CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Fulfilling a campaign promise, Gov. Maggie Hassan signed a law Tuesday making New Hampshire the 19th state to allow seriously ill residents to use marijuana to treat their illnesses.
"Allowing doctors to provide relief to patients through the use of appropriately regulated and dispensed medical marijuana is the compassionate and right policy for the state of New Hampshire, and this legislation ensures that we approach this policy in the right way with measures to prevent abuse," Hassan said in a statement.
The law allows patients with cancer and other conditions to possess up to 2 ounces of marijuana obtained from nonprofit dispensaries. To qualify for medical marijuana, New Hampshire residents would have to have been a patient of the prescribing doctor for at least 90 days, have tried other remedies and have exhibited certain symptoms.
The law took effect with Hassan's signature but getting the program operating could take up to two years. The bill calls for a commission to be appointed as soon as possible to implement the new system. Patients must be issued special identification cards to obtain the drug from dispensaries and possess it.
"This legislation is long overdue and comes as a relief to the many seriously ill patients throughout New Hampshire who will benefit from safe access to medical marijuana," saidMatt Simon, a New Hampshire-based legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project. "Those suffering from debilitating conditions like cancer and multiple sclerosis deserve legal, safe, and reliable access to medical marijuana."