State lawmakers easily passed a bill Wednesday to make New Hampshire the 19th state to legalize medical marijuana. The program envisioned under the law will be among the more tightly regulated in the country.
The bill, which cleared the Senate on a voice vote and the House by a four-to-one margin, calls for four, state-licensed facilities to dispense what the proposal terms therapeutic cannabis. To qualify to receive the drug, patients will need to have a terminal or debilitating condition including cancer, HIV/AIDS, and Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Lawmakers originally hoped to allow patients to grow their own marijuana for quicker access but Governor Hassan ruled that out amid concerns from law enforcement. She has said that she’ll sign this bill, which will make New Hampshire the last New England state to legalize medical marijuana.
The dispensaries are expected to open in about two years. Medical marijuana passed the state legislature twice before but both bills were vetoed by then-Governor John Lynch.