The New Hampshire Senate has approved a bill that would allow medical cannabis patients or caregivers to grow their own cannabis plants at home. But, there’s a catch: patients cannot share their plants with others.
More specifically, patients or caregivers can grow and possess up to three mature cannabis plants, three immature plants, and 12 seedlings. This after they register with the state.
The Senate’s bill — HB 364 — passed on a 14-10 vote.
The House approved a similar bill in March, but their version would have allowed cannabis growers to “gift” their plants to other licensed patients. Now, the two chambers will have to reconcile these two versions and agree on the final provisions of the bill.
The Granite State legalized medical cannabis in 2013. And there are now more than 7,000 patients registered with the state’s medical cannabis program.
The problem is that the state has only four Alternative Treatment Centers. Patients need to purchase their medical weed through one of these centers. Aside from the distance, another major concern is how this limited access drives up the price of these meds.
According to Democrat Sen. Tom Sherman, medical cannabis can very pricey when sold at an Alternative Treatment Center. As a result, some patients are forced to turn back to opioids, which are a cheaper option for easing their pain.
Some law enforcement officials, like the N.H. Association of Chiefs of Police, are against the bill, though. They argue that home-grown cannabis is eventually going to find its way to users who are not licensed.
Republican Sen. Sharon Carson expressed concern that this bill does not contain enough enforcement measures that would prevent misuse of theft.
It is not yet clear whether Gov. Chris Sununu is going to sign the bill into law.
Meanwhile, lawmakers are also considering legalizing recreational cannabis.