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Lawmakers Likely to Expand New Hampshire’s Medical Marijuana Program

NH Cannabis

New Hampshire lawmakers want to expand the state’s medical marijuana program in 2017. So far, 11 Legislative Service Requests have been submitted for the next legislative session. If adopted, these requests would be drafted into bills for passing.

One lawmaker, Renny Cushing, backs a measure to allow patients to grow at home, according to Union Leader. Home growing was part of the initial medical marijuana bill; however, it was opposed by Governor Hassan and the NH Association of Chiefs of Police (NHACP). This forced the law to pass without that provision included.

Cushing said, “I think it’s time for New Hampshire to be able to make that available to patients.”

Health insurance does not cover medical marijuana. So, according to Cushing, it’s an “economic justice” matter because qualifying patients without funds to buy the expensive medicine still don’t have access to medical marijuana.

President of the NHACP, Chief Glendon Drolet expects the home grow provision to be opposed by the chiefs association. He said, “I just think at this point, if the ball goes faster than the runner, we’re playing catch-up all the time.”

Measures to include six new qualifying conditions have been submitted. Those conditions include:

  • PTSD
  • Chronic pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Hepatitis C
  • Myelitis
  • Opioid addiction

In New Hampshire, patients not only have to have a qualifying condition but they are also required to have at least one symptom of their condition present. There are only 4 medical marijuana dispensaries in the state.

Senator John Reagan sponsors a measure expanding the definition of the state’s qualifying conditions. The state’s current language says that a patient must have “one or more injuries that significantly interferes with daily activities as documented by the patient’s provider”. However, most debilitating conditions aren’t caused by an injury, which makes the language confusing.

Passing this new measure would prevent patient application denial when their recommending doctors cannot list an actual “injury” on their applications.