Concord, NH: Governor Maggie Hassan has signed legislation, House Bill 573, into law making New Hampshire the 19th state to authorize the physician-recommended use of cannabis for qualified patients.
Stated Hassan: “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. … By providing strong regulatory oversight and clear dispensing guidelines, this bill addresses many of the concerns that were expressed throughout the legislative process.
The new law creates four state-sanctioned dispensing facilities to produce and distribute cannabis to state-qualified patients who possess a doctor’s recommendation. Patients must have a preexisting relationship of at least three months with their physician prior to receiving a recommendation for cannabis therapy. Patients diagnosed with one of approximately twenty qualifying conditions – including cancer, hepatitis C, muscular dystrophy, Crohn’s disease, or multiple sclerosis – will be permitted to legally possess up to two-ounces of cannabis. Under the law, patients must obtain cannabis only from a state-licensed facility. Qualified patients will not be provided with any legal protections to possess or use cannabis prior to the establishment of such facilities.
It has been estimated that it may take state regulators up to two years to get the nascent program up and running.
As originally passed by the House, the measure allowed qualified patients the option to grow their own cannabis. It also allowed physicians to recommend cannabis for the treatment of post-traumatic stress. Both provisions were stripped from the bill by the Senate at the request of the Governor.
For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, or Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director, at (202) 483-5500.