New Hampshire Legalizes Medical Marijuana
New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan signed a bill Tuesday legalizing marijuana for approved medical use. New Hampshire became the 19th state to legalize medical marijuana, and the final New England state to do so.
The new law, HB 573, provides for as many as four nonprofit dispensaries and allows qualified patients to possess up to two ounces of marijuana. To qualify, patients must have at least one of a limited range of conditions like cancer, Crohn’s disease or multiple sclerosis. Doctors must treat patients for at least 90 days and try other remedies before making medical marijuana recommendations.
Unlike in several other states, New Hampshire patients must purchase their medical marijuana from state-sanctioned dispensaries. They’re forbidden from growing their own or buying from other sources, leaving currently sick patients to wait as long as two years for the first dispensary to open.
New Hampshire’s House of Representatives passed a bill that would allow home cultivation of marijuana for approved patients, but that provision was stripped from the legislation by the state Senate at Hassan’s request. The Senate also struck post-traumatic stress disorder from the list of approved medical conditions and included a provision requiring patients to obtain written permission before using medical marijuana on anyone else’s private property.
“Allowing doctors to provide relief to patients through the use of appropriately regulated and dispensed medical marijuana is the compassionate and right policy for the State of New Hampshire, and this legislation ensures that we approach this policy in the right way with measures to prevent abuse,” said Gov. Hassan in a statement.
“By providing strong regulatory oversight and clear dispensing guidelines, this bill addresses many of the concerns that were expressed throughout the legislative process. HB 573 legalizes the use of medical marijuana in a way that makes sense for the State of New Hampshire and gives health providers another option to help New Hampshire’s seriously ill patients.”
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