Currently, medicinal marijuana patients in New Hampshire must acquire the drug through one of four licensed dispensaries. However, that could change if HB 472 becomes law. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Renny Cushing, would allow qualifying medicinal marijuana patients or their designated caregivers to grow the drug for therapeutic use.
Several states that have passed medicinal marijuana laws also allow qualifying patients to grow their own cannabis, including all other New England states except Connecticut.
Caregivers would only be able to grow cannabis for one patient, and patients could only grow for their own personal use. Those growing medicinal marijuana for personal use would be required to report the location where they were cultivating the drug to state regulators, and the cultivation area must be an enclosed site that is kept locked and secured. Patients growing their own cannabis must still adhere to state limits on quantity.
Supporters of the law argue that it would make medicinal marijuana more affordable for those who need it, as purchasing the drug from a dispensary can be very expensive and is not covered by insurance. It would also enable patients who live far away from a dispensary or who have difficulty with travel to have access to the drug. They maintain that cannabis is safe and easy to grow for therapeutic use.
Opponents counter that allowing patients to grow their own marijuana could make it difficult to enforce illegal marijuana cultivation operations. They also note that the startup costs of cultivating marijuana at home mean that patients may not actually save money. The quality and effectiveness of the drug may also be uncertain when grown at home.
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