- About About
Medical Patient Resources Becoming a State-Authorized Patient Talking to your doctor Which conditions qualify? The Medical Cannabis Patient’s Guide for U.S. Travel Patient's Guide to CBD Patient's Guide to Medical Cannabis Guide to Using Medical Cannabis Condition-based Booklets Growing Cannabis Cannabis Tincture, Salve, Butter and Oil Recipes Leaf411 Affordability Program Tracking Treatment & Gathering Data with Releaf App Medical Professional Resources CME for Medical Professionals Cannabis Safety Medical Cannabis Research
- Legal Legal
Advocacy ASA Chapters Start an ASA Chapter Take Action Campaigns No Patient Left Behind End Pain, Not Lives Vote Medical Marijuana Medical Cannabis Advocate's Training Center Resources for Tabling and Lobby Days Strategic Planning Civics 101 Strategic Messaging Citizen Lobbying Participating in Implementation Movement Building Organizing a Demonstration Organizing Turnout for Civic Meetings Public Speaking Media 101 Patient's History of Medical Cannabis
- News News
Policy Model Federal Legislation Download Ending The Federal Conflict Public Comments by ASA Industry Standards Guide to Regulating Industry Standards Recognizing Science using the Data Quality Act Fact Sheet on ASA's Data Quality Act Petition to HHS Data Quality Act Briefs ASA Data Quality Act petition to HHS Information on Lawyers and Named Patients in the Data Quality Act Lawsuit Reports 2020 State of the States Medical Cannabis in America Medical Cannabis Access for Pain Treatment
- Join Join
Katie Rucke, MintPress News
Wednesday marked the bittersweet one year anniversary of New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan signing the state’s medical marijuana legislation into law.
One year later, though, and that law has yet to take effect.
Instead of rejoicing, medical marijuana patients and advocates “celebrated” the first anniversary of the state’s decision to legalize the drug by holding a demonstration to raise awareness for the delays the state’s medical marijuana program has faced. They also delivered a list of grievances and requests to Hassan’s office.
“Patients have nothing to celebrate on the first anniversary of New Hampshire’s medical marijuana law,” said Matt Simon, the Goffstown-based New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project.
“Implementation of the program has been beset by needless delays, and people with debilitating conditions still face criminal penalties for possessing any amount of marijuana,” he said. “This situation is unacceptable.”
Hassan may have signed New Hampshire’s “Therapeutic Use of Cannabis” program into law on July 23, 2013, but as Simon noted, throughout the past year, medical marijuana patients in the state have continued to be arrested and criminally prosecuted for using the drug.
No one in the state has been given a patient ID card. Per the instruction of the state Attorney General’s office, the Department of Health and Human Services has been instructed to not issue patient ID cards until the first dispensary opens. Without an ID card, however, patients have no legal protections.
The problem with waiting to issue ID cards until the first dispensary opens is that the DHHS has not yet produced even a draft of rules for how dispensaries can legally operate in the state — in other words, there are no plans to open a dispensary anytime soon, making the law sort of meaningless for patients who have yet to experience legal relief.
Since patients are not able to cultivate their own medicine at home, they are still forced to buy their medicine on the black market. Further, marijuana is not decriminalized in the state, meaning instead of treating minor marijuana possession as a civil infraction that carries a small fine, patients often find themselves behind bars for possessing the substance.
Even if the law would have been fully implemented by now, many medical marijuana patients and advocates point out that the law is not friendly to patients. This may explain why the medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access gave New Hampshire’s medical marijuana program a “D.”
When it comes to access to medicine, New Hampshire’s program got 43 out of a possible 100 points, according to ASA’s white paper on medical marijuana access in the United States.
As the Marijuana Policy Project notes in a list of patients’ 10 grievances with New Hampshire’s program — or lack thereof — part of the issue with implementing the program is related to the fact that there isn’t a patient representative on the advisory council that was established to help implement the program.
In fact, the first person who was appointed to the council was Tuftonboro Chief of Police Andrew Shagoury. He was the leading opponents to allowing patients access to cannabis, and he continues to oppose marijuana legalization, even for medicinal use.
MPP notes that while a patient was appointed to the advisory council, that individual has not attended a single meeting and doesn’t appear willing to “represent the interests of patients.”
Meanwhile, another concern is that New Hampshire doesn’t allow those with post-traumatic stress disorder to register as a medical marijuana patient, and the state actually requires patients to have both a listed symptom and a listed condition to qualify.
“We’re fed up with state officials’ stonewalling,” Simon said. “It’s time to start listening to the seriously ill people the medical marijuana law was intended to help.”