BY: Citizens Count
On Thursday, the New Hampshire Senate passed a bill that will allow qualified patients and caregivers to grow medical marijuana at home. The bill, HB 364, would also allow patients and caregivers to give marijuana to other qualified patients.
Nothing of value could be exchanged for the marijuana, and the gift could not be contingent on a related transaction. For example, someone could not offer a free gift of medical marijuana as a result of some other purchase.
The House passed HB 364 in March but must agree to some changes from the Senate before the bill goes to Gov. Sununu.
A gift to patients in need?
Those who want to allow medical marijuana gifts point to the extremely high cost of therapeutic cannabis. If New Hampshire is going to allow patients and caregivers to grow marijuana at home to make medical marijuana more affordable, it only makes sense to also allow patients and caregivers to donate marijuana to those in need.
HB 364 makes clear that nothing of value may change hands in exchange for the medical marijuana, so there would be no loophole for unregulated sales.
Undermining the medical marijuana system?
Opponents of medical marijuana gifts argue they will undermine the system of regulated medical marijuana. If home growers can distribute marijuana through gifts, it will be much more difficult for the state to identify illegal sales.
A gift economy will also make it more difficult for medical marijuana providers to stay in business, since they may lose customers.