Health & Human Services

New Hampshire is 19th State to OK Medical Marijuana

The law takes effect immediately, but it may be well over a year before the program is up and running.
July 25, 2013

New Hampshire became the 19th state to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana yesterday, when Gov. Maggie Hassan signed a bill that passed the Legislature this year with bipartisan support.

“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,” Hassan said in a statement.

The law takes effect immediately, but it may be well over a year before the program is up and running. Patients must obtain a registry ID card from the state and buy their marijuana only at special nonprofit dispensaries, and administrative rules for those facilities could take up to 18 months to finalize.

Still, yesterday was a victory for medical marijuana advocates in the Granite State. Similar bills had passed the Legislature in 2009 and 2012, but both times were vetoed by then-Gov. John Lynch, a Democrat.

Hassan, a Democrat who took office this year, indicated she would support a medical marijuana program – so long as it controlled the legal supply of marijuana by requiring patients to buy it from dispensaries instead of allowing them to grow it themselves.

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