Medical marijuana patients in New Hampshire will be able to grow their own cannabis under a bill approved Thursday by the Senate.
HB 364, which passed on a 14-10 vote, allows qualified patients to grow up to six plants--three mature, and three immature--after they register with the state.
There are approximately 7,000 approved therapeutic cannabis patients in New Hampshire. They currently have to purchase their cannabis through one of four Alternative Treatment Centers. Backers of the ‘grow your own’ bill say that limits access and drives up the price.
“Therapeutic cannabis can be very expensive when sold at an Alternative Treatment Centers, and some patients have had to turn back to opioids as a cheaper option to ease their pain,” said Sen. Tom Sherman, a Democrat from Rye, during Thursday’s debate.
Some law enforcement officials, including the N.H. Association of Chiefs of Police, oppose the bill, arguing home-grown marijuana will inevitably find its way to unlicensed users.
Sen. Sharon Carson, a Republican from Londonderry, expressed concern that the legislation doesn’t contain enough enforcement measures to prevent theft or misuse.
But with bipartisan backing, the measure cleared the Senate after a floor amendment stripped away a provision to “gift” any home-grown marijuana to other approved patients.
Earlier this session, the N.H. House passed a different version of the measure, meaning the two chambers will have to reach an accord on the final language.
It isn’t clear if Gov. Chris Sununu will sign off on the plan.