New Hampshire Poised To Legalize Medical Marijuana

New Hampshire is close to legalizing medical marijuana, now that the House and Senate have reconciled their differences in a proposal backed by Gov. Maggie Hassan (D). If the bill is signed into law as expected, New Hampshire would become either the 20th or 21st state to legalize medical marijuana, depending on whether a recently passed Illinois bill is also signed.

New Hampshire’s bill would allow up to four dispensaries in the state to distribute to approved patients with qualifying medical conditions, including Crohn’s Disease and cancer. “To qualify for medical marijuana, a person would have to have been a patient of the prescribing doctor for at least 90 days, have tried other remedies, and have exhibited certain symptoms,” the Associated Press reports. To reach a compromise, lawmakers did limit the bill in several significant ways, including excluding post-traumatic stress disorder patients from cannabis use, severely limiting the number of dispensaries, and removing a provision that would have allowed patients to grow marijuana at home.

The news comes as several new studies are released suggesting that marijuana may aid in post-traumatic stress disorder, Crohn’s disease, diabetes, and as a possible weight control remedy. All of these studies, however, were either performed in other countries or based on surveys or self-reporting from marijuana users, because federal agencies have blocked access to a legal supply of marijuana even for academic studies.

The bill containing the new compromise language must go back to the House and Senate before it is handed to Gov. Hassan, but this is considered a mere formality given support for the measure.