Stymied by the governor last year, New Hampshire lawmakers are trying once again to pass a bill permitting patients or caregivers to grow their own marijuana for medical purposes.
The legislation passed in the New Hampshire state senate this week, and will now head to the state House for a vote.
Democrats control both chambers in the General Court of New Hampshire, the state’s bicameral legislative body, but the governor, Chris Sununu, is a Republican.
Both the senate and the House passed a similar “grow your own” bill last year, but Sununu vetoed the measure, arguing that the bill would make life more difficult for law enforcement.
“New Hampshire has reasonable regulations set up to ensure that our therapeutic cannabis program responsibly treats those in need while limiting the diversion of marijuana to the black market and ensuring that products meet public health standards,” Sununu said following his veto last August. “This bill would bypass those public health and safety guardrails and make the job of law enforcement significantly more difficult.”
The new bill passed this week would permit patients or licensed caregivers to grow up to “three mature cannabis plants” at one time.
Tom Sherman, a Democratic state House representative, said the measure would be a game-changer.
“This bill will give patients and their caregivers the ability to grow their own medicine at greatly reduced cost compared to the prohibitive costs that they would have had to pay at a dispensary, which might not even have the type of medical cannabis that patients needs to treat their conditions,” Sherman said, as quoted by New Hampshire Public Radio.
The State of Cannabis in New Hampshire
New Hampshire legislators have been busy with other marijuana bills in this year’s session. Last month, the state House voted to expand New Hampshire’s medical marijuana program to include both insomnia and opioid addiction as qualifying conditions for a medical marijuana prescription.
The current list of qualifying conditions in New Hampshire includes: ALS, Alzheimer’s disease, cachexia, cancer, chemotherapy-induced anorexia, chronic pain, chronic pancreatitis, Crohn’s disease, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, elevated intraocular pressure, epilepsy, glaucoma, hepatitis C (currently receiving antiviral treatment), HIV and AIDS, lupus, moderate to severe vomiting, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, nausea, Parkinson’s disease, persistent muscle spasms, post-traumatic stress disorder, seizures, severe pain that has not responded to previously prescribed medication, spinal cord injury or disease, traumatic brain injury, and wasting syndrome.
New Hampshire legalized medical marijuana in 2013. Currently, more than 30 states have done so.