Two new bills regarding medical marijuana have been prefiled for New Hampshire’s legislative session that begins in January, with at least seven others already requested by lawmakers.
One of the two proposals prefiled on Friday, HB 1231, would allow patients and caregivers to cultivate marijuana for therapeutic use. It’s sponsored by Rep. Wendy Thomas (D), as well as fellow Democratic Reps. Maria Perez, Jodi Newell, Alissandra Murray and Jonah Wheeler. Thomas sponsored similar medical marijuana homegrow legislation last session.
Under the new legislation, home cultivation would be limited to three mature cannabis plants, three immature plants and 12 seedlings, and it could not take place within public view. Patients or caregivers would be allowed to purchase seedlings from dispensaries, and they would have to report their cultivation operations to state regulators.
The other prefiled bill, HB 1240, would add eating disorders as qualifying conditions for the state’s medical marijuana program. It’s sponsored by Rep. Heath Howard (D) along with Thomas and Reps. Suzanne Vail, Christine Seibert, Newell, Murray and Hope Damon, all Democrats.
The qualifying condition legislation would specifically allow doctors to recommend medical cannabis to patients with anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, avoidant restrictive food intake disorder and other specified feeding and eating disorder.
The two measures were prefiled Friday and are set to be taken up by the House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee next year.
According to a list of state legislative service requests, which indicate that a lawmaker has asked for a bill to be prepared, at least seven other marijuana-specific measures are still pending. Among them are proposals around qualifying conditions, criminal penalties and possession limits under the state’s medical marijuana program. Another, from Wheeler, relates to annulling, resentencing or discontinuing prosecution of certain cannabis offenses.
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Another requested bill, sponsored by Rep. Erica Layon (R) and eight lawmakers others, would legalize and regulate cannabis for adults.
Meanwhile another Republican-requested bill, from Rep. Kevin Verville (R), relates to “the use of psychedelics for therapeutic purposes.”
New Hampshire legalized medical marijuana in 2013, with patients able to obtain cannabis from licensed dispensaries—known in the state as alternative treatment centers (ATCs)—beginning in 2016.
Lawmakers have also attempted to pass adult-use legalization in past sessions, but so far those efforts have fallen short.
A special state commission that was convened to study legalization and recommend a novel system of state-run stores, last month voted against recommending a legalization bill at all—the culmination of a meandering, sometimes standoffish series of meetings over the past few months among a 19-member panel that included multiple opponents of the reform.
Contributing to the commission’s inability to reach a consensus on the proposal was a last-minute message from Gov. Chris Sununu (R), who said he’d support no more than 15 retail outlets statewide. He also demanded that the industry be banned from lobbying and other political advocacy.
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