Becoming a Patient in New Hampshire
Patients and caregivers registered with the Health Department’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 Health Department 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,
- multiple sclerosis,
- chronic pancreatitis,
- spinal cord injury or disease,
- traumatic brain injury,
- Parkinson’s disease,
- ulcerative colitis,
- Alzheimer’s disease, 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,
- agitation of Alzheimer’s disease,
- 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 had an ongoing patient-provider relationship for at least three months (subject to certain limited exceptions). In November 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 identification cards expire after one year, unless your medical provider has indicated a shorter period of time for cannabis therapy. A non-refundable fee, currently set at $50.00, must be paid with each application and renewal.
Registry Card Changes
Once registered, if there is a change in your name or address, you must notify the department within ten 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 ATC; no additional fees are currently assessed in connection with such changes.
If you lose your registry card, you must notify the department within ten days, in writing, and enclose a lost card fee of $25.00. No access to the ATCs is provided until the card is reissued.
Your certifying medical provider must be a physician licensed to prescribe medication in the state of New Hampshire, or an advanced practice registered nurse duly licensed in the state, and have an established relationship with you of at least three months in duration (subject to certain exceptions). 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.
Patients may designate a single caregiver to assist with obtaining and using medical marijuana, either on the patient registry application or following an approved application. A designated caregiver must be at least 21 years old and cannot have any prior felony conviction. A registered caregiver with a valid registry ID card may assist with up to five qualifying patients. If both the caregiver and qualifying patients live more than 50 miles from an ATC, the Act provides that the designated caregiver may assist up to nine patients.
Obtaining Cannabis for Qualified Patients
Therapeutic cannabis program participants in New Hampshire are required to obtain their cannabis from one of up to four licensed ATCs. Cultivation is prohibited except by ATCs, and in controlled amounts.
Patients are expressly forbidden from smoking cannabis in public areas, on school grounds and within protective designated school zones, as well as in correctional, law enforcement, or recreational facilities. Special rules apply to the use of therapeutic cannabis on leased premises; the Act and the regulations should be specifically consulted for these circumstances. The Act does not permit patients to drive a car or operate heavy machinery while under the influence of marijuana.
Patients under 18 years of age applying for an ID must designate a custodial parent or legal guardian who is responsible for the patient’s health care decisions. That person must submit the application on behalf of the patient applicant, as well as sign a written consent and agree to responsibility for the patient’s acquisition and use of medical cannabis and submit written certifications from two medical providers, one of whom must be a pediatrician. Designated caregivers applying for a registry ID must be at least 21 years of age.
Applications and supporting information is considered confidential and is not to be disclosed to anyone who is not an authorized employee of the Health 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. All individually identifiable patient health or cannabis information which an ATC creates, receives, maintains, or transmits in an electronic form shall be deemed protected health care information for the purposes of the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 as amended.
New Hampshire's medical marijuana law does not require any governmental, private, or other health insurance provider or health care service plan to be liable for any claim for reimbursement for the medical use of marijuana. However, as part of the application process, ATCs are required to demonstrate a plan for making cannabis available on an affordable basis to qualifying patients with verified financial hardship
Out of State Patients
Non-resident patients who have a medical condition recognized under the Act and who are in possession of an out-of-state therapeutic cannabis IDs from are entitled to limited protection for possession of cannabis for the therapeutic purposes recognized under New Hampshire law. Such visiting qualifying patients are prohibited from purchasing cannabis from an ATC or a registered New Hampshire patient or caregiver, however.