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Bill Would Allow Both Dispensaries and Home Growing

Lawmakers in New Hampshire will take a look at a medical marijuana bill on Thursday, February 21. The bill, H.B. 573, would legalize medicinal cannabis use by patients with debilitating or terminal health conditions.

Thursday’s hearing in the House Health Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee (“elderly affairs”? damn, that sounds spicy) will examine the bill, which would allow up to give “alternative treatment centers” (marijuana dispensaries) as well as allow patients to grow up to four plants for personal use, or to designate a caregiver to grow cannabis for them.

Rep. Donna Schlachman: "Quote" [Roger H. Goun/Flickr]
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Rep. Donna Schlachman says both dispensaries and home growing should be allowed to allow patients safe access to medical marijuana
[Roger H. Goun/Flickr]

Both options are needed in order to provide safe access to the greatest number of patients, according to the bill’s main sponsor, Rep. Donna Schlachman (D-Exeter), reports The Associated Press.

The New Hampshire Legislature has already passed separate bills to allow dispensaries and to allow patients to grow their own medicine, but not both at once. Former Governor John Lynch, a Democrat in name only, vetoed both bills, thus denying safe access to patients.

But Governor Maggie Hassan, who has more cojones than Lynch ever sprouted, supports safe access for patients and has indicated she would sign the bill.

According to a new poll, 79 percent of New Hampshire adults support allowing doctors to recommend marijuana for patients suffering from serious illnesses. Just 14 percent said they were opposed to medical marijuana.

“There is an exceptional amount of support for allowing patients suffering from serious illnesses to use medical marijuana in the treatment of their conditions,” said Matt Simon, a New Hampshire-based legislative analyst with the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “Very rarely do we see any proposed policy enjoy such overwhelming public support.”

“Marijuana been proven to be an effective treatment for a number of medical conditions and associated symptoms,” Simon said. “Seriously ill New Hampshire citizens who would benefit from medical marijuana should not – and in some cases cannot – wait any longer for the right to improve the quality of their lives.”

The House Committee on Health, Human Services, and Elderly Affairs is scheduled to hold the hearing on H.B. 573 on Thursday, February 21 at 10 a.m. ET in Rooms 205-207 of the Legislative Office Building in Concord.



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