The five-and-a-half-year-old law that allows certain licensed individuals to use marijuana for medicinal purposes also limits the number of places where the product can be sold.
Currently, there are four Alternative Treatment Centers (ATCs): Lebanon, Plymouth, Dover, and Merrimack. In 2018, the governor signed legislation allowing two more dispensaries that haven’t yet been established. The dispensaries serve more than 5,000 patients, 325 caregivers and 816 health care providers licensed to access medical marijuana.
Is it enough?
To help address what supporters say are too few dispensaries, HB 364 has been offered in this legislative session to allow qualifying patients or their caregivers to cultivate cannabis for therapeutic purposes.
Similar legislation was filed in last year’s session. It was referred to a study committee, but nothing came of it.
What it allows
HB 364 says the home-grown marijuana can only be used for medicinal purposes, and it must be grown in a location that is “locked and enclosed.”
Current law allows designated “designated caregivers” to help several patients acquire marijuana from dispensaries, for example if a patient has trouble traveling. Under HB 364, a caregiver would only be allowed to grow marijuana for one patient.
The legislation also limits how many plants the grower can have on the premises (two mature cannabis plants and 12 seedlings) and how much marijuana can be in the location at any one time (six ounces).
Pros and cons
Supporters say that by giving licensed users the alternative of growing their own marijuana, they don’t risk running out of product for treatment of their medical condition. Growers can also more closely regulate the quality of the product they are consuming. Growing your own medical marijuana is also significantly less expensive than buying it at a dispensary, making the drug more affordable.
Opponents say the number of dispensaries in the state — growing from four to six — is sufficient for the number of licensed users. They say home growers would be too unregulated, inviting abuses such as providing marijuana to unlicensed users. There are also concerns about the quality of home-grown marijuana.
What do you think? Should New Hampshire allow the home cultivation of medical marijuana? Let us know in the comments.
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