Medical Cannabis Cultivation Bill Approved in New Hampshire House
House Bill 431 was introduced on Jan. 5, 2023, and has proceeded through numerous sessions and hearings before passing in the House on March 22. If passed, it would allow patients as well as caregivers to cultivate up to three mature plants, three immature plants, and 12 seedlings at home. Additionally, HB-341 would also increase the number of plants that medical cannabis dispensaries can grow, with 80 mature plants, 160 immature plants, and an endless number of seedlings.
The bill requires that patients report their cultivation to the Department of Health and Human Services, and as a qualifying patient or caregiver, would be protected from arrest by state or local law enforcement or penalty under state or municipal law.
During the hearings that have been conducted so far, two concerns have been discussed, according to Rep. Erica Layon of Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs. “This bill as amended provides a framework for therapeutic cannabis patients or their caregivers to grow cannabis with restrictions. This bill addresses two major problems for this community—access and price,” said Layon during a meeting on March 17. “The closest Alternative Treatment Center (ATC) may be far away and the cost of this product is high. Most therapeutic cannabis patients will continue to purchase their product from ATCs and those who choose to grow their own will be able to purchase seedlings from the ATC or grow from seeds according to their preference. This bill has broad support from stakeholders including patient representatives, ATCs and the department.”
Rep. Wendy Thomas, one of the sponsors of HB-341, tweeted about the bill’s progress so far. “Passed on a voice vote of the Consent Calendar—HB-431—Therapeutic home-grow now moves to the Senate One step closer. Thanks to all of the many advocates who have worked to make this happen. Let us not take our foot off the gas until we get this signed,” she posted on March 22. The bill now heads to the senate for further consideration.
On Twitter, Prime Alternative Treatment Centers Director of Public and Government Relations Matt Simon shared that he believes this is the 11th time that a medical cannabis cultivation bill has passed through the House since 2009. According to Simon, only four of those bills passed through the Senate.
As of January, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu’s office predicts that cannabis legalization will not reach his desk. “It’s failed in the Senate repeatedly, in both Republican-held years and Democrat-held years,” Sununu’s office said in a statement to New Hampshire Public Radio. “With teen drug use and overdoses on the rise, it is not anticipated that the legislature will see this as a time to ignore the data and move it forward.”
House Bill 360 also recently passed in the House on March 21, which would legalize adult-use cannabis by removing cannabis from the state’s list of banned substances and removing any criminal penalties for cannabis offenses. While cannabis would be legal to possess, cultivate, and purchase, it does not implement any tax or regulation program. It has also moved to the Senate for further consideration.
House Bill 639 has also been making its way through the House. If passed, it would legalize possession, cannabis sales, and gifting of up to four ounces, create a Liquor and Cannabis Commission to manage industry regulations statewide, implement taxes for cultivators, and much more. The latest hearing was held on March 20.
Rep. Anita Burroughs spoke during a floor debate for HB-639 on Feb. 22, and explained that it is “good legislation that is the result of the goodwill and diligent work of both political parties.” “We can now join other New England states that offer safe, regulated and a profitable cannabis industry to their citizens,” she continued.
Other representatives expressed their excitement when HB-639 passed on Feb. 22. “I cast my vote on cannabis legalization from seat 4-20!” Tweeted Rep. Amanda Bouldin. “We did the damn thing #blazeit” Rep. Jessica Grill shared.