BY: Citizens Count
Rep. Eric Schleien (R-Hudson) is the prime sponsor of HB 157, a bill to add chronic pain to the list of qualifying conditions under therapeutic use of cannabis.
Medicinal marijuana in New Hampshire is currently legal only if a patient has been diagnosed with one of a specific list of conditions or injuries. Click here to see the full list of conditions. Medical marijuana is only allowed for "severe pain" if there is an underlying condition and doctors have exhausted other options.
Elected officials will also review many other bills this session aimed at expanding the list of qualifying conditions. For example, there are bills to add opioid addiction (HB 158), fibromyalgia (HB 159), and post-traumatic stress disorder (HB 160) to the list of conditions that permit medical marijuana use.
Supporters argue that marijuana use for chronic pain provides effective pain relief and poses less risk of addiction when compared with opioid pain relievers. In addition, supporters argue that decisions about treatment should be between a patient and his or her doctor, not the government.
According to the Marijuana Policy Project survey of state laws, most of the 23 states that allow medical marijuana allow marijuana prescriptions for pain management.
On the other hand, opponents argue that chronic pain is too vague to add as a qualifying condition and question the effectiveness of the drug compared to over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen.
Do you think chronic pain should be added to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana? Comment below to join the discussion.
UPDATE: Read our Citizen Voices℠ report and find out where New Hampshire stands on this issue.