampshire.

NH Governor Signs Bill Granting Immunity for Victims, Witnesses Reporting Drug Overdoses

On Monday, New Hampshire Democratic Governor Maggie Hassan signed House Bill 270 into law, a bill designed to “encourage a witness or victim of a drug overdose to request medical assistance in order to save the life of an overdose victim by establishing a state policy of protecting the witness or victim from arrest, prosecution, and conviction for the crime of possession of the controlled drug that is the agent of the overdose.

Under the law, individuals “who in good faith and in a timely manner [request] medical assistance” for themselves or others “shall not be arrested, prosecuted, or convicted for possessing, or having under his or her control, a controlled drug… if the evidence for the charge was gained as a proximate result of the request for medical assistance.

In a statement on the bill, Governor Hassan said, “The rising rate of heroin and opioid overdoses is one of the most pressing public health and safety challenges facing our state.” She continued, “House Bill 270 will… help us save lives by encouraging people to seek emergency medical assistance for themselves or others without fearing prosecution for possession. And through our efforts with legislators from both parties, we developed a narrower bill to address some of the concerns of the Attorney General’s Office and the law enforcement community. I thank Representative Bouldin and the bipartisan group of legislators who worked this session to help us save more lives in the midst of this opioid epidemic.

Seabrook Police Department’s Acting Lieutenant Brett Walker told The Daily News of Newburyport, “This is an age old problem. People in the presence of an overdose victim sometimes won’t call us right away. They’ll wait and clean up the place before they call. Then, when we get there, we find the place clean and it can take a lot of coaxing to get them to tell us the person used heroin or other drugs.” Lieutenant Walker said that he hopes that the new law will help clarify that police and first responders in drug overdose situations “are trying to save lives and not trick anyone” into self-incrimination.

The Associated Press notes that the bill, which is set to take effect in 60 days, is designed to sunset on September 1, 2018.

House Bill 270 prevailed in bipartisan fashion, passing first in New Hampshire’s GOP-led House of Representatives and Senate before being signed by the state’s Democratic governor.

This law, referred to as the ‘good Samaritan law,’ is important because it encourages individuals present during an opioid or heroin overdose to call for life-saving medical assistance for overdose victims, granting them immunity from arrest in these instances. The intent of this law is to save the lives of overdose victims and this legislation takes another step towards addressing the heroin and opioid crisis that has affected communities across the state… I hope the legislature will continue to bring forward long-term solutions to end this critical drug epidemic in our state,” said State Senator Sharon Carson (R-Londonderry) in comments to the Londonderry Patch.

New Hampshire House Approves Sixth Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

Concord, NH- House Bill 618, legislation to approve decriminalization of marijuana possession passed on Wednesday with a vote of 297-67. Currently, marijuana possession of any amount in New Hampshire is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a $2,000 fine and one year in prison. HB 618 would make possession of up to a half ounce of marijuana or five grams of hashish a civil violation with a fine of up to $100 for the first offense. The full bill is available to read here.

“Nobody should face jail time and a permanent criminal record just for possessing a substance that is far less harmful than alcohol,” said Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Granite Staters do not want their state government to continue wasting its resources on enforcing such an unfair and outdated policy. Hopefully our state senators and governor will respect that and move forward with this legislation.”

“The New Hampshire Constitution states that the penalty for an offense needs to fit the severity of the crime,” Rep. Adam Schroadter (R-Newmarket), a sponsor of HB 618, told Fosters.com. “And right now, marijuana is being treated as though it’s just as severe a crime as the hard drugs like heroin and cocaine. And so from that perspective, the easiest answer is that the penalty ought to fit the crime.”

This year’s vote signals rising support from House legislators for removing criminal penalties for marijuana possession.  Last year, a decriminalization bill passed the House 215-92. In 2013, a decriminalization bill was passed in the House 214-115. Wednesday’s vote marked the sixth time the House has voted to decriminalize marijuana.

While it appears to become easier each year for the House to pass a decriminalization bill, the Senate has continued to show its opposition by killing the House bills each year. If HB 618 passes the Senate this year, it still faces a veto from Governor Maggie Hassan (D-Exeter).

Hassan has long been vocal about her opposition to relaxing the state’s marijuana laws. During last year’s gubernatorial debates, Hassan appeared to soften her stance on decriminalization, saying that while she believes marijuana is harmful and legalization would lead to more people using it, “I do however think that somebody having a first offense for marijuana, you should not necessarily face criminal charges.” She went on to say that she would push for a “treatment focus” rather than a “criminal justice focus” on marijuana use.

Despite those remarks, Hassan recently told the Nashua Telegraph that she does not support HB 618, and has stated on several occasions that she would veto marijuana legalization measures beyond the medical marijuana bill she signed in 2013. Medical marijuana has yet to be implemented in New Hampshire.

High on Hypocrisy – Governor Maggie Hassan: Drug User, Drug Warrior

New Hampshire, February 13, 2014– This week New Hampshire governor Maggie Hassan (D) boasted that she is a former marijuana user. The revelation came on WMUR-TV’s Sunday morning “Close-Up” program, when the governor was asked by host Josh McElveen whether she had ever tried marijuana.

She stated that she had used it “when she was in college” in the 1970s and 80s. Hassan is a graduate of Brown University and later attended Northeastern University School of Law.

So Hassan now joins President Barack Obama, former President Bill “I didn’t inhale” Clinton, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Secretary of State John Kerry and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. All drug warriors, all drug users, all high on hypocrisy.

Hassan has gone on to double down on her support for Prohibition. She says she will continue to block passage of the current marijuana legalization bill with her veto. She additionally came out for adding more “drug treatment” bureaucracy. Somehow drug user Hassan became governor without any forced “treatment”, and of course without the little difficulties involved in being imprisoned with violent criminals either.

Her claimed concern for “treatment” is ironic, considering that in 2013 she used her veto threat to gut New Hampshire’s medical marijuana law. Cancer and MS patients can technically use marijuana under her version of the law, but there is no legal way for them to actually obtain the drug. Inflicting extra pain on cancer patients is a crime against humanity.

It’s all about the political support of government-employee unions and tax-dependent corporate interests. The police unions, the prison guards, and the prison construction industry all depend on Prohibition. And they all come out to support Democratic governor candidates in New Hampshire. As does America’s even larger “prison industry”, the teacher’s unions. Hassan has been their standard-bearer as well, recently winning a lawsuit that she filed against a state program that provides partial scholarships to help poor children to attend private schools.

This “Boardwalk Empire” formula has been keeping Democrats in power in New Hampshire for ten years. The New Hampshire statehouse has been trying to roll back Prohibition, regardless of which party is in the majority. Five times in the last six years, they have voted to decriminalize and/or legalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. In 2012 (in a Republican statehouse), a “decrim” bill passed with a 2-1 margin.

New Hampshire is tired of paying for Prohibition, tired of its drain on law enforcement resources that should be fighting real crime, and tired of the loss of civil liberties. This is the “Live Free or Die” state, and yet we are the only state in New England that has not yet started to roll back Richard Nixon’s “War on (some) Drugs”.

In 2013’s session, Representative Steve Vaillancourt (R) introduced HB 492 (sponsored by three Republicans and two Democrats), which would legalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana and place a 15 percent sales tax on it. The bill passed the House, and while in the Ways and Means committee the state’s DRA has determined that it would bring in $26 million to $39 million per year from NH residents. Sponsor Vallaincourt estimates that figure could easily pass $50 million when sales to tourists are included.

But Hassan’s veto makes it unlikely that Prohibition will end in New Hampshire as long as she is governor. So we will continue to tax the MacDonald’s meal of a working mother, and the house of a retired veteran, rather than tax a recreational drug. The only hope for change is Republican governor candidate Andrew Hemingway, who has said that if elected he will work with the statehouse to find a path to legalization.

Prohibition Never Works

Although marijuana is a far less harmful drug than alcohol, a look back at alcohol Prohibition is useful. When alcohol was made illegal (by a Constitutional Amendment, not by arbitrary Federal power grab), it caused the same problems that we have now with illegal drugs. People didn’t stop drinking, but the illegal alcohol cost them more. Tax revenue was lost. People died from adulterated alcohol. Profits from the illegal trade created an ecological niche for organized crime. Murder, assault, and corruption of law enforcement all skyrocketed.

When FDR took office, he quickly signed legislation repealing the Prohibition amendment. State governments started receiving tax revenues from legal alcohol again. The human costs of deaths and blindness from adulterated alcohol ended. Murder and assault rates fell immediately. Today, no one is killed in drive-by shootings over beer or bourbon. And according to New Futures (New Hampshire’s largest anti-substance-abuse group), the state collected around $150 million dollars in alcohol taxes in 2012.

Legalizing marijuana would have several benefits. First of all, as has been seen in other states with decriminalization laws, non drug users aren’t going to run out and start using marijuana. What will happen is “drug switching:” people who now may be binge drinkers or even OxyContin users will switch to the safer marijuana. No one has ever died of a marijuana overdose, and it doesn’t have the severe physical effects of many other drugs of abuse. While HB 492 will keep it illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana, THC in the blood doesn’t affect traffic safety as severely as alcohol does.

The NH affiliate of ACLU has released a report showing that direct costs to the state of prosecuting marijuana crimes were $6,526,364 in 2010. But the real cost to society must be far higher. Current law provides for a jail sentence of up to one year for possession of even the smallest amount of marijuana. A young person convicted for a youthful indiscretion can have his/her entire life derailed, education disrupted, career aborted, relationships cut off. When in prison with violent criminals, peaceful offenders may even be permanently injured or drawn into a life of crime.

If New Hampshire wants to live up to its “Live Free or Die” motto, it’s going to have to stop voting for Prohibitionists like Hassan. Republican candidate Hemingway has a tough race ahead; Hassan has the financial support of the health-insurance monopoly created by the preceding governor’s regulations. She also has money from casino-monopoly interests, public-school monopoly interests, and a campaign army of government-employee unions. All Andrew Hemingway has is his support for our traditional freedoms.

Bill Walker is a member of the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance and the Sullivan County Republican committee.