New Hampshire senate approves medical marijuana bill after removing home cultivation


New Hampshire state house.

The New Hampshire Senate yesterday gave approval to House Bill 573, which will legalize the medical use of cannabis for patients with qualifying conditions.
But the question of whether medical marijuana patients should be allowed to grow their own medicine is still up for debate, though. The bill originally passed by the House back in March allowed for home cultivation, but thanks to pressure from Gov. Maggie Hassan, the Senate removed those provisions. The New Hampshire House and Senate will now have to iron out their differences before sending final language off to Hassan.

The senate also removed post-traumatic stress disorder as one of the qualifying conditions at the request of the governor, according to New Hampshire public radio.
As it reads now, though, there are many other qualifying conditions that would allow patients to possess up to two ounces of herb purchased from one of several state-regulated medical marijuana centers. Qualifying conditions include Alzheimers disease, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, chronic pain, cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, spinal cord injury, and any injury that disrupts your daily life.
Lawmakers say they are creating a much tighter system than existing medical marijuana programs in other states.
“This law will not make New Hampshire a California, Colorado or Washington state. The restrictions in this bill will help ensure that this is a New Hampshire law that helps New Hampshire patients,” said Sen. John Reagan told the Concord Monitor.
The bill will now have to go to a special committee of senators and representatives to hammer out the differences. While the House should stand up for patient rights, several lawmakers – including the bill’s sponsor Rep. Donna Schlachman – have indicated that they want to pass the bill this session and will do whatever it takes to make that happen.
“We applaud the senators for adopting this compassionate and much-needed legislation despite its imperfections,” Matt Simon, legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a release. “Those suffering from debilitating medical conditions deserve safe and legal access to medical marijuana, and the Senate has once again clearly indicated its support for patients.”
Some, Simon, have pitched the idea of allowing home cultivation for the first few years, or until the state manages to license a dispensary and allow it to open.