Yesterday the House approved House Bill 573 that would allow patients to grow up to three plants or get it from one of five state-regulated medical marijuana centers. Even better, it passed with more than 80 percent support from both sides of the aisle 286 to 64. The bill now moves on to the senate for approval.
The bill is progressive in a lot of ways. For starters, it would allow patients suffering from post-traumatic stress unlike most other medical states. Patients who grow at home could keep up to six ounces, and transport/be in possession of up to two ounces away from a grow location or dispensary. Dispensaries, dubbed “alternative treatment centers” would be able to grow up to 80 plants and have up to 80 ounces of usable cannabis on site.
The law also makes it clear that possession of a card is not to be used as probable cause that illegal activities are going on. It also protects patients from having things like occupational licenses and The bill would also allow for reciprocity for patients visiting from other states who have a doctor’s recommendation for medical cannabis. An early draft of the bill had language that would have made the transportation of seedlings from out-of-state legal but that language seems to have been dropped.
According to the Marijuana Policy Project, similar bills passed with more than two-thirds support three times over the last four years but they point out that this year represents the strongest margin yet.
“This overwhelming vote comes as a great relief to patients who have been waiting years to legally follow their doctors’ advice,” Matt Simon, a legislative analyst with MPP, said in a press release. “Patients should not have to live in fear of arrest in the ‘Live Free or Die’ state, and it’s a great relief for them to see such strong, bipartisan support from the House.”
Advocates say this is the year that it will finally get past the senate and to Governor Maggie Hassan for approval. According to the Union Leader, Hassan’s is open to medical marijuana laws in the state, but has remained mum on her thoughts on HB 573:
“The governor believes any measure permitting the use of medically prescribed marijuana must ensure that the method of distribution is safe and tightly regulated and has concerns about the ability to properly regulate a home-grow option, but she will continue to listen to the concerns of advocates, law enforcement and legislators as the process moves forward.”