Pubdate: Sun, 27 Dec 2009
Source: Telegraph, The (Nashua, NH)
Copyright: 2009 Telegraph Publishing Company
Author: Hattie Bernstein
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Medicinal)


Marijuana was in the news in New Hampshire in 2009.

Hollis farmer David Orde's arrest for growing pot drew widespread 
interest, and the spotlight was later trained on the state 
Legislature after it tried to legalize marijuana for medical use.

Orde, 54, was arrested in July 2008 on felony marijuana-growing 
charges after a Hollis police officer went to serve him with a 
complaint for failing to license his dog. After getting no answer at 
the main door, the officer went around to the side of the house at 2 
Blood Road and spotted 16 marijuana plants growing in pots on a deck.

His case ended up in Hillsborough County Superior Court, where Orde 
waived his right to a trial by jury and put the matter into the hands 
of Judge James Barry.

Barry found Orde guilty and on Sept. 15 sentenced him to 12 months in 
jail, suspending all but 60 days. The judge also agreed the sentence 
wouldn't be imposed while Orde appealed his conviction to the state 
Supreme Court.

Orde admitted growing the plants and said he was "stupid" for doing 
so. He also said police were "ridiculous" to arrest him, court records said.

Unrelated to Orde's case, the state House of Representatives passed 
HB 648, a bill to legalize medical marijuana, by a 240-115 vote. But 
the bill was vetoed by the governor and an attempt by the state 
Senate to override the veto fell two votes short, 14-10.

State lawmakers had been following the lead of at least 13 states 
that have legalized marijuana for medical use. New Hampshire's 
neighbor, Maine, legalized the drug in April, but not by a vote of lawmakers.

The Legislature didn't take a position when faced with a citizen 
petition to amend the state's medical marijuana law, leaving it to 
the voters, who approved the measure that allows for dispensaries.

Legalization has also received tacit support from the federal 
government's chief executive: President Barack Obama has said he 
won't pursue federal prosecution for medical marijuana use in states 
that have laws that regulate and legalize the product.
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