Becoming a Patient in New Hampshire
Summary of the Law
Patients and caregivers registered with the New Hampshire Department of Health’s medical cannabis program are protected from arrest or prosecution and may not be denied any right or privilege on the basis of their status. If charged, registration provides an affirmative defense for patients or caregivers provided they were in possession of cannabis in a quantity and at a location permitted by the law.
To be protected under the law, patients and caregivers must be registered with the New Hampshire Department of Health and in possession of a registry ID card. Qualifying patients registered with the program will be allowed to possess up to two (2) ounces of cannabis. Possession of cannabis by a registered patient not in possession of the issued ID card is subject to a fine of $100. No cultivation of cannabis is allowed. Medicine must be obtained by the patient or registered caregiver from one of four “Alternative Treatment Centers” to be licensed by the state to dispense cannabis to patients. Patients are required to choose a single ATC and are not allowed to receive medicine from the others, though the ATC selection may be changed by submitting a form to the state. A patient may designate only one caregiver, but a caregiver may assist up to five (5) patients. Caregivers are limited to transporting medicine from licensed centers and assisting with administration. Until New Hampshire begins issuing registry ID cards, there are no legal protections for patients or caregivers.
- positive status for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV),
- acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS),
- hepatitis C currently receiving antiviral treatment,
- amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease),
- muscular dystrophy,
- Crohn’s disease,
- agitation of Alzheimer’s disease,
- multiple sclerosis,
- chronic pancreatitis,
- spinal cord injury or disease,
- traumatic brain injury, or
- one or more injuries that significantly interferes with daily activities as documented by the patient’s physician.
Also qualifying are any severely debilitating or terminal medical conditions or their treatment that has produced at least one of the following:
- elevated intraocular pressure,
- chemotherapy-induced anorexia,
- wasting syndrome,
- severe pain that has not responded to previously prescribed medication or surgical measures or for which other treatment options produced serious side effects,
- constant or severe nausea,
- moderate to severe vomiting,
- seizures, or
- severe, persistent muscle spasms.
Additionally, the department may include, on a case by case basis, any condition determined to be severely debilitating or terminal, based upon the written request of the patient’s recommending physician.
Applicants must be current New Hampshire residents to be eligible and have written certification of a diagnosis of one of the qualifying conditions from a medical provider with whom they have an ongoing patient-provider relationship at least three months long. In November of 2015 pre-registration began which allows patients to submit applications and be approved or rejected without receiving their registration card until after the opening of that applicant's selected ATC. In addition to the form provided by the DHHS the application must include the Written Certification for the Therapeutic Use of Cannabis form completed by a physician, a digital photograph of the applicant's face for the card, a $50 check or money order and a copy of a valid form of ID establishing New Hampshire residency.
The registry ID cards will contain your name, address and birth date; a passport-sized photo; a random 10-digit registration number; and the identification of the designated Alternative Treatment Center from which you will obtain your medicine.
Registration expires after one year, unless your medical provider has indicated a shorter period of time for cannabis therapy. Note that for pre-registration applications the expiration date is set from the date of card issuance not registration approval.
Registry Card Changes
Once registered, if there is a change in your name or address, you must notify the department within ten (10) days. Failure to notify can result in a fine up to $150. You must notify the department in advance of any change of designated caregiver or Alternative Treatment Center.
If you lose your registry card, you must notify the department within ten (10) days. A new card will be issued within five (5) days of notice for a fee yet to be determined.
Your certifying medical provider must be licensed to prescribe medication and have an established relationship with you of at least three months in duration. Your medical provider can only recommend medical cannabis after an in-person exam, a history, a diagnosis, and a treatment plan appropriate to his or her specialty.
You may designate a single caregiver to assist you with obtaining and using medical marijuana. Your designated caregiver must be at least twenty-one (21) years old and cannot have a felony drug-related conviction. A registered caregiver with a valid registry ID card may assist with up to five (5) qualifying patients. If both the caregiver and qualifying patients live more than 50 miles from an “alternative treatment center” licensed to dispense medical cannabis, the designated caregiver may assist up to nine (9) patients.
Obtaining Cannabis for Qualified Patients
Medical cannabis patients in New Hampshire are required to obtain their medicine from one of four licensed Alternative Treatment Centers. Cultivation is prohibited. Patients must select their ATC at the time of application but may change their selection at a later date by submitting a form to the state for no additional fee.
Patients are expressly forbidden to smoke cannabis in public areas, on school grounds, or in correctional, law enforcement, or recreational facilities.
If you are under 18 years of age, you must designate a custodial parent or legal guardian who is responsible for your health care decisions as your primary caregiver. That person must submit the application on your behalf as well as sign a written consent and agree to responsibility for your acquisition and use of medical cannabis. and submit written certification from two medical providers, one of whom must be a pediatrician.
Applications and supporting information is considered confidential and is not to be disclosed to anyone who is not an authorized employee of the department in the course of official duties or local or state law enforcement who have detained or arrested a registered patient or caregiver. If law enforcement submits a sworn affidavit alleging violations by an individual or at a location, the department will verify if the individual or location is registered.
New Hampshire's medical marijuana law does not require a governmental, private, or any other health insurance provider or health care service plan to be liable for any claim for reimbursement for the medical use of marijuana.
Out of State Patients
Non-resident patients with state-issued IDs from other states are entitled to protection under New Hampshire law but are prohibited from purchasing cannabis from an Alternative Treatment Center or a registered New Hampshire patient or caregiver.