The New Hampshire Senate has approved a bill that would permit medical marijuana patients and their carers to grow cannabis at home.
The bill is SB 420, a number familiar with cannabis users that enjoy smoking weed on April 20 – dubbed Weed Day – and at 4.20pm on a daily basis. It seeks to allow each patient to possess up to three mature cannabis plants, three immature plants and 12 seedlings, a move that could significantly reduce treatment costs.
The legislation was approved in yesterday’s session and it will now be sent to the House for consideration. A similar bill gained approval in both chambers last year, but Gov. Chris Sununu decided to veto it in August 2019.
The House voted 259-120 to override that veto, but the following day efforts to override it fell short by three votes in the Senate and it was killed off.
There are more than 8,000 patients in New Hampshire’s medical marijuana program, which began in 2016. They must secure cannabis at a licensed dispensary, as home growing remains a felony in the state, but some have complained that prices are too high and they have turned to the black market instead.
Patients in neighbouring states are also permitted to grow their own cannabis, so patients have called for parity. Sen. Tom Sherman, a physician, told Senators he supported the passage of S B 420, while advocates also praised Sen. John Reagan and Sen. Jay Kahn for speaking in favor of it.
New Hampshire is surrounded by states that permit recreational marijuana use – Maine, Vermont and Massachusetts – and campaigners want to see it live up its “Live Free or Die” nickname by following suit.
HB 1648 seeks to bring an end to New Hampshire’s status as an island of prohibition in New Hampshire by legalizing adult-use cannabis, regulating sales and permitting some marijuana to be grown at home for recreational purposes.
Last week, the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee approved this bill in a 13-7 vote. In 2019 a legalization bill passed in a 10-9 vote before it eventually died in the Senate, suggesting that approval for recreational marijuana is growing, although Sununu could prove to be an obstacle due to his anti-cannabis stance, which earned him a D+ grade in a 2020 gubernatorial scorecard from campaign group NORML.
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