Pubdate: Wed, 24 Jul 2013
Source: Telegraph, The (Nashua, NH)
Copyright: 2013 Telegraph Publishing Company
Author: Kevin Landrigan


Editor's note: New Hampshire is the 19th state to allow some form of 
medical marijuana. The Telegraph's six-day series, Cannabis Care, 
examines New Hampshire's therapeutic marijuana legislation and how 
the law will work, including who can get the drug, how much it will 
cost, and what needs to happen before the first batch of marijuana is 
legally distributed in the state.

CONCORD  Gov. Maggie Hassan made New Hampshire the 19th state to 
legalize use of medical marijuana for seriously ill patients Tuesday, 
calling it the "compassionate and right policy" because it will prevent abuse.

Hassan signed the measure privately in her office, avoiding a public ceremony.

"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.

"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," said Matt Simon, state analyst 
with the Marijuana Policy Project.

The New Hampshire State Police and New Hampshire Association of 
Chiefs of Police opposed the bill because it's illegal to possess 
marijuana under federal law and the bill encourages its use.

"I think it sends the wrong message to the citizens of New Hampshire 
and the children of New Hampshire," said Enfield Police Chief Richard 
Crete, vice president of the state chiefs group.

Hassan twice voted in favor of therapeutic marijuana while serving in 
the state Senate and promoted the issue during her 2012 gubernatorial 
campaign. However, this legislative session, Hassan opposed allowing 
patients and caregivers to grow their own marijuana because she said 
it would be too difficult to enforce. Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont 
and Rhode Island permit patients to grow their own marijuana.

"It is ironic that in the 'Live Free or Die' state, patients and 
caregivers aren't able to have direct access to a substance that can 
do so much to relieve pain," Simon said.

Crete credited Hassan with erasing the home-grown option but said 
even with dispensaries, the marijuana could be diverted for recreational use.
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