Bill to make medical marijuana legal for patients suffering from serious illnesses scheduled for legislative hearing next week
CONCORD – Seventy-nine percent (79%) of New Hampshire adults support allowing doctors to recommend marijuana for patients suffering from serious illnesses, according to the Granite State Poll sponsored by WMUR-TV and conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center. Just 14% said they were opposed.
The poll was released just as a bill is moving forward in the legislature that would allow patients suffering from serious illnesses to use medical marijuana with recommendations from their doctors.
“There is an exceptional amount of support for allowing patients suffering from serious illnesses to use medical marijuana in the treatment of their conditions,” said Matt Simon, a New Hampshire-based legislative analyst with the Marijuana Policy Project. “Very rarely do we see any proposed policy enjoy such overwhelming public support.”
H.B. 573, introduced by State Rep. Donna Schlachman (D-Exeter), would allow seriously ill patients to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it. Patients would be able to grow up to four marijuana plants in their homes or obtain marijuana through one of five state-licensed alternative treatment centers. Gov. Maggie Hassan has expressed support for passing medical marijuana legislation. A medical marijuana bill that passed with bipartisan support last session was vetoed by then-governor John Lynch.
The House Committee on Health, Human Services, and Elderly Affairs is scheduled to hold a hearing on H.B. 573 next Thursday, February 21 at 10 a.m. ET in Rooms 205-207 of the Legislative Office Building in Concord.
“Marijuana been proven to be an effective treatment for a number of medical conditions and associated symptoms,” Simon said. “Seriously ill New Hampshire citizens who would benefit from medical marijuana should not – and in some cases cannot – wait any longer for the right to improve the quality of their lives.”
The Granite State Poll of 581 randomly selected New Hampshire adults was conducted between January 30 and February 5, 2013. The margin of error for the survey is +/- 4.1%. The poll can be downloaded at http://www.unh.edu/survey-center/news/pdf/gsp2013_winter_issues021213.pdf.
A survey conducted January 7-8 by Public Policy Polling showed more than two-thirds of New Hampshire voters (68%) think the state should enact a law allowing seriously ill patientsto use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it.
Eighteen states and the District of Columbia allow patients with qualifying conditions to use medical marijuana with recommendations from their physicians. Lawmakers in 12 states have introduced similar legislation this year, and medical marijuana bills are expected to be brought forward in an additional seven states.
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The Marijuana Policy Project, the nation’s largest marijuana-policy-reform organization, has been responsible for changing most state-level marijuana laws since 2000. For more information, visit http://www.mpp.org.