The New Hampshire Senate has passed a bill to allow the state’s medical cannabis patients to grow their own cannabis on a 14-10 vote, according to a New Hampshire Public Radio report. The House passed a different version of the measure earlier this session and the two chambers will need to reach an agreement on the final language of the legislation before it moves to Gov. Chris Sununu for his signature.
The bill would allow the state’s registered patients to grow three immature, six mature, and 12 seedlings after they register with the state. There are about 7,000 registered patients in the state but only four dispensaries to serve them.
Democratic Sen. Tom Sherman said the high price of medical cannabis products in the state has forced some patients to “turn back to opioids as a cheaper option to ease their pain.”
“We hear over and over again in hearings there is a problem with our state having so few dispensaries. It is not perfect for everyone to access.” – Sherman, during the Senate debate, via the Eagle-Tribune
Republican Sen. John Reagan, who sponsored the state’s original medical cannabis measure, said patients spend about $400 a month buying products from the state’s dispensaries and estimated growing their own would cost about $100 a month while allowing them to “concentrate the cannabis to a greater degree.”
The bill is opposed by the state Association of Chiefs of Police and Republican State Sen. Sharon Carson said the bill doesn’t provide enough protections for law enforcement to prevent theft or misuse of home-grown plants. The Senate version of the bill does not include the House provision that allowed patients to “gift” home-grown products to others participating in the medical cannabis program.
The original version of the medical cannabis bill did include home-grow provisions, but they were removed after former Gov. Maggie Hassan threatened to veto the bill if they were included.
Sununu has not indicated whether he would sign the bill if it makes it to his desk.