The New Hampshire state Senate approved a bill on Thursday that would allow qualified medical marijuana patients to grow their own cannabis plants at home. The bill now heads to the state’s House of Representatives, where strong support for a similar measure was thwarted last year by a veto from Republican Governor Chris Sununu.
Under Senate Bill 420, qualified medical marijuana patients and their registered caregivers would be permitted to grow up to three mature cannabis plants, three immature plants, and 12 seedlings. Home gardens would be required to be located out of public view and have a canopy not exceeding 50 square feet.
Democratic Rep. Tom Sherman said the nearly 8,000 registered medicinal cannabis patients in New Hampshire can find it difficult or too expensive to get their medicine from licensed dispensaries, where the selection of cannabis products available is often limited. Home cultivation also allows patients to control how their cannabis is grown and what chemicals, if any, are used in the process.
“This bill will give patients and their caregivers the ability to grow their own medicine at greatly reduced cost compared to the prohibitive costs that they would have had to pay at a dispensary, which might not even have the type of medical cannabis that patients needs to treat their conditions,” he said.
Matt Simon, the New England political director for advocacy group the Marijuana Policy Project, called on the governor to sign the legislation, noting that New Hampshire is surrounded by states with legal cannabis.
“This bill presents Gov. Sununu with a great opportunity to continue his evolution on cannabis policy,” Simon said in a press release. “Patients all over New Hampshire are benefitting from cannabis as an alternative to opioids, but many are unable to afford the expensive products that are available at dispensaries. Home cultivation is a cost-effective option that is available to patients and adults in all neighboring jurisdictions, and there is no good reason it should remain a crime for patients in the ‘Live Free or Die’ state.”
A similar medical marijuana home cultivation bill was passed by the New Hampshire House and Senate last year, but the measure was vetoed by Sununu, who cited a potential burden on law enforcement and concerns about diversion of homegrown medical marijuana to the black market. The House voted to override the veto with a vote of 259 to 120, but the effort failed in the Senate by three votes.