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N.H.: Modest reforms advance, but odds remain stacked against legalization

Jun 30, 2021

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Despite 75% public support for legalizing cannabis, New Hampshire remains an island of prohibition

It has been another frustrating legislative session for cannabis policy reforms in New Hampshire, but we did manage to make some progress. Several bills impacting the medical cannabis program have passed the House and Senate, and most of them are clear improvements. Some of these bills have already been signed by Gov. Chris Sununu, while others are either on his desk or on their way to his desk:

HB 605 — adds opioid use disorder as a qualifying condition and permits out of state patients to access N.H. dispensaries on a limited basis (awaiting action from Gov. Sununu).

SB 162 — allows N.H. patients to access any of the state's dispensaries, rather than requiring that they select a dispensary when they register (awaiting action from Gov. Sununu).

HB 89 — adds moderate to severe insomnia as a qualifying symptom and autism spectrum disorder as a qualifying condition (effective as of June 24).

HB 240 — requires dispensaries to identify strain names on labels and allows them to put strain names on their websites (effective beginning August 3).

HB 163 — requires counseling about potential harms of cannabis for people under 25 and “women who are of child-bearing age” before they can be certified for therapeutic cannabis (effective beginning July 24).

SB 38 — allows N.H. dispensaries to reorganize as for-profit corporations or LLCs (awaiting action from Gov. Sununu, who vetoed a similar bill in 2019).

Additionally, two adult-use legalization bills have been retained by the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. Despite overwhelming public support for legalization, it’s not yet clear whether the committee intends to give these bills the attention they deserve.

Thanks Very Much for Your Support

With somewhat mixed feelings, I have decided to move on from MPP to pursue another opportunity. Today will be my last day on the job. However, I intend to remain involved in the New Hampshire political scene, and I will continue to share updates on cannabis policy in the New Hampshire Coalition for Common Sense Marijuana Policy Facebook group and on Twitter. MPP will also continue to send you email updates.

To all who have supported our efforts over the years, I can’t thank you enough. This has been my 14th year working on cannabis policy reform and my 10th year as a full-time employee of MPP, and although I am frustrated by New Hampshire's continued status as an “island of prohibition,” it has been an honor and a privilege to help move our state and region toward more compassionate, humane, and sensible cannabis policies.