Medicinal Marijuana - Issue Summary

Should New Hampshire permit medicinal marijuana?

medicinal marijuanaBy: LFDA Editor

On July 23, 2013, Gov. Maggie Hassan made New Hampshire the 19th state to legalize medicinal marijuana. 

She signed the House and Senate passed HB 573 in 2013. Under the bill, four alternative treatment centers will be licensed by the state to dispense marijuana to qualifying patients. 

Cancer, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, Hepatitis C, ALS, muscular dystrophy, Crohn’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, chronic pancreatitis, spinal cord injury or disease, and traumatic brain injury are some of the qualifying conditions.

The original version of the bill permitted marijuana cultivation by patients, but concerns over law enforcement led to the provision's removal.

In signing the bill, Hassan said: "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..."

The treatment centers are expected to open in 2015.

Proponents of medical marijuana argue that it can be a safe and effective treatment for the symptoms of terminal illness and chronic diseases. The American College of Physicians, American Nurses Association, and American Public Health Association are some of the major health organizations to support the medicinal value of marijuana.

Opponents argue that marijuana is an addictive, non-FDA approved drug that adversely affects the lungs, immune system, and brain.

According to 2013 WMUR Granite State poll, 79% of New Hampshire residents support a medicinal marijuana law (57% strongly and 22% somewhat).

Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have enacted medicinal marijuana laws.

2015 Legislation

Rep. Virginia O'Brien Irwin (D-Newport) is the primary sponsor of HB 117, a 2015 bill that would allow physician assistants to prescribe medicinal marijuana. This bill was killed in the House.

Rep. Ted Wright (R-Moultonborough) is the primary sponsor of HB 164, a 2015 bill that requires the state to begin processing applications for medical marijuana ID cards no later than July 23, 2015. This bill was killed in the House.

Rep. Joseph Lachance (R-Manchester) is the primary sponsor of HB 165, a 2015 bill which broadens the medical conditions that qualify for a medicinal marijuana prescription to include many general symptoms. This bill was killed in the House.

Rep. Stephen Schmidt is the primary sponsor of HB 476, a 2015 bill that adds epilepsy, lupus, Parkinson’s disease, and dementia associated with Alzheimer’s disease to the list of medical conditions qualifying for medicinal marijuana. This bill has passed the House and Senate and was signed by the Governor.

Rep. Ted Wright is the primary sponsor of HB 593, a 2015 bill that permits qualifying patients and registered caregivers to grow medicinal marijuana at home. This bill passed the House and is being reviewed by the Senate's Health and Human Services Committee.

Sen. John Reagan is the primary sponsor of SB 22, a 2015 bill that allows satellite marijuana dispensaries, and makes other small changes to the law governing medicinal marijuana. This bill passed the Senate and House and was signed by the Governor. Sen. Reagan is also the primary sponsor of SB 54, which requires a medicinal marijuana treatment centers to give payment in lieu of taxes to a municipality if the center's nonprofit status grants a property tax exemption. This bill passed the Senate and House and was signed by the Governor. Lastly, Sen. Reagan is sponsoring SB 240, which protects certified public accountants from prosecution or penalty for providing services to medical marijuana treatment centers and patients. SB 240 passed the Senate and was tabled in the House.

2014 Legislation

Legislators proposed five 2014 bills related to medicinal marijuana.

Sen. John Reagan (R-Deerfield) was the prime sponsor of SB 234, a 2014 bill that creates deadlines for the criminal background check for caregivers, and repeals the requirement that marijuana cultivation locations be confidential.  That bill passed the House and Senate and was signed by Governor Hassan.

Rep. Donald Wright sponsored HB 1622, a 2014 bill that allows home-growing of medical marijuana.  The House passed that bill, but HB 1622 was sent to interim study in the Senate, which effectively killed the bill. 

The House and Senate both passed Wright's HB 1296, which adds a member of the New Hampshire Association of Police Chiefs to the advisory council overseeing the implementation of the medical marijuana law. It was signed into law by Governor Hassan.

Wright also sponsored HB 1616, which would add epilepsy, lupus, and Parkinson’s disease to the list of conditions qualifying for medicinal marijuana; HB 1616 would also require medical marijuana to be in a locked container when in a car.  The House sent HB 1616 to interim study, effectively killing the bill.

Lastly, Rep. Donna Schalchman (D-Exeter) sponsored HB 1623, a 2014 bill to prohibit advertising by medical marijuana treatment centers.  The House killed that bill in March.

Previous Legislation

Former Gov. John Lynch, a Democrat like Hassan, vetoed a medical marijuana bill (SB 409) in 2012. In his veto message, Gov. Lynch expressed concern with the legislation's inability to control marijuana cultivation sites. The Senate fell three votes shy of a veto override.

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Take Action

If you are interested in medicinal marijuana in NH and want to take action here are some choices:

  • If you are new to contacting your government, please visit our page on How to Take Action.

  • Contact one of the organizations listed in Learn More. These groups represent the pro or con positions of issues.

  • Contact a government official as follows:

1. Contact members of the New Hampshire House of Representatives or the New Hampshire Senate

2. Give your opinion to Governor Maggie Hassan

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Learn More/Take Action

What do you think about using marijuana for medical reasons?  Whatever your thoughts are, we urge you to make your voice heard. See the "Learn More/Take Action" section on this page for more information.

Issue Status

Medical marijuana will become available in New Hampshire in 2015.

Several legislators are sponsoring 2015 bills that would broaden access to medicinal marijuana.  See the bottom of the Issue Summary for more details.


August 20, 2015
Concord Monitor: Sponsor of medical marijuana bill and nearby residents critical of dispensary hearing process
August 19, 2015
Concord Monitor: Medical marijuana grow center near Peterborough school zone seen as an educational opportunity
August 19, 2015
Union Leader: Peterborough debates marijuana cultivation facility near high school
August 19, 2015
Nashua Telegraph: Marijuana guidelines approved in Plymouth
August 18, 2015
WMUR: Residents speak out on planned Plymouth marijuana dispensary
August 13, 2015

Keene Sentinel: Medical marijuana dispensaries: Is four enough in NH?
August 13, 2015
The Citizen: "Compassionate group" advocates medical pot
August 12, 2015
Union Leader: Medical pot plans headed to two towns
August 11, 2015
The Citizen: Cannabis dispensary proposed in Plymouth
August 11, 2015
Seacoast Online: Legislators to feds: Stay out of marijuana laws
July 26, 2015

Union Leader: Pot Profits: How do you regulate when federal and state laws clash?
July 23, 2015

Union Leader: Merrimack eyes rules for pot dispensary
July 23, 2015

Nashua Telegraph: Merrimack prepares for possible pot dispensary
July 12, 2015

Seacoast Online: Patients still waiting for medical marijuana in NH
July 7, 2015
NHPR: Gov. Hassan Signs Bill Expanding The Use of Medical Marijuana
July 4, 2015

Concord Monitor: State House: Bills' fates hang on Hassan
June 15, 2015

Union Leader: Medical marijuana moving forward, but it's a long slow process
June 14, 2015

Union Leader:
 NH embraces cannabis with caution
June 11, 2015

NHPR: Challenge now for dispensaries? Find towns willing to host them
June 11, 2015

NH1: Medical marijuana clears a hurdle but for winning bidders the hard work now begins
June 11, 2015

Concord Monitor: Legal, logistical challenges loom for NH medical marijuana program
June 10, 2015

Concord Monitor: NH selects three companies to operate medical marijuana treatment centers
June 10, 2015

WMUR: Medical marijuana treatment centers approved by state
May 4, 2015

Union Leader: NH medical marijuana dispensaries still months away, unlikely before 2016
April 22, 2015

Concord Monitor: Lawmakers urged to pass measure expanding medical marijuana eligibility
March 13, 2015

Union Leader: NH House Roundup: Vote allows medical marijuana patients to grow their own cannabis
March 11, 2015
Seacoast Online: Epping passes marijuana zoning change
March 5, 2015
Union Leader: House votes to add conditions to medical marijuana program list
March 1, 2015

Concord Monitor: Concord to decide where – and if – medical marijuana facilities would be located in city
February 11, 2015
Concord Monitor: After failed bid last session, medical marijuana home grow option back up for debate in NH
January 28, 2015
NHPR: DHHS receives 14 applications for medical marijuana dispensary approval
January 1, 2015
Union Leader: Proposed ordinance would halt Epping medical marijuana plan
December 15, 2014
Union Leader: Epping proposes ordinance to restrict marijuana dispensaries
December 11, 2014
WMUR: Medical marijuana dispensary proposed in Franklin
December 11, 2014
Eagle Tribune: Proposed NH marijuana dispensary has Mass. ties
December 10, 2014
Concord Monitor: Franklin businessman plans to apply for medical marijuana dispensary license
December 7, 2014
Concord Monitor: Could Maine's medical marijuana program serve as a model for New Hampshire?
May 29, 2014
Foster's Daily Democrat: Public hearing set on medical marijuana registry
May 2, 2014
Concord Monitor: N.H. Senate rejects keno, home-grow option for medical marijuana
April 23, 2014
WMUR: Senate committee to vote on medical marijuana regulations
April 14, 2014
NHPR: Online Ads Promise To Help Residents Get Medical Marijuana Cards That Don't Exist Yet
April 9, 2014
Concord Monitor: Several changes proposed for NH medical marijuana law
April 9, 2014
NHPR: Medical marijuana advocates: Grow-your-own option needed with delays in law
March 13, 2014
Union Leader: Medical marijuana wait frustrates NH patients
March 8, 2014
Union Leader: NH House give OK to homegrown marijuana for people who need it
March 7, 2014
Concord Monitor: NH House passes grow-your-own medical marijuana bill
February 26, 2014
Concord Monitor: Dispute arises over timing of NH medical marijuana ID cards
NHPR: AG cautions against issuing medical marijuana ID cards this summer
February 22, 2014
Seacoast Online: NH medical marijuana rules under review
February 13, 2014
Union Leader: House says medical marijuana program needs work
January 29, 2014
NHPR: Bill would prohibit N.H.'s medical marijuana dispensaries from advertising product
January 19, 2014
NHPR: New York's medical marijuana experiment begins with caution
January 16, 2014
Union Leader: Proposed changes to medical marijuana law in Granite State would restrict its use
December 10, 2013
Union Leader: Seminar about growing medicinal marijuana draws 40
September 27, 2013
NHPR: Medical Marijuana Panel Starts Work On Rolling Out New Law
September 26, 2013
Foster's Daily Democrat: Work starts to implement NH medical marijuana law
September 22, 2013
Seacoast Online: NH medical marijuana panel to meet
September 20, 2013
Nashua Telegraph: NH House panel in favor of legalizing up to an ounce of marijuana
September 8, 2013
Nashua Telegraph: NH's medical marijuana law gives great power to oversight council
August 22, 2013
NHPR: DHHS Commissioner: Cost of rolling out medical marijuana law adding up
August 4, 2013
Concord Monitor: Medical marijuana now legal in N.H., but rule-writing means delay for patients, dispensaries
July 30, 2013

Seacoast Online: Is legalizing marijuana next for NH?
July 27, 2013
Nashua Telegraph: Cannabis Care: From UNH to Statehouse, intern helps draft NH's marijuana legislation
July 26, 2013
Nashua Telegraph: Cannabis Care: Hospice and HIV professionals expect to see little impact from medical marijuana bill
July 26, 2013
Nashua Telegraph: Cannabis Care: Manchester grandmother fears getting caught for using marijuana
July 25, 2013
Eagle Tribune: Medical marijuana centers could take years to open
July 25, 2013
Nashua Telegraph: Cannabis Care: Using marijuana as medicine can have negative effect on children
July 24, 2013
Opening N.H.'s Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Could Take Two Years
July 24, 2013
WMUR: Medical marijuana bill signed into law
July 23, 2013
Nashua Telegraph: Hassan has five days to sign therapeutic marijuana law
July 22, 2013
Nashua Telegraph: Cannabis Care: Doctors are allowed to object to state's marijuana program and refuse patients
July 21, 2013
Nashua Telegraph: Medical marijuana at a glance
July 21, 2013
Nashua Telegraph: Cannabis Care: Signing the therapeutic marijuana law just the first step in a process that could take years
July 21, 2013
Nashua Telegraph: Cannabis Care: Can NH patients get medical marijuana in other states? Not really
July 18, 2013
Seacoast Online: Medical marijuana, voter ID bills stall
July 18, 2013
Nashua Telegraph: Vt., Maine offer marijuana lessons to NH
July 9, 2013
Union Leader: Is Groveton mill a spot to grow NH medicinal pot?
July 7, 2013
Union Leader: Marijuana stories: Patients eager to come out of shadows when law passes
July 1, 2013
Union Leader: Medical Society president weighs in on medical marijuana
June 27, 2013
Union Leader: NH medical marijuana OK'd by legislature
June 26, 2013
WMUR: NH bill allows seriously ill to use marijuana
June 24, 2013

WMUR: NH lawmakers voting on medical marijuana bill
June 23, 2013
Nashua Telegraph: NH will see medical marijuana long before it sees insurance for it
June 19, 2013
Nashua Telegraph: Gov. Hassan will sign revised medical marijuana bill
June 17, 2013
WMUR: NH lawmakers to negotiate medical marijuana changes
June 6, 2013
NHPR: House votes to negotiate with Senate to reconcile medical marijuana bills
May 23, 2013
NHPR: State Senate OKs Medical Marijuana Bill
May 23, 2013

Foster's Daily Democrat: NH Senate considering legalizing medical marijuana
May 19, 2013
Foster's Daily Democrat: Medical marijuana bill heads to Senate
May 15, 2013
WMUR: Former congressional candidate who supported medical marijuana loses battle to cancer
May 12, 2013
Union Leader: Gov. Hassan, do you care about the severely disabled like me? (Guest Column)
May 10, 2013
WMUR: Hospital-bed plea made for relaxed medical marijuana rules 
May 7, 2013
Union Leader: Stripped-down medical marijuana bill passes Senate panel with no home-grow option 
March 20, 2013
Eagle-Tribune: House passes medical marijuana bill
March 12, 2013
NHPR: As NH weighs Rx pot, other states say their programs are working
March 9, 2013
Eagle-Tribune: Medical marijuana a step closer in NH
February 23, 2013
Seacoast Online: Home-growing provision may stall medical marijuana in NH
February 22, 2013
Union Leader: Passionate testimony in medical marijuana hearing
WMUR: Strong support for medical marijuana voiced in hearing
NHPR: Medical marijuana bill heard in NH House
February 21, 2013
WMUR: Lawmakers to consider medicinal marijuana legalization
February 19, 2013
Concord Monitor: Legal-pot proposals receive varying levels of support
February 17, 2013
Concord Monitor: Poll: 79 percent support medical marijuana in New Hampshire
June 27, 2012
Patch: Medicinal marijuana bill dies
June 22, 2012
WMUR: Lynch vetoes medical marijuana, voter ID bills
June 7, 2012

Concord Monitor: Medical marijuana bill passes Senate
May 31, 2012

NHPR: Medical marijuana showdown looms
May 17, 2012
NHPR: NH House passes medical marijuana bill
April 29, 2012
WMUR: Senate to determine fate of marijuana bill
Concord Monitor: Law enforcement resisting pot bill
April 27, 2012

Concord Monitor: Medical pot bill still going
April 26, 2012
Union Leader: House passes medical marijuana bill
April 25, 2012
Concord Monitor: Lynch vows medical pot bill veto
April 20, 2012
WMUR: NH Senate considers hemp farming bill
Union Leader: Hearing on decriminalizing marijuana draws a crowd
Concord Monitor: House panel okays medical marijuana bill
March 29, 2012
WMUR: NH passes medical marijuana bill: police officials call vote 'a disappointment'
March 28, 2012

Union Leader: Marijuana backers seek veto override
March 23, 2012
Union Leader: Senate panel OKs medical pot bill
March 5, 2012

Concord Monitor: NH House votes on marijuana decriminalization
February 9, 2012

NHPR: Medical marijuana heats up again in NH