The New Hampshire House of Representatives passed two bills on Wednesday to expand access to medical marijuana for patients. However, a broader bill that would have gone further to expand access died in the state Senate.
The House voted to add insomnia and opioid use disorder to the state’s list of serious medical conditions that qualify a patient to use medicinal cannabis. The addition of opioid use disorder includes several restrictive provisions, such as one that requires certifying providers to have specialized training in the treatment of addiction.
Earlier versions of the legislation passed by lawmakers on Wednesday included provisions that also would have added Lyme disease and anxiety to the state’s list of qualifying conditions, but they did not make it to the final draft of the bill.
Also on Wednesday, the New Hampshire Senate voted down legislation that would have broadly expanded the state’s medical marijuana program. Under that bill, patients would have been able to receive a recommendation to use medical marijuana for any condition for which such treatment is deemed necessary by a health care provider.
The Senate also voted to call for more study of a bill that would legalize cannabis for use by adults 21 and older. That bill would have legalized the recreational use of marijuana and established a framework for the regulation and taxation of commercial cannabis production and sales.
Current Cannabis Laws In New Hampshire
Under current New Hampshire law, the possession of cannabis has been decriminalized for adults. Those 18 and older found in possession of less than three quarters of an ounce of marijuana can be cited for a violation and fined up to $100. The fine is increased on the third and fourth offense.
The medicinal use of cannabis was legalized in New Hampshire in 2013. Under current law, patients with one or more specified serious medical conditions are permitted to use medical marijuana with a physician’s recommendation. Qualified patients are permitted to possess up to two ounces of medical marijuana. Home cultivation of cannabis by patients is currently not permitted.
Last year, a bill that would have permitted qualified medical marijuana patients to grow their own cannabis at home was approved by the New Hampshire legislature but vetoed by Gov. Chris Sununu in August. The House voted to override the veto but that effort failed in the Senate, falling short by only three votes.
The list of qualifying conditions to use medical marijuana in New Hampshire is currently limited to 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.