New Hampshire: Governor Signs Medical Marijuana Measure Into Law

Democrat Gov. Maggie Hassan today signed legislation (HB 573) into law making New Hampshire the 19th state to authorize the physician-recommended use of cannabis for qualified patients.

Governor Hassan issued the following public statement upon the bill’s passage:

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, and this legislation ensures that we approach this policy in the right way with measures to prevent abuse.

By providing strong regulatory oversight and clear dispensing guidelines, this bill addresses many of the concerns that were expressed throughout the legislative process. HB 573 legalizes the use of medical marijuana in a way that makes sense for the State of New Hampshire and gives health providers another option to help New Hampshire’s seriously ill patients.

The new 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 — will be 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.

As originally passed by the House, the measure allowed qualified patients the option to grow their own cannabis. It also allowed physicians to recommend cannabis for the treatment of post-traumatic stress. Both provisions were stripped from the bill by the Senate at the request of the Governor.

A similar measure awaits action from the Governor in Illinois.

New Hampshire is the sixth and final New England state — joining Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Maine — to enact medical marijuana legislation.

28 thoughts

  1. Great news! Thank you all, everyone who made this a reality.

    How many states repealed Alcohol Prohibition before federal legislation to repeal it began?

    I’m looking for a good source to see state by state which states, tired of waiting for D.C. to get its act together, repealed state laws on the prohibition of alcohol.

    It’s probably here in the archives somewhere.

    In a blog post, Paul Armentano, deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, states regarding the repeal of Prohibition: “Alcohol prohibition fell when a sufficient number of states enacted legislation repealing the state’s alcohol prohibition laws.”


    I hope Illinois follows quickly, then many more states.

    [Paul Armentano responds: “How many states repealed Alcohol Prohibition before federal legislation to repeal it began?” I believe the total number was ten. Of course, alcohol prohibition was a policy that was in place for far less longer, and thus was less entrenched, than is modern-day cannabis prohibition.]

  2. Dont be fooled, she isnt pro-marijuana. Shes just caving into the medical crowd because she knows its inevitable. Cant grow your own, cant let troops use it all because one bitch.

  3. I am for any medical cannabis measure that expands patients right, including this New Hampshire and the New Jersey program.

    However, states with strict medical marijuana programs like these are really difficult for most people to work with. Even the really sick. In New Jersey, their only compassion center closes frequently and limits their supply because they can’t keep up with demand. The restrictions they place on doctors makes most doctors scared to prescribe marijuana, and only few are comfortable recommending it, and only in “life threatening” type of circumstances. The state registration fees are expensive and take work and a long time to process, before you can acquire any medicine. Again, while I support these programs and increased access, I feel like they are there just so the government doesn’t have to feel guilty in this day and age of taking really sick old people to jail. I have medical issues as well. Sad to say, in states like NH and NJ, I would probably just stick to buying from a drug dealer, because sadly, they probably have better quality medicine than these “compassion centers”. States, such as Maine and Michigan, also ban marijuana concentrates and edibles, which is incredibly stupid because they’re far more medicinal and safer to use. Colorado is the model reformers should be pushing for.

  4. Illinois should have been the 19th state I don’t know why it’s taking Governor Quinn so long. Maybe after seeing this Illinois will hopefully be the 20th state.

  5. I dont under stand a police man told me there is no medical benfit from smokeing pot. And we all know the police know more than the Doc.sci ect

  6. 19 states now have medical cannabis laws. That should create enough available data to prove that marijuana use does NOT create any significant rise in either crime rates or health issues. It should show that adults can certainly use marijuana responsibly and safely. I think all this info should be collected and compiled into a single report for use in getting marijuana fully legalized everywhere.

  7. Well folks, we’re now 1/3rd of the way there if we use the “Obama 57 state” count…LOL! Hey, he laughed off MJ so let’s laugh him off too!

  8. Too bad Hassan had to strip the most important parts of the bill before she passed it. No home grow and no exception for PTSD. I wonder who promised her money for her re-election campaign? It will still be 2015 before we see anything from this. To me, at least, it seems she has punted on this issue. Alas, black market pot will still be better and cheaper.

  9. @Observer, don’t be so sure. President Obama mentioned the “drug wars,” disproportionately affecting African Americans in his response speech to the Trayvon Martin verdict. Great speech, but he’s still losing a few points among African American voters, his strongest voting block. Obama may not be running for reelection, which helps him make contraversial executive orders. But Congress IS up for reelection next year, and he needs Democrats to win back the motivation of voters to regain the House if he wants to get anything done in his last two years as President.
    I can smell an executive order hitting the DOJ to reduce cannabis prohibition right before 2014 Congressional elections all the way from Texas. Or is that the smell of New England medical patients lighting up simultaneously?

  10. It’s about time New Hampshire joined the rest of the New England states in passing legislation which legalizes medical use. Looks like prohibition has come one-step closer to its eventual demise in the United States of America. Way to go Maggie Hassan.

  11. Don’t be fooled, this law is many, many years from doing any good if ever…No growing your own, none for soldiers with ptsd, many other hurdles and restrictions will pop up. This law in New Hampshire is for show only…

  12. This is bullshit, NO VICTORY at all. As previously stated, dont’ be fooled by this government ‘controlled’ bullshit. Controlled = Expensive. In Nevada, it costs over $400 to get your medical card. How the hell is someone supposed to afford medicine after spending that much money. To hell with the government ‘controlled’ crapola.

  13. Just like in Maryland where Martin O’Malley boondogled us into excepting a 3 yr plan where no one gets it until maybe he’s out of office to save his pipedream presidential campaign. Maybe its time for a few dying cancer patients to start shooting back in this war on cannabis users with real bullets, that’s all these self serving politicians understand. Wait 3 yrs in MD? We’ve had enough.

  14. Yes it is true that she did strip what were two very important parts of the bill (PTSD and grow-your-own). However look at what just happened in Nevada, they have had MMJ since 2000 and only this year was an amendment passed by its current governor to the law expanding what was one of the stricter MMJ programs. The new additions will allow dispensaries, increase the amount of personal possession allowed and increase the amount of cannabis patients can grow. New Hampshire’s law may not be perfect but it is a start, and additions can be made down the line. Staying vigilant and taking the bad with the good is how everyday we can help ensure that the grave injustice of marijuana prohibition whether for recreation or medicine is knocked down one state at a time. Once we get to 25 states the floodgates will be nearly impossible for politicians in the remaining half to keep closed. New York state has been pivotal in the past for political change and this puts more regional pressure on the state’s government. The state passed a women’s suffrage law in 1917 and three years later the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution was passed. Commitment, courage, and the will to not quit or get discouraged will take us where we want to go—–An America where we can grow and smoke in peace, One Love

  15. Of course it’s bullshit legislation. Anything that denies any adults access to cannabis is bullshit. But with public opinion being where it is already, more states passing even bullshit legislation that acknowledges that cannabis has medical benefits is a good thing. Also, I wouldn’t bet on Obama doing anything against cannabis prohibition. His track record is horrible, so I don’t have much hope for anything different from him. He did mention how drug laws hit minority youth the hardest, but he is also a staunch supporter of those laws, so I guess he just wants more white people arrested.

  16. Governor Hassan – what an evil, depraved person.

    Singling out the poor, traumatized, suffering souls amongst us for persecution. Most of them probably men who have sacrificed everything to serve this country.

    And taking away the right to grow simple plants to ease suffering from the many poor and disabled people in our society. Shame on you Governor Hassan!

  17. USA started the global DRUG WAR & until they call an armistice, it will go on. Americans should be glad that at least there are moves to change.. here in Aotearoa/NZ there is alot of rhetoric BUT zero-tolerance is still ruling the day ! Politicians here are just running scared that the ‘law & order’ brigade will create a voter back-lash.. so continue with the ‘devil they know’ mentality.. whilst thousands of otherwise law abiding citizens are arrested annually for cannabis possession/medicinal use. We have amongst the highest arrest rates per capita in the world.

  18. Each new state just means we are that much closer to complete legalization. At the very least the feds are going to be forced to acknowledge states rights regarding this issue. I sure hope we see this trend continue and more states legalize for medicinal uses.
    The feds eventually are going to have to remove marijuana from schedule one status and move it into a schedule three: Too many states know now that there are medical uses at a much cheaper cost than most prescription alternatives.

  19. It’s definitely a political ploy for the Governor but at least it’s been established and we can now start to make the easier strides. Think positive, kill that negativity. Write bills and laws yourself find reps as sponsers and file them. Just keep pushing

  20. Its funny they talk about weed like its going to somehow make the crime rate go up with full legalization. As if weed is a new thing. Fact is its always been there and always will the only thing the crime rate can do is go down if its fully legalized because then everybody will stop being arested for it. And realy? The next guy to run could get into the president spot pretty easy all he would need to do is say he’ll end prohibition.

  21. I have been dealing with Multiple Sclerosis for 20 years this last weekend. Fibromyalgia I didn’t even believe was more than a ‘catch phrase’ that doctors would give women; so they could tell their husband they have something WRONG. Well, a year after my diagnosis that Friggin’ Fibro’ sunk it Fangs in me and I was left in the Fetal position crying. Add a nasty arthritic condition and Central Pain Syndrome… and I just live in enough pain so I won’t die of Pain Killers!!! Thank Heaven and Earth for YOU Gov. Hassan; you are a brave lady with a true ‘trail blazing’ spirit! Thank You from the bottom of my A-Fib heart ( ;

  22. I havd suffered from Fibromyalgia and Multiple Sclerosis for 17 yrs. I don’t want to smoke marijuana, I want access to organic cannabis flower oil. It has been proven, science and medical use has proven, that having a tablespoon a day eliminates neuropathic pain. If NH had any real interest in helping it’s citizenship the changes to the original bill would not have taken place. Why would I have to wait two years? It seems as if Hansen, whom I worked to get elected, couldn’t take the time to educate herself and just doesn’t care about the chronic pain sufferers in NH.

  23. I was a cosponsor of HB 573 the “Therapeutic Use of Cannabis” bill that became RSA 126-X. I am now fighting to reinstate the home cultivation option and an affirmative defense with HB 1622. Please contact your Representative and tell that patients need safe access to cannabis now, not years from now. The Governor has indicated that she will veto ANY bill that seeks to loosen cannabis laws, mine included. That means that I need a veto proof vote of 3/5’s of both the House and the Senate…

  24. Not enough. I do not understand why the House stripped the chance to grow patient’s own plants. Look at Internet to see prices for Cannabidiol! Astronomical numbers! What are we waiting for?

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