HB 1622 would allow licensed patients to cultivate up to two mature marijuana plants until an alternative treatment center opens near their residence
CONCORD — The New Hampshire House of Representatives approved a bill 227-73 on Thursday that will provide people who qualify for the state's medical marijuana program with legal access to medical marijuana while the state develops a system of regulated medical marijuana cultivation and distribution. The bill will now move to the Senate, where it will receive a public hearing.
HB 1622, sponsored by Rep. Donald “Ted” Wright (R-Tuftonboro), would allow licensed medical marijuana patients or their designated caregivers to possess up to two mature marijuana plants and twelve immature plants or seedlings. Patients and caregivers would be required to report their cultivation locations to the Department of Health and Human Services, and they would lose their ability to cultivate once an alternative treatment center opens within 30 miles of their residence.
“We applaud House members for continuing to stand up for people with debilitating conditions who could benefit from medical marijuana,” said Matt Simon, the Goffstown-based New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project, which supports the bill. “Seriously ill patients in New Hampshire have waited long enough for legal access to medical marijuana, and some simply cannot afford to wait any longer.”
HB 573, the bill that created New Hampshire’s medical marijuana law, was signed into law in July by Gov. Maggie Hassan. A provision allowing patients to cultivate their own marijuana was included in the version approved by the House, but it was removed by the Senate after Gov. Hassan threatened to veto the bill if it was included. The Department of Health and Human Services is not required to finalize its rules for authorizing alternative treatment centers until January 2015. If HB 1622 is not approved, patients are not expected to have legal access to medical marijuana until at least the summer of 2015.
“We hope the Senate will agree these people deserve to finally be protected from arrest in the ‘Live Free or Die’ state. Bills allowing home cultivation passed the Senate in 2009 and 2012, so we are optimistic senators will once again listen to the needs of patients in 2014.”
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The Marijuana Policy Project, the nation’s largest marijuana policy organization, has been responsible for changing most state-level marijuana laws since 2000. For more information, visit http://www.MarijuanaPolicy.org.