CONCORD–(ENEWSPF)–March 7, 2013. A bill to allow New Hampshire residents to use medical marijuana in the treatment of their debilitating medical conditions moved one step closer to becoming law Thursday when it was approved 14-1 by the House Committee on Health, Human Services, and Elderly Affairs. It will now be considered by the full House of Representatives.
House Bill 573, sponsored by State Rep. Donna Schlachman (D-Exeter), would allow seriously ill patients to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it. Patients would be able to grow up to three mature marijuana plants in their homes or obtain marijuana through one of five non-profit, state-licensed alternative treatment centers. Gov. Maggie Hassan has expressed support for passing medical marijuana legislation. A similar medical marijuana bill that passed with bipartisan support last session was vetoed by then-governor John Lynch.
Prior to the vote, Rep. Patrick Culbert (R-Pelham) made an emotional plea to his colleagues, sharing his experience caring for his wife, Judy, as she slowly died of cancer. He recounted how she found relief from her “agonizing” symptoms the sole time she tried using medical marijuana, but did not use it again because she feared being arrested.
“People like Judy shouldn’t have to die like that,” Rep. Culbert said. “She should have died with dignity and she didn’t.”
Statement from Matt Simon, a New Hampshire-based legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project:
“This overwhelming showing of legislative support provides great relief to many seriously ill patients and their families, who have been waiting years for medical marijuana to become legal in New Hampshire. Patients whose doctors recommend they use marijuana to treat their conditions should not have to live in fear of arrest in the ‘Live Free or Die’ state. It is uplifting to see such a strong majority of legislators on this committee demonstrate their support for patients’ rights.”