Ads for medical marijuana on TV

CONCORD – The campaign in favor of letting the chronically and terminally ill legally use marijuana hit the airwaves Thursday.

A 30-second commercial promoting the legislation and urging Gov. John Lynch to support it began on WMUR-TV and on Comcast cable stations.

The ad features Sandy Drew, of Allenstown, a retired nurse diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

Drew, 55, was a registered nurse at Concord Hospital until her retirement in 2001.

“We think this is the right time to be delivering this message directly to Governor Lynch that this would offer relief of suffering to many people in this state,” said Matt Simon, executive director of the New Hampshire Coalition for Common Sense Marijuana Policy.

“The governor needs to hear stories like Sandy’s and many others. They sell the need for this law a lot better than I ever could.”

The ad will be broadcast for at least the next week, Simon said.

Scott Turner, 46, of Nashua, came to the Statehouse on Thursday to lend his support.

A retired retail manager, Turner said he suffers from degenerative disc and joint disease and started using marijuana more than 20 years ago.

The pain became more constant and chronic since his retirement six years ago.

Turner said he smokes marijuana two or three times a day when he’s able to get it and can afford it.

Using marijuana lets him significantly cut back on the prescription pain medication he’s taken for years.

“It’s been the only way I’ve been able to get out of the house and occasionally do things,” Turner said during an interview.

“The morphine and the Percocet don’t provide enough relief.”

Tony Woody, of Exeter, joined the medical marijuana campaign in recent days.

A retired Navy flight engineer, Woody said he has degenerative disc disease throughout his spine after riding in devices that are designed to simulate the severe gravitational forces fighter pilots face while in combat or after having to eject from an aircraft.

Woody said he’s tried marijuana only once for pain many years ago and found it helped reduce searing pain around his muscles.

“This causes a different type of pain that literally feels my entire body is being crushed on the inside,” said Woody, who gets deep tissue massage, chiropractic and acupuncture treatments every week.

Woody said he won’t use marijuana for fear of risking his military pension and veterans disability income.

“If this simple plant can improve my quality of life, how can it be a crime for a person like me to use it?” Woody asked.

The state Senate approved the bill Wednesday. The House of Representatives already has endorsed its own version.

Lynch has said he has concerns about the logistics of making a drug illegal under federal law accessible to patients and their designated caregivers.

Attorney General Kelly Ayotte as well as nine of the state’s 10 county attorneys and the state lobby of local police chiefs all vigorously oppose the bill.

At no point has Lynch said whether he’d veto such a bill.

Prime authors of the bill said they would encourage the House to embrace the Senate’s plan so the bill can eventually be sent on to Lynch’s desk.

There are 13 states, including Maine and Vermont, where it’s legal for patients to get marijuana for medical use.