The Status of Cannabis Legalization in NH
Signed into law by then Gov. Maggie Hassan in 2013, the medical cannabis program has been alive and well in the Live Free or Die State. Though medical cannabis flies in the Granite State, recreational use is still an issue, with advocates pushing to see a change in the 2020 election, which does not look good. Meanwhile, citizens feel otherwise, according to the University of New Hampshire Poll, reporting up to 68% of New Hampshire residents support recreational use.
The 2019 poll report reads that “the issue of legalizing marijuana in New Hampshire has been subject to debate for years.” The poll report continues, noting regional cannabis allies who feel the same. “In recent years, all of New Hampshire’s neighbors–Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Canada have legalized marijuana for recreational purposes.”
While advocates argue that officials must be more progressive when it comes to politics and cannabis, officials met them halfway in 2017, decriminalizing the drug for possession of small amounts. While recreational use hangs in the balance, New Hampshire has rolled out a solid medical cannabis program for eligible patients.
Patients must have qualifying conditions and exhibit debilitating or severe symptoms. New Hampshire recognizes the following conditions:
Additionally, the condition must be severely debilitating or terminal, or its treatment has produced at least one of the following symptoms:
- Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease
- Cachexia, or wasting syndrome
- Chemotherapy-induced anorexia
- Constant or severe nausea
- Elevated intraocular pressure, or glaucoma
- Moderate to severe vomiting
- Severe, persistent muscle spasms
- Severe pain that has not responded to previously prescribed medication or surgical measures, or for which other treatment options produce serious side effects.
Lastly, severe pain that has not responded to previously prescribed medication or surgical measures, or for which other treatment options produce serious side effects, also makes patients eligible for a medical cannabis card.
Along with any qualifying condition, a patient must be at least 18 years old to apply for a card and prove they are New Hampshire residents with a current driver’s license or state identification card. The state also mandates that a patient and provider must have an ongoing relationship for at least three months, with some exceptions made for special circumstances.
Like a cannabis patient cardholder, a caregiver must also be a resident of the state and able to prove so with a current driver’s license or state identification card. A caregiver, unlike a patient, must be at least 21 years old, and designated as such on the patient’ application. Also, a caregiver must not have any felony conviction against them to be registered with the state. A criminal background check is performed on all prospective caregivers.
A qualifying patient shall not obtain more than 2 ounces of usable cannabis directly or through the qualifying patient’s designated caregiver during a 10-day period. Since New Hampshire decriminalized possession of small amounts of cannabis for any resident 18 years or older who has less than three-quarters of an ounce of cannabis; however the violation comes with a possible $100. Additional offenses raise fines. Fines rise for third and fourth offenses.
The fines also apply to any resident found with a large amount of cannabis-infused products including edibles, drinks, tinctures, and ointments. If found violating more than three-quarters of an ounce of any of the notes could result in a $350 fine and one year prison time.
As for hash, any resident 18 years or older who possesses less than 5 grams of hash will only be guilty of a violation and a possible $100 fine, which rises with additional offenses. Possessing more than 5 grams or more of hash is a misdemeanor, which could cost up to $350 in fines and no more than one year imprisonment.
Frequently Asked Questions
The cost for the medical marijuana evaluation and approval with Veriheal is $199, with a full guarantee if not approved. Unlike other states with medical cannabis programs, New Hampshire charges a $50 registration fee.
Yes. Severe pain is a qualifying condition.
Yes. To be approved for a medical cannabis license in the state of New Hampshire an applicant must provide either a state license or identification card to prove their residency in the state. New Hampshire does however honor out-of-state medical cannabis cardholders.
You must be at least 18 years of age and be able to provide residency with at least two forms of identification, including a driver’s license or state identification card.