Vt., Maine offer medical marijuana lessons for NH

March 3rd, 2013 by admin Leave a reply »

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CONCORD, N.H. — As New Hampshire again considers whether to legalize medical marijuana, and Massachusetts considers how to implement it, neighboring states offer lessons about enforcement of the law, dispensaries and the complexities of implementing such a law.

The New Hampshire legislature has passed three medical marijuana bills in previous years, all vetoed by former Gov. John Lynch. This time, Gov. Maggie Hassan’s endorsement could tip the scales. Eighteen states and the District of Columbia already allow people who are sick or in chronic pain to legally buy and use medical marijuana, but laws vary widely.

A key concern of law enforcement officials is whether legalization would open the door for recreational users and people looking to profit from illicit distribution. Regardless of illness, marijuana could be used to treat conditions like severe pain or nausea, which could create an opening for recreational users to take advantage of the law.

But in neighboring Vermont and Maine, where medical marijuana has been available for years, police say that has not been their experience.

In Vermont, policing medical marijuana is “one more thing we have to deal with, but it’s not overwhelming,” state police Lt. J.P. Sinclair said.

He said he’s aware of only a half-dozen cases of patients or caregivers selling excess marijuana illegally since medical uses of it were legalized in 2004. Medical marijuana busts are not tallied separately from other marijuana crimes, he said, making it difficult

Article source: http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130303/NEWS21/303030337/-1/NEWS01

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