Medicinal Marijuana

LFDA Editor

In Brief: 

  • Medical use of marijuana in New Hampshire was authorized in 2013. 
  • Medical cannabis must be purchased at a licensed alternative treatment center. There are four such centers in the state, located in Lebanon, Dover, Merrimack and Plymouth.
  • Qualifying conditions include cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS and spinal cord injury.
  • Pro: Medical marijuana can be a safe and effective treatment for the symptoms of terminal illness and chronic diseases.
  • Con: Marijuana is an addictive, non-FDA approved drug that adversely affects the lungs, immune system, and brain.

Issue Facts: 

On July 23, 2013, Gov. Maggie Hassan made New Hampshire the 19th state to legalize medicinal marijuana by signing the House and Senate-passed HB 573. Under the bill, four alternative treatment centers would be licensed by the state to dispense marijuana to qualifying patients. Those centers, located in Lebanon, Dover, Merrimack and Plymouth, opened in 2016. 

Cancer, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, Hepatitis C, ALS, muscular dystrophy, Crohn's disease, Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis, chronic pancreatitis, spinal cord injury or disease, and traumatic brain injury are some of the qualifying conditions.

The original version of the bill permitted marijuana cultivation by patients, but concerns over law enforcement led to the provision's removal.

In signing the bill, Hassan said: "Allowing doctors to provide relief to patients through the use of appropriately regulated and dispensed medical marijuana is the compassionate and right policy for the State of New Hampshire."

The treatment centers are located in Plymouth, Dover, Lebanon and Merrimack. 

According to 2013 WMUR Granite State poll, 79% of New Hampshire residents support a medicinal marijuana law (57% strongly and 22% somewhat).

Eighteen other states and the District of Columbia have enacted medicinal marijuana laws.

PROS & CONS

"For" Position

By LFDA Editor

"NH should continue to allow medical marijuana."

  • Medical marijuana can be a safe and effective treatment for the symptoms of terminal illness and chronic diseases.
  • The American College of Physicians, American Nurses Association, and American Public Health Association are some of the major health organizations to support the medicinal value of marijuana.

"Against" Position

By LFDA Editor

"NH should not allow medical marijuana."

  • Marijuana is an addictive, non-FDA approved drug that adversely affects the lungs, immune system, and brain.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

Passed House and Senate

Adds chronic pain to the qualifying medical conditions for medical marijuana.

Killed in the House

Adds opioid addiction to the qualifying medical conditions for medical marijuana.

Killed in the House

Adds fibromyalgia to the qualifying medical conditions for medical marijuana.

Passed House

Adds post-traumatic stress disorder to the qualifying medical conditions for medical marijuana.

Killed in the House

Adds myelitis disorder or disease to the qualifying medical conditions for medical marijuana.

Killed in the House

Makes various changes to the medical marijuana law, for example adding PTSD and opioid addiction to qualifying medical conditions, and removing the requirement of a 3-month medical relationship between doctor and patient before medical marijuana is prescribed.

Passed House and Senate

Allows medicinal marijuana for "severe pain that has not responded to previously prescribed medication or surgical measures or for which other treatment options produced serious side effects."

Passed House and Senate

Adds hepatitis C without antiviral treatment to the qualifying medical conditions for medical marijuana.

Passed House and Senate

Adds community living facilities for people with developmental disabilities or mental illnesses to the definition of "facility caregiver" in the medical marijuana law.

Passed House

Permits qualifying patients and registered caregivers to grow medicinal marijuana at home.

Passed House and Senate

Changes the medicinal marijuana low to allow marijuana for injuries or conditions that result in qualifying symptoms, not just injuries that significantly interfere with daily activities.

Passed Senate

Adds Ehlers-Danlos syndrome to the qualifying medical conditions for medical marijuana.

Killed in the House

Allows the Department of Health and Human Services to authorize medical marijuana use for a medical condition that is not listed in the law on a "patient by patient" basis rather than "case by case" basis.

Signed by Governor

As originally written, this bill would allow providers in neighboring states to prescribe medical marijuana, and would change the amount of marijuana dispensaries may have on location. The Senate amended the bill to instead revise confidentiality requirements for law enforcement requests for information about registered medical marijuana patients. The House then amended the bill to make a number of changes to the medical marijuana law, such as limiting criminal background checks to felony convictions.

Killed in the House

Adds post-traumatic stress disorder to the qualifying medical conditions under the medical marijuana law.

Signed by Governor

Adds ulcerative colitis to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana.

Killed in the House

Allows two additional medical marijuana treatment centers.

Killed in the House

Allows physician assistants to prescribe medicinal marijuana.

Killed in the House

Requires the state to begin processing applications for medical marijuana ID cards no later than July 23, 2015.

Killed in the House

Broadens the medical conditions that qualify for medicinal marijuana to include many general symptoms.

Signed by Governor

Adds epilepsy, lupus, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease to the list of medical conditions qualifying for medicinal marijuana.

Signed by Governor

As introduced, this bill would allow satellite marijuana dispensaries. The bill was amended to only clarify certain procedures in the law governing therapeutic use of cannabis.

Signed by Governor

Requires a medicinal marijuana treatment center to give payment in lieu of taxes to a municipality if the center's nonprofit status grants a property tax exemption.

Interim Study

Permits qualifying patients and registered caregivers to grow medicinal marijuana at home.

Tabled in the House

Protects certified public accountants from prosecution or penalty for providing services to medical marijuana treatment centers and patients.

Interim Study

Permits qualifying patients and registered caregivers to grow medicinal marijuana at home.

Signed by Governor

Adds a member of the New Hampshire Association of Police Chiefs to the advisory council overseeing the implementation of the medicinal marijuana law.

Interim Study

Adds epilepsy, lupus, and Parkinson's disease to the list of conditions qualifying for medicinal marijuana. This bill also requires medicinal marijuana to be in a locked container when in a car.

Killed in the House

Prohibits advertising by medicinal marijuana treatment centers.

Signed by Governor

Creates deadlines for the criminal background check for caregivers. This bill also repeals the requirement that marijuana cultivation locations be confidential.

Signed by Governor

Allows medicinal use of marijuana, without allowing home growing.

Vetoed by Governor

Allows medicinal marijuana through home growing.

Vetoed by Governor

Allows medicinal use of marijuana, without allowing home growing.

Should NH continue to allow medicinal marijuana?

FOR
REPRESENTATIVES

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UNDECIDED
REPRESENTATIVES

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AGAINST
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Comments

BrianDunn's picture
Brian Dunn
- Henniker

Wed, 09/16/2015 - 4:52pm

We commonly accept opiods such as vicodin and oxycontin to be prescribed with no outcry and happily feed amphetamines such as adderall to our children, but people will shout at the top of their lungs to keep Marijuana illegal and out of society? Honestly people, how nieve are you? I bet you nearly every person who believes marijuana should be illegal is on some prescription drug (anti depressant, anti anxiety, sleep aid) which are scientifically stronger and more addictive than marijuana. If not this then I bet they consumes alcholol on a regular basis. Both of which are worse then marijuana itself. Wake up people, you are dumb.

Jon
- Nashua

Tue, 03/31/2015 - 10:24am

We are coming up to the 2yr anniversary of nh passing the medical Marijuana bill and yet patients still have no access. What is taking so long?

Thomas Kelley
- Newport

Mon, 10/13/2014 - 12:00am

Marijuana prohibition is a costly policy that has cost our country billions. The prohibition of medical marijuana is particularly unfair and unjust to victims of debilitating  diseases and medical conditions. Patients are forced to break the law and support a criminal subculture and criminal economy to obtain a medicine that could be bought legally for fair prices, or simply grown in their back yards.

Jamie Fintonis
- Epping

Sun, 08/23/2015 - 12:02pm

Its 2015.  We all know alcohol is so much more dangerous than cannabis.  Lets get real.

Thomas Kelley
- Newport

Sun, 08/23/2015 - 12:05pm

Number of alchohol related deaths per year : 88,000 Number of Cannabis related deaths:  0

      It seems that whether a politician accepts the lies and failings of cannabis prohibition is indicative of his  willingness to think and act independently. We are at a point now where partisan politics is not quite as tied to the issue of cannabis prohibition. People from both sides of the political spectrum are admitting federal cannabis policy is a costly failure.

        By the way, Senator Kelly Ayotte has come out against any federal decriminalization plans, taking the freedom choice away from the NH State control. The feds do not want to give up the billions invested in the DEA for cannabis law enforcement.

johns97's picture
John Sullivan
- Methuen

Wed, 06/27/2012 - 11:02pm

New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch is universally praised for his bipartisanship and his adroit navigation, as a Democrat, through a roiling sea of conservative lawmakers. That's probably why it's no surprise that, when it comes to medical marijuana, he can at once be so right and so wrong.

On June 21, Lynch carried through with his promised veto of Senate Bill 409, a measure to permit the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes in New Hampshire. For sticking by his word, and being willing to break ranks with a large portion of his lefty, 420-friendly base (not to mention defying the libertarian ethos among many Granite Staters), the governor is in the right.

Similarly, the governor is correct in worrying about a lack of oversight that would allow casual stoners, or even children, to avail themselves of cannabis meant for healing. As he says in his veto message, "SB 409 also authorizes marijuana use by minors under the age of 18. At a time of increased use of marijuana by minors across the country, I am very concerned that legislation allowing marijuana use by teenagers even for medical purposes will downplay the perceived risk of use of this drug and will lead to increased adolescent use in New Hampshire."

No question about it. Just as Ritalin and Adderall -- stimulants prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, particularly in young people -- circulate through a teenage underground for unprescribed, even recreational, purposes, "legitimate" marijuana will find its way into the wrong hands.

But, unlike marijuana, countless harmful narcotics, painkillers and amphetamines aren't made illegal because of the potential for illicit use. And that's where the governor finds his way to the wrong side of the issue.

As outlined in the Live Free or Die Alliance's issue page on medicinal marijuana, the American College of Physicians, American Nurses Association, and American Public Health Association are just some of the major health organizations attesting to the medicinal value of marijuana. And while the American Medical Association doesn't expressly endorse marijuana, it has urged the federal government to allow adequate and well-controlled studies of marijuana and related cannabinoids for a variety of patients.

With his veto (and the unlikelihood of predicted doom for an override in the state Senate), Gov. Lynch effectively ends the conversation, and the potential for important medical assistance, for at least another year. That's just wrong.

Barbara B
- Conway

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 9:16pm

I don't have any objections to the legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes, although I do believe that for such, a prescription would be necessary in order to obtain it. It should also first be approved, like all other drugs do now, by a board within the health insurance industry, who oversees the legitimate use of prescription drugs. If a person isn't qualified to receive it, then the board would deny the authorization for its use, just as it currently does for any other prescription it approves or denies.

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Issue Status

Debate over medicinal marijuana this session has focused largely on two areas: expanding qualifying conditions, and allowing patients to grow their own cannabis at home. A bill to add chronic pain to qualifying conditions has passed the Senate and proceeds to the House, while bills related to other qualifying conditions and growing cannabis are in committee. See the Legislative History section below for details. 

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