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Homegrown medical marijuana for NH patients not happening any time soon
It would have provided licensed patients with legal access to medical marijuana while the state develops a system of regulated cultivation and distribution through so-called Alternative Treatment Centers.
Patients and caregivers would be required to report their cultivation locations to the Department of Health and Human Services, and would lose their ability to cultivate once an alternative treatment center opens within 30 miles of their residence.
If the Senate upholds its committee recommendation, patients will likely have no legal protection if they purchase or use cannabis until alternative treatment centers open, which could take another year and a half or more, said Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project.
"Passing HB 1622 was the only way to make New Hampshire's medical marijuana law workable for patients in the here and now," said Simon. "Sadly, Gov. Hassan and a number of senators are still putting the opinions of a few police chiefs ahead of the needs of seriously ill patients."
Republican gubernatorial candidate Andrew Hemmingway, a supporter of self-cultivation by patients, was on hand for the committee vote.
Hassan's spokeman, William Hinkle, said the governor continues to share the concerns of law enforcement about the state's ability to effectively regulate a home-grow option. "She believes that the dispensary approach is the right way to allow for the use of medical marijuana with proper oversight measures to prevent abuse," he said.
"We still have all these people who are very sick and they are worried about being arrested," he said. "We would like Health and Human Services to proceed to give these people in extreme cases some protection from arrest because they are out there on the street trying to buy this stuff because they can't get it legally."
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