EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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January 1, 2014

New laws take effect in N.H.

New Hampshire residents who want to smoke marijuana for medicinal purposes will have to wait about a year before they light up.

Medical marijuana is legal in the state today, but it will take a year or more before dispensaries are in place.

That’s one of a number of laws taking effect today.

Motorists traveling along Interstate 93 from Canterbury to the Vermont border can give it a little extra gas. The speed limit on that stretch of highway has been raised to 70 mph.

Some bar patrons will be able to drink an hour later — if the town in which they’re imbibing opted to extend last call until 2 a.m.

But to Rep. Kenneth Weyler, R-Kingston, who once led the House Finance Committee, the most significant law passed in 2013 was the $10.7 billion, two-year state budget bill.

Weyler said lawmakers worked long and hard to craft a budget that funded the state’s needs — without putting a substantial burden on taxpayers.

“I thought the budget was a big improvement and that we didn’t do all the spending (that was proposed),” he said.

Weyler said he was troubled with two of the more significant laws passed by the Legislature last year.

He is concerned about the implementation of the new medical marijuana law. The approval of regulated dispensaries is expected to be a lengthy process, meaning it could take up to a year before marijuana is available to patients.

“I’m a little wary that it’s going to be problematic,” Weyler said.

Supporters included bill co-sponsor Rep. Debra DeSimone, R-Atkinson.

“This bill is not going to turn this state into a bunch of potheads,” she said previously.

Weyler also said he is bothered by the new law that allows towns and cities to decide if they want to extend last call at establishments from 1 to 2 a.m.

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