SUMMARY: Democrat Gov. Maggie Hassan on July 23, 2013 signed legislation, House Bill 573, authorizing the physician-recommended use of cannabis for qualified patients. The law creates four state-sanctioned marijuana dispensing facilities to produce and distribute cannabis to state-qualified patients who possess a doctor's recommendation. Patients must have a preexisting relationship of at least three months with their physician prior to receiving a recommendation for cannabis therapy. Patients diagnosed with one of approximately twenty qualifying conditions -- including cancer, hepatitis C, muscular dystrophy, Crohn's disease, or multiple sclerosis -- are permitted to legally possess up to two-ounces of cannabis. Under the law, patients must obtain cannabis only from a state-licensed facility. Qualified patients will not be provided with any legal protections to possess or use cannabis prior to the establishment of such facilities. It has been estimated that it may take state regulators as much as two years to get the nascent program up and running.