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Viewpoints

Perspective from the governor

Last year, I signed into law a measure allowing doctors to provide relief to patients through the use of medical marijuana with appropriate regulation and dispensing because it was the right and compassionate policy for New Hampshire, but I do not support further efforts to legalize marijuana.

Marijuana remains illegal under federal law and New Hampshire already has among the highest rates in the nation of marijuana, alcohol and other substance abuse by our young people, impacting their development and causing long-term health issues. Marijuana use is also an issue for public safety, as in the last two years, 26 fatal car crashes in New Hampshire involved drivers who had used marijuana before the crash.

Since 2008, of all motor vehicle crash fatalities where the driver tested positive for drug use, 52 percent tested positive for marijuana. Legalizing a substance in the face of these challenges is the wrong approach that will only exacerbate the situation. I understand that substance abuse and misuse is a public health issue, and I believe it requires a public health approach. That’s why I am focusing on strengthening public health by increasing access to substance abuse treatment and prevention through measures like Medicaid expansion, which would provide over 50,000 individuals with coverage for substance and alcohol abuse treatment, along with coverage for mental health care.

I appreciate that many individuals have taken the time to share their views and engage in the legislative process, and I will continue to work with all Granite Staters to make our communities healthier and safer.

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