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Access, Privacy Concerns Raised At Medical Marijuana Patient Registry Hearing

Prospective medical marijuana patients and advocates are urging state health officials to issue registry cards as soon as possible.

The attorney general’s office says the state should hold off until the first dispensaries open next year.

Almost a year after New Hampshire became the last New England state to legalize medical marijuana, those who would qualify for the drug still can’t legally possess it.

At a public hearing Thursday, Matt Simon with the Marijuana Policy Project says waiting for dispensaries to open goes against the original intent of lawmakers.

“So, patients today are left with no legal protections, no ability to use marijuana legally, no ability to access it legally. And that will not change until ID cards are issued.”

The focus of Thursday’s hearing was on the draft rules for the patient registry section of the law.

Those rules need to be adopted by July 23.

New Hampshire ACLU attorney Giles Bissonnette also raised concerned about a provision that requires medical providers to hand over patient records to the state.

“This provision gives the department sweeping authority to demand direct access to the private medical records of patients, that could include exceedingly personal information about a patient’s family, medical history, mental health and private medical decisions.”

The law allows seriously ill patients to obtain up to two ounces of marijuana at one of four state-licensed dispensaries.

Rules for how those dispensaries will be regulated are due in January. 

Michael serves as NHPR's Program Director. Michael came to NHPR in 2012, working as the station's newscast producer/reporter. In 2015, he took on the role of Morning Edition producer. Michael worked for eight years at The Telegraph of Nashua, covering education and working as the metro editor.

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