CONCORD, N.H. – New Hampshire is poised to become the 19th state to allow seriously ill people to possess and use marijuana for medical reasons.
The Legislature votes Wednesday on compromise legislation that would allow patients diagnosed with cancer, Crohn’s disease and other conditions to possess up to 2 ounces of marijuana obtained from dispensaries.
The dispensaries could have a maximum of 80 marijuana plants, 160 seedlings and 80 ounces of marijuana, or 6 ounces per qualifying patient. They also would have a limit of three mature cannabis plants, 12 seedlings and 6 ounces for each patient who designates the dispensary as a treatment center.
The compromise eliminated an option for patients to also grow marijuana at home. Gov. Maggie Hassan said she wouldn’t sign the bill if the home-grow provision remained.
Home-grow option supporters had argued that some patients need legal access to the drug now, and that waiting for dispensaries to start operating put them through needless suffering. They said it could take the state close to a year to write regulations for dispensaries, and another year or more for them to begin operating.
The compromise agreed to last week calls for the commission implementing the new system to be appointed as soon as the bill is passed.
To qualify for medical marijuana, a person would have to have been a patient of the prescribing doctor for at least 90 days, have tried other remedies and have exhibited certain symptoms. Only New Hampshire residents would qualify.
Hassan said last week that she will sign the compromise because it is the compassionate and right policy for the state.