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Recreational Marijuana Legalization

Legal Status of Recreational Cannabis in New Hampshire

In 2017, New Hampshire decriminalized possession of cannabis products within limited amounts. See Title XXX Occupations and Professions Chapter 318-B Controlled Drug Act Section 318-B:2-c. People found in possession of cannabis products are still subject to fines and or a substance abuse assessment by a licensed drug and alcohol counselor. Cannabis consumption is still a criminal offense while operating a vehicle everywhere in the United States, whether recreational use is legalized in your state or not. Marijuana impairs one’s ability to safely operate a vehicle and can cause car crashes.

Canada and the states surrounding New Hampshire; Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont, have all legalized recreational marijuana. Both Maine and Massachusetts already have legal recreational cannabis dispensaries open and Vermont legalized the regulated sale of marijuana October of 2020. New Hampshire residents are subject to federal criminal prosecutions for transporting legally purchased cannabis products from out of state back into New Hampshire.

January 27th, 2021 the New Hampshire House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee recently retained HB629 which would legalize home cultivation of marijuana and HB237 which would, “establish procedures for the legalization, regulation and taxation of cannabis”. The Chairman held a vote immediately following the hearing and recognized motions to retain both bills, delaying them from receiving a House vote for another year.

 

Economic Impact of Reed Recreational Cannabis

The legal cannabis industry has experienced rapid growth in Washington state greatly boosting the economy and tax revenue of the state as retail sales have increased by 605% between 2015 and 2020 according to the 2020 Contributions of the Washington Cannabis Sector” report by Washington State University. Since its legalization in December of 2012, the cannabis industry has produced over $602.3 million in gross state product (GSP). GSP represents dollars that otherwise would not have existed in the state without that sector’s activity. Those dollars retained in the state then circulate in the economy supporting nearly another $286 million in indirect value-added transactions. Washington State University also estimates that employees in the Washington marijuana industry spending their income generated approximately $960 million in additional value-added activity. The entire sector in Washington is responsible for just under $1.85 billion dollars in economic activity and supports over 18,697 full time equivalent jobs.

Marijuana excise tax is the fastest growing tax revenue source in the state, and while it lags behind Colorado by 10%, it is possible that a proposed bill allowing individuals to grow up to 6 marijuana plants per person and 15 per household will provide the extra stimulus Washington needs to reach Colorado’s revenue. It is anticipated that legalizing home growth would allow the cannabis industry to grow like the craft beer industry and bolster tax revenues.

 

Impaired Driving and Legalized Recreational Cannabis

The National Highway Traffic Administration reports marijuana impairs driver’s motor skills, lane tracking, cognitive functions, and ability to multitask. The Washington Traffic Safety Commission has found that drivers impaired by multiple substances are over three times as likely to be involved in a fatal crash. A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that the proportion of marijuana impaired drivers in fatal car crashes approximately doubled several months after Washington State legalized recreational marijuana in 2012. This proportion remained the same on average through 2017. In 2017, 21% of drivers involved in fatal crashes in Washington State were THC-positive. The Washington Traffic Safety Commission reports that traffic fatalities involving drivers impaired by any substances have been on a slow decline between 2005 and 2016.

 

I was in an auto accident caused by impaired driving – what should I do?

If you or a loved one have been involved in a car accident caused by impaired driving be sure to contact an automobile accident attorney. Auto crashes cause personal injury and property damage that can be emotionally, physically, and financially devastating.  Car crash lawyers and personal injury attorneys such as Attorney Charlie Donahue can help you navigate the difficult conversations and paperwork with insurance companies so that you receive the best possible outcome.

 

If you need assistance after a car crash, please call Attorney Charlie Donahue of Donahue Law at (603) 357- 2363 or send him a message here for a free consultation.

Honored by Martindale-Hubbell for 2020-2021

Just got word that I have been honored with an AV rating, the highest honor awarded by Martindale-Hubbell. This rating has been long respected in the legal circles and means my peers in the bar and judiciary believe my legal skills get an “A” and am “V” very ethical.

Thanks for that.

My hope and commitment, however, is that my clients can say the same about me. I always prefer to hear nice things said about my work on the streets and around town. In this life we all make our own memories.

Have a great day. Keep your strength.

-Charlie

Just got this testimonial from a client.

Charlie and his team are by far the best in the business. They worked with me on a tough case that was a fight from beginning to end. Charlie was with me every step of the way, always being honest and transparent, yet also optimistic regardless of the situation. Nobody else I would have chosen, and I could not have asked for better representation. Charlie and his team come with my highest recommendations.

Staying Centered

I try to write my blogs and any advertising when I’m sitting on a bench in down-town. People watching always helps me stay centered on real people in the hustle and bustle of life. These things should not be written in a library or behind some big lawyer desk. Perspective is important. And, by the way, I have so little interest in advertising these days. I’ll save that topic for another blog.

STANDING UP TO BULLIES

New Billboard of attorney Charlie Donahue up in Troy NH

New Billboard up in Troy NH

There’s no doubt I’m pretty tied up representing people involved with serious and catastrophic injury cases.

I’d go into another line of work immediately if all that bad stuff could come to an end.

Well, why on earth would I put up a billboard looking to help people who are being hounded by creditors?

I’m seeing too much unfair debt collection these days.

And there are too many good, well-intended decent folks whose lives are being made a living hell by greedy corporate entities.

I have no trouble with fair collections, but when the powerful cross the line they must be held responsible.

Ever since I was a kid I have been interested in Consumer Protection. It’s in my blood.

How do I have the time to open a new field on top of serious injury cases?

Easy. A close friend is the country’s best consumer protection lawyer. He’s been kicking the butts of corporate greed for years, helping the little guy with astronomical jury verdicts.

I will team up with he and his staff.

We are going to do our best to help rid our community of those who unfairly hound and harass good folks.

We are angels of death for the bullies.

Physician’s Assistants, the Shadow Doctors?

There are not enough doctors in the U.S. to go around. Overworked medical offices are starting to use physician’s assistants in their place.

“If you are the kind of person who goes to a doctor’s office to see the doctor for a prescription or an in-office medical procedure, you might find out that the person writing the script or holding that needle did not go to medical school. While this might work for some people, others are going to be queasy about it,” said Charlie Donahue, a Nashua medical malpractice lawyer with offices in Keene, New Hampshire. “The fact is, they are ‘not’ the doctor, but are shadowing one. One wonders what mistakes could be made with this kind of setup.”

It is estimated that within the next few years, more than 30 million new patients will need medical care. This is one of the results of the “graying” of America, as the population continues to age. Add to that new patients entering the system under the auspices of The Affordable Care Act, and the health care system goes into overload. “Statistics put out by the Association of American Medical Colleges suggest a shortage of 90,000 physicians by the year 2020. To handle the extra work, physician assistants (PA) are being used,” Donahue explained.

“I want to make it clear that there are many very good PAs and nurse practitioners. I have seen many situations where the care given is top notch. Most have more time to give the patient and they are terrific listeners. This trend in medicine has many advantages. The patient needs to make sure these professions have easy access to physicians, and do not let their egos get in the way of your care,” he added.

PAs are not new. In fact, they have been around since 1967, when the first batch attended Duke University. Since then, they have taken part in the health system and have been considered to be a valuable asset to busy doctors. With the impending changes in the health care system, they will likely take on an even bigger role than before.

“There are over 100,000 certified PAs in the U.S. today, and the Department of Labor suggests the number of jobs for PAs will increase by about 30 percent by 2020. Nurse practitioners, individuals with similar training, will also be in higher demand,” Donahue added.

Nurse practitioners and PAs do not go to medical school, but many medical experts insist they are able to take over up to 80 percent of a physician’s duties. Currently, they are allowed to prescribe medications in 50 states, run a doctor’s office when their supervisor is away, help perform heart procedures, and endoscopies. Seeing a Nurse Practitioner or PA costs less than seeing the doctor, making these two professions very appealing to a busy physician.

“While these changes may bode well for patients, they may also result in an increase in medical malpractice cases. With all due respect to both professions, and their expertise, they are just ‘not’ doctors, do not have the same level of training, nor do they have the same range of expertise that a physician has,” said Donahue. Non-doctors may be sued as well, more so since there is a huge disparity in licensing requirements between doctors and PAs.

The more things change, the more they remain the same when it comes to medical negligence.

To learn more, visit http://site7v.charlesworkstesting.com.

E-records Keep Patients Safe, or Do They?

E-record keeping is supposed to be the bee’s knees? But is it?

“Are patients really safe when e-records are used?” asks Charlie Donahue, a Keene medical malpractice lawyer with offices in Keene, New Hampshire. “They may or may not be, but a recent study indicates the jury is still out on that count.”

The latest study, released by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), takes a close look at how safe patients are when e-records are used, and what types of medical malpractice risks there may be in doctor’s using them. The report does indicate that the implementation of technology has improved patient safety when it comes to dispensing medications. Other than that, it appears to be ambivalent.

Evidently, the report also indicates that poorly-designed technology systems used in a medical environment introduces new risks, such as an increase in dosing, the result of a typo, treatment delays due to improper scheduling or duplicate scheduling and a failure to detect an illness. In other words, the same kinds of errors that may be made using pen and paper to document care on a patient’s chart, which means the risks themselves are not new, but the way mistakes are made is changing.

“The bottom line here is that no matter how a mistake is made, whether electronically or manually, hospitals and clinics are mandated to keep accurate records of patient treatment. It’s not too far-fetched to suggest that a person’s life may depend on that, because it does. Fact is, substandard medical record keeping is the bane of a doctor’s practice, and considered to be an all too common form of medical malpractice,” Donahue added.

Where mistakes are made due to medical negligence, medical malpractice lawsuits could, and should follow, with the experienced assistance of a Keene medical malpractice lawyer.

To learn more, visit http://site7v.charlesworkstesting.com.

Financial Medical Malpractice on the Rise

Medical malpractice is not always the result of a botched operation. It may be the result of medical billing abuse.

“While most people think of medical malpractice as a failed operation or a misdiagnosed illness, there is another form of medical malpractice beginning to rear its head – financial medical malpractice. This is the consistent over billing by doctors for treating seniors on Medicare. In fact, a recent study by the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) discovered that physicians have overbilled to the tune of $11 billion over the last ten years,” stated Charlie Donahue, a Manchester medical malpractice lawyer with offices in Keene, New Hampshire.

There are multiple sides to every story — the doctor’s side and Medicare’s billing department’s side, and then there’s the truth. Many medical groups suggest the increase in billing is due to the fact that treating the elderly has grown more complex, and takes more time. While modern technology assists physicians diagnose their senior patients, the cost of that technology can be high.

“Some doctors have indicated they have actually undercharged for years and are just now submitting more accurate bills that cover their time and the use of expensive technology. Medical billing codes are set up in such a way to reflect making higher payments for procedures that take more effort and time,” added Donahue. Whatever the truth may be in this scenario, the CPI has shown Medicare claims between 2001 and 2010 show physicians consistently using the more expensive billing codes, and ignoring the less expensive ones.

This particular practice is referred to as ‘upcoding,’ and it has become much more prevalent within the last ten years. Additionally, government audits are showing that doctors are making it a practice to bill out for more extensive and costly services than they are actually delivering.

“Does this have to do with e-health records? Some think so, as creating a patient profile with extensive details is as easy as 1-2-3 on a computer. While this may seem like an odd concern for those that use the health system, the reality here is that fraud like this harms everyone. Billing for services not delivered may also result in medical malpractice of the usual kind, when a patient is harmed in the process of putting money before patient care. Where is a good whistleblower when you need one?” asked Donahue.

It is time to deal with this situation.

To learn more, visit http://site7v.charlesworkstesting.com.

Dead Surgeon Sued For Medical Malpractice

It’s not often a dead doctor gets sued for medical malpractice. In this strange case, a doctor’s estate is being sued for negligence.

The year was 2008. The woman in this case consulted with a plastic surgeon about the process required for reconstructive surgery, following a bilateral mastectomy. In May, the surgery was completed, once the woman had the bilateral mastectomies done.

During the follow-up process, when the woman wanted to discuss after surgical care, treatment and any other procedures that may be required, she was informed that the doctor was no longer in practice, due to an undisclosed illness. Baffled by this information, as the doctor had not seemed ill when she consulted with him prior to surgery, nor after her operation, she attempted to find out more.

What she discovered rocked her world. The doctor was evidently no longer practicing, as his medical license had been suspended as a result of several charges laid against him for refusing or failing to turn over patient medical records, and for falsifying medical records. Realizing that she needed to get her medical records, since he was no longer in practice, and she still needed care, she began the process of attempting to obtain them. While the physician’s office promised she would get them, they were never sent to her.

The woman went to another surgeon in 2010, who discovered the first doctor had not installed the devices she had chosen in 2008, and had assumed had been placed during surgery. This shocking discovery led to a second surgery to get things right. Then again, in 2011, another operation was required to complete the process.

The medical negligence suit states the first surgeon caused her unending pain and anxiety, severe emotional distress, extensive scarring, additional medical expenses relating to the two further reconstructive surgeries and lost income. The suit was filed against the doctor’s estate, as he had died in 2010, and his wife was named as his executrix.

Has this woman got a case? Most certainly. The horror show she went through to have reconstructive surgery done properly was indeed a three-ring circus. The fact that the first surgeon did not install the correct devices required for reconstruction after a bilateral mastectomy was egregious. But for his negligence, the woman would not have spent two extra years in and out of hospital getting the first botched surgery rectified.

Think you have been a victim of medical malpractice? Contact a Keene medical malpractice lawyer for advice.

Charlie Donahue is a New Hampshire personal injury lawyer located in Keene. Donahue handles injury cases in New Hampshire and across the United States. To learn more about New Hampshire injury attorney, Charlie Donahue, visit Donahuelawfirm.com.

Beware of Back-up Blind Zones Behind Your Car

Accidents happen in the strangest of ways. In this instance, a man backed the family car over his son and wife.

The day started out like any normal day, except that this family was going on a special trip to introduce the 8-year-old to the local science center. The man dropped off his wife and child in the parking, planning to park the car and join them so they could enter the building together. As the man backed up his car, he ran over his wife and son. The little boy died as a result of his injuries. The wife was admitted to hospital in serious condition, but is expected to survive.

How could the man back his car over his wife and child? Couldn’t he see them out the rearview window or by using his side mirror? Running over someone behind your car is far easier than you may think, as there is a problem that most drivers are unaware of – there is a blind spot or zone behind the car. Most drivers know about the blind spot on either side of their vehicles, but few are aware of the danger zone behind them. Every vehicle has a blind spot; what many do not know is that the blind area may range from 10 feet (for a sedan) up to 30 feet (for a pick-up truck).

Each year, hundreds of kids are taken to hospital emergency rooms as a result of pedestrian-versus-vehicle accidents, just like this horrific one. Additionally, the statistics on this type of accident are not complete, as they are usually underestimated due to being under-reported. They go under-reported for a variety of reasons, including accidents where the child was injured, but did not go to hospital, or were treated at a walk-in clinic or their own doctor’s office, or they were seen at an emergency room, but were treated and sent home without being admitted to the hospital.

Back-over incidents do not happen as frequently as other forms of auto accidents, but they can be just as fatal, as this case demonstrates. They also result in more severe crush injuries than other kinds of car-versus-pedestrian accidents.

If back-over incidences are happing with such frequency, why hasn’t anyone done something about it? The good news is that someone “has” done something about it. KidsAndCars.org successfully lobbied the government to make it mandatory that cars made in 2014 come equipped with back-up cameras. The added visibility is a step in the right direction and many personal injury attorneys applaud the organization for their advocacy. No lawyer wants to deal with a wrongful death lawsuit of a child who died under the wheels of a car as it backed up over them, because the driver, whether they are related to the child or not, did not see them.

Stay safe. Keep your children safe.

Charlie Donahue is a New Hampshire personal injury lawyer located in Keene. Donahue handles injury cases in New Hampshire and across the United States. To learn more about New Hampshire injury attorney, Charlie Donahue, visit Donahuelawfirm.com.

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