US (NH): New bills would expand MMJ program

New Hampshire will have several opportunities to expand its medical marijuana program, as six bills are currently active in the Live Free or Die State this year. If passed, these measures would further nullify the federal prohibition on cannabis in practice.

Rep. Eric Schleien (R-Hillsborough) introduced House Bill 157 (HB157), House Bill 158 (HB158), House Bill 159 (HB159) and House Bill 160 (HB160) while Rep. Robert Renny Cushing (D-Rockingham) introduced House Bill 197 (HB197) and Rep. Brian Stone (R-Rockingham) introduced House Bill 222 (HB222). Each of these bills would relax medical marijuana laws in the state to varying degrees.

HB222 is the most comprehensive of all the medical marijuana bills currently active for the 2017 legislative session. It would permit patients to access medical marijuana if they are suffering from “intractable or chronic pain” as well as “weakness impairing strength or ability, or symptoms progressing to such an extent as daily life activities are substantially limited; or post-traumatic stress disorder as diagnosed by a qualified physician; or opioid addiction or dependency as diagnosed by a qualified physician.”

The other bills were released containing many of the same elements of the more comprehensive legislation, only broken up into smaller parts. HB157 would make chronic pain a qualifying condition for patients to receive medical marijuana while HB158 would do the same with opioid addiction. HB159 would allow fibromyalgia patients to treat their condition with medical marijuana. HB160 would add post-traumatic stress disorder, and HB197 would add myelitis disorder or disease as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana.

The New Hampshire legislature passed a law legalizing medical marijuana in 2013. The Department of Health and Human Services began pre-registering patients for medical marijuana ID cards in the fall of 2015, and the first dispensary opened last April. Allowing patients suffering from these four additional conditions to access medical marijuana would further accelerate the medicinal cannabis program in New Hampshire.

Read more at Tenth Amendment Center

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