Are You Ready for the McDonalds of Cannabis?

Are You Ready for the McDonalds of Cannabis?

 

“Welcome to the NH McCannabis Outlet, can I take your order?”

 

This week the NH Senate managed to do the impossible by uniting the pro-cannabis and anti-cannabis communities. It was shocking to see the capitulation that happened in the Senate Judiciary Committee as they brushed aside the voice of the House, erasing HB1633 and turning it into the state takeover (aka Franchise) model with little, ineffective pushback.

The vision of the state takeover bill is simple.

  • Hand the cannabis industry over the Liquor Commission to compensate for the decline in alcohol consumption of future generations, putting the commission ‘in the business’ rather than acting solely as a regulatory body.
  • Allow them the ability to meddle in everything up and down the supply chain including price fixing.
  • Create 15 Walmart style metal and concrete warehouses filled to the brim with the “McDonalds” of cannabis.
  • Set it up in a way where primarily the wealthy and connected get to participate, ensured of success with the full faith of the commission watching their backs.

 

Simply put, NH will be to cannabis what McDonalds is to hamburgers. Absent the side of economic opportunity the residents of New Hampshire demand (and desperately need) to improve their lives. Instead, handed on a silver platter to the wealthy and connected.

Our message to the Senate is simple. Legalization isn’t about the lack of supply or saving some time on our drive to a dispensary. It is about economic opportunity for the people. Something sorely needed in an age where inflation is pushing the cost of everything sky high and incomes are static. (The average home price in the state has increased to over $520,000 in four short years and the average two family income needed to afford a home has shot up from mid $80,000 to over $116,000!)

 

We stand united with the House bill sponsors to either heavily amend the bill to bring it much closer to HB1633 as passed by the House, revert it back to the version that passed the House (twice) or the Senate may as well kill it themselves.

 

Passing the state takeover model is a slap to the face of the residents of this state who support decentralized industry and economic opportunity as an acknowledgement the government has overly weaponized cannabis possession against its citizenry for decades.

Just last week we received the following from Bryan, a New Hampshire resident and cannabis industry employee.

“…These amendments are dangerous and threaten the liberty of granite staters. These changes would establish a generational monopoly on the distribution of cannabis in NH. Similar to the 100 year generational monopoly that our liquor stores already enjoy. This legislation if passed would never be converted to the standard free market cannabis enjoyed by entrepreneurs and consumers in any other state. This legislation will deprive NH citizens their right to participate and compete in this industry. This legislation is dangerous and bad for the men and woman in NH. Please examine the amendments and support the cannabis community of NH not the state liquor cartel.” ~Bryan

 

It’s important to understand that at NHCann we have no paymasters. No one who tells us what to say or what to support. Rather, we talk with residents and non-governmental organizations all over the state. We are here to represent you, and we agree with Bryan full heartedly as he echoes what residents all over the state are telling us. Don’t believe us? Visit this NH Reddit thread and see for yourselves what residents say about it.

Let’s not forget we’ve already shared how this model lowers the bar for federal intervention and puts the State of NH squarely under the purview of the Federal Trade Commission. We discussed it live with the bill sponsors on Cultivated Live Media in early March.

We’ve informed our legislators of the disastrous attempt at a state run dispensary in Washington. And we’ve notified them aplenty of what the experts have said when examining a state run franchise model. So far, it seems these messages are falling on deaf ears in the Senate.

 

But wait, there’s more!

In addition to the awful vision of the state takeover bill, here are just a few of the differences between HB1633 and the amendment passed in the Senate Judiciary Committee this week.

  • HB1633 provides flexibility in pricing to balance supply and demand signals in the market so retailers can stay competitive. The amendment states not that the commission can simply ‘consult’ on pricing but rather that the commission has “…the final authority to set the price of all cannabis products sold in a retail store”. Also known as price fixing.
  • HB1633 bill understands that vertically integrated companies may want to co-locate cultivation or manufacturing with retail if allowed in their municipality to reduce cost and risk. The amendment forbids retail colocation entirely even where it is legal.
  • HB1633 bill believes medical patients shouldn’t be burdened paying another 15% tax on their medicine, the amendment finds it perfectly acceptable. 
  • HB1633 bill views the advisory board as an asset to help these new operators with things like education and funding and act as a conduit to communicate what is and isn’t working back to the commission. The amendment sets the advisory board up as an opposition entity layered on top of the regulatory body. Let’s take a peek at some of the composition. 
    • The chair of liquor commission to be chair of the advisory board. The regulator advising itself.
    • The president of the associations of the chiefs of police.
    • Some random member of the public appointed by the Governor.
    • A State Senator and a State Rep. All people who can talk to the commission already. This is not a cannabis advisory board, it is a government and commission advisory board. 
  • HB1633 bill provides clear legislative intent to ensure our medical cannabis industry has a path to survival. The amendment creates a high risk that our medical industry crumbles.
  • HB1633 bill allows municipalities in partnership with private owners to determine their location. The amendment bill puts that decision solely up to the commission.
    • If you end up choosing a location that doesn’t work, don’t think you have the right to work with an opted-in municipality to secure a new one. The commission may not approve it!
  • HB1633 bill understands the size, nature and layout of the facilities is a consideration for the private owner and the municipality to determine, the amendment allows the commission to be the sole arbiter. Of the LAYOUT of your building.
  • HB1633 bill slightly increases penalties for public consumption from where they are today, the amendment ramps it up creating more victims of over enforcement.
  • This amendment also declares the commission “shall have the primary responsibility for the enforcement of all cannabis laws including any illegal trafficking.”
  • This amendment provides some sweet financial rewards to commission employees with a 10% pay bump for 18 months., just for showing up to work.

 

If the Senate pushes this through, and it collapses into the dumpster fire we suspect, we’ll have our marshmallows ready.

 

In the Meantime…

Contact Your State Rep. and Ask Them to Publicly Oppose the Amendment!

Contact Your Senator to Support Reverting Back to HB1633 as Passed by the House!

The First Senate Vote will be Wed the 15th or Thu the 16th.

 


Contact Your Senator:

  1. Find Your Senator: https://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/senate/members/wml.aspx
  2. Locate their Email: https://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/senate/members/senate_roster.aspx
  3. Find the Judicial Committee Members: https://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/Senate/committees/committee_details.aspx?cc=33
  4. Click on each of the Senator member links to find their email.
  5. Send them a respectful email asking them to support HB1633 and to resist the ‘Franchise’ amendment.

 


Register Your Support Online During the Hearing:

  1. Go to the Senate Remote Sign In Sheet: https://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/remotecommittee/senate.aspx
  2. Select the Date on the Calendar.
  3. Select the Judiciary Committee.
  4. Choose the bill: 1:45PM – HB1633.
  5. For the ‘I am’ field, choose ‘Member of the Public’.
  6. For the ‘I’m Representing’ choose ‘Myself’.
  7. Indicate your position on the bill by selecting ‘I Support this Bill’.
  8. Click ‘Continue’.

 


What If You Don’t Know the Bill Name or Number?

On the General Court website – https://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/

  • Use Find A Bill – if you have the number of the bill
  • Use Bill Text Search – if you know what the bill is about (for example, you could search for bills that have the word “cannabis” in them)
  • Use Bill Search by Legislator – if you know who sponsored the bill or who is a co-sponsor

 


What If You Don’t Know the Committee or Schedule?

On the main page of the General Court Website use the options under Meeting Resources:

  • Use House Calendar for the House of Representatives bills
  • Use Senate Calendar for the Senate

These calendars are published weekly and tell you which committees are meeting and which bills they will be hearing/voting on. Some bills (cannabis) almost always go to the same committees (Health and Human Services), but sometimes bills go to a committee that is not expected (a recent cannabis bill went to Ways and Means). You just have to scan the calendar for keywords.

 


Tips on Written Testimony:

  • Keep it short.
  • Use the bill title AS WELL AS the bill number.
  • Say in the beginning whether you support or oppose the bill.
  • Use paragraphs with breaks – don’t send a solid block of text.
  • Be respectful.
  • Sign with your name and your town/address
  • If possible, have a second pair of eyes on your written testimony. Sometimes people will pick up communication issues that you didn’t catch.

 


Tips on Verbal Testimony:

  • Introduce yourself – name and address
  • Keep it short – 3 minutes max
  • STICK TO THE POINT – avoid any “and another things”
  • Speak clearly into the microphone
  • Speak slowly
  • Sit up straight, don’t slouch (it helps you be heard better)
  • It’s fine to read your testimony if you need to
  • Sometimes you will be asked questions = go ahead and answer to the best of your ability but sometimes it’s fine to say, I don’t have the answer, perhaps it would be better to ask someone else
  • Dress appropriately – nothing that’s inflammatory – you don’t want to turn off anyone before you even testify
  • Generally be respectful – even if you oppose a bill, this is the process that we have and you need to work within it
  • Show up on time, but be prepared to wait if the committee is running over

 


General Outline for Written and Verbal Testimony:

  1. What the problem is
  2. Why it’s a problem
  3. Why this solution fixes it
  4. Final ask – please support or oppose this bill.

Verbal testimony is usually capped at 3 minutes.

Written testimony that goes much over one page is usually only skimmed. By keeping it shorter you have more of a chance of getting your point across.

Don’t combine messages for multiple bills – use a separate email for each bill.


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