A New Hampshire state representative appeared to pop a pill from her supply of medical cannabis during a House committee hearing on marijuana laws Monday, resulting in raised eyebrows and the chairman shutting down her feed during the Zoom meeting.
Rep. Nicole Klein-Knight (D-Manchester) is known as one of the more militantly progressive members of the 400-seat body. During last week’s socially-distanced session in the 50,000 square-foot Bedford Sportsplex, she wore a “plague mask” in protest — an image picked up on social media as a symbol of partisan overreaction to the COVID threat.
During Monday’s hearing of the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee on two bills reducing penalties for marijuana possession, Klein-Knight spoke out regarding concerns about cannabis products like edibles could be laced with other, more dangerous, substances.
“I think we have a major lack of misunderstanding [sic] when it comes to regulating cannabis to make it safer, so it’s not laced with things,” Klein-Knight said. Then, holding up a pharmaceutical bottle, she added, “And would you believe that I am a medical card carrier and this is what [cannabis] gummies look like? It’s in a medicine bottle. Would you believe that that is how they package it? There are labels. There are warnings. There’s not a bowl of gummies left out, and it’s regulated completely.”
As the committee took up the conversation, Klein-Knight proceeded to ostentatiously open the bottle on camera, dig out a cannabis gummy and pop it into her mouth. The chairman of the committee, Rep. Daryl Abbas (R-Salem), responded by throwing up his hands, then asking to speak to the ranking Democrat and instructing Klein-Knight to turn off her video feed.
[Watch Klein-Knight pop her cannabis gummy at 4:47:15]
Though the hearing continued, the Manchester Democrat did not appear on the video feed for three hours. When she did, to vote on retaining HB 526 in committee — a bill related to fines for marijuana possession — Klein-Knight appeared befuddled by the request.
“No,” she called out when the clerk asked for her vote. Then after a few seconds’ delay, she said, “I mean yes, sorry.” Then another few seconds passed and Klein-Knight called out yet again, “I mean no. Just go with no, please. Thank you.”
The bill was retained in committee by a vote of 12-7.
Klein-Knight did not respond to a request for comment.