Medical Marijuana Bill Passes New Hampshire House with More than 80% Support

CONCORD–(ENEWSPF)–March 21, 2013.  A bill allowing seriously ill New Hampshire residents to use marijuana for medical purposes moved one step closer to becoming law Wednesday afternoon when the House voted in favor by a record 286-64 margin.

Similar bills passed the House with more than two-thirds support in 2009, 2011, and 2012, but this year’s total represents the strongest show of support yet by the House.

House Bill 573, sponsored by Rep. Donna Schlachman (D-Exeter), was previously approved 14-1 by the House Committee on Health, Human Services, and Elderly Affairs. The committee made a number of changes to the bill, including a language change — from “medical marijuana” to “therapeutic use of cannabis” — which was suggested by the New Hampshire Medical Society. As amended, the bill would allow qualifying patients to cultivate up to three mature plants or obtain cannabis from one of five non-profit, state-regulated alternative treatment centers.

The bill will next be considered by the Senate, which passed similar legislation in 2009 and 2012. Gov. Hassan previously expressed support for making medical marijuana legal in the Granite State.

Statement from Matt Simon, a New Hampshire-based legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project:

“This overwhelming vote comes as a great relief to patients who have been waiting years to legally follow their doctors’ advice. Patients should not have to live in fear of arrest in the ‘Live Free or Die’ state, and it’s a great relief for them to see such strong, bipartisan support from the House.”