A bill heading to Governor Sununu’s desk aims to address issues of access within the state’s medical marijuana program.
Earlier this month the House and Senate agreed to a plan to allow for an additional two dispensaries.
There are now centers in Dover, Lebanon, Merrimack, and Plymouth.
Senator John Reagan, a prime sponsor of the bill, says this isn't enough.
“This goes back to the origin of therapeutic cannabis that the four locations are very remote, especially for some very elderly patients," he says.
The bill identifies two regions for the new centers: northern New Hampshire (Carroll, Coos, Grafton counties), and southwestern and western New Hampshire (Cheshire, Sullivan counties).
Lawmakers have tweaked the medical marijuana law several times since the first dispensary opened in early 2016.
The list of qualifying conditions has also expanded. It now includes chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder.
A patient may possess up to 2 ounces of marijuana under the state’s “therapeutic cannabis” law. At the start of 2018, the state reported nearly 5,000 qualifying patients, 325 designated caregivers, and 816 certifying providers.
Advocates this legislative session wanted more.
- A bill to permit qualifying patients and caregivers to grow a limited amount of pot was killed.
- Efforts to legalize recreational marijuana also fell flat.
- Though New Hampshire decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana last year, a bill to establish a procedure for annulment of arrests or convictions for possession of 3/4 of an ounce or less died in the Senate.
Meanwhile, as Massachusetts rolls out retail pot shops July 1, a commission in New Hampshire continues to study marijuana legalzation, regulation and taxation. It will issue a report Nov. 1.