House Bill 364, a proposed law that seeks to allow patients taking medical cannabis to grow marijuana at home, has been approved by the senate in New Hampshire. The vote was close, but the bill sailed through 14-10.
Under the proposed legislation, patients who have been enrolled on the medical marijuana program of the state can have 12 medical marijuana seedlings, 3 young plants and 3 mature plants for their own use.
Currently, New Hampshire has 7,000 registered patients in the medical cannabis program. These patients have been compelled to get all their medical marijuana from just four Alternative Treatment Centers operating in the state.
The small number of retail outlets has resulted in high medical cannabis product prices, and many patients who cannot afford those products have resorted to using prescription opioids and other potentially harmful alternatives since medical marijuana isn’t covered by most insurance companies.
Activists have welcomed the bill saying that it will give patients a viable alternative to the expensive medical marijuana available at Alternative Treatment Centers.
There was resistance to the bill in the senate, and several changes were made in order to accommodate the concerns of the dissenting voices. For example, the bill initially had a provision which would allow a medical cannabis patient to gift marijuana to another patient who is registered to use medical cannabis in the state.
This provision was removed because there were concerns that such gifting would open the way to medical marijuana getting to the wrong people, such as criminal gangs selling marijuana on the black market.
Despite the changes, some senators, such as Sen. James Gray, are still adamant that legalizing home grows isn’t a good move. He said that the state has a rigorous system in place to make sure that the licensed cultivators only supply their products to the state-approved retailers. Allowing home grows creates a regulatory nightmare because it will be hard to monitor the plants grown by each patient who chooses to grow medical marijuana, Gray added.
Now that the bill has received senate approval, it now heads back to the House of Representatives where it had initially been approved and sent to the senate. The bill is coming back to the House so that the lawmakers there can consider the changes made by senate.
If the lawmakers in the House of Representatives pass the bill in its current form, then it will be sent to the desk of Gov. Sununu for a final decision on whether it becomes law.
TransCanna Holdings Inc. (CSE: TCAN) and Therma Bright Inc. (TSX.V: THRM) (OTC: THRBF) sympathize with the patients and call upon the authorities to pass the bill quickly so that those who cannot afford the medical cannabis in Alternative Treatment Centers can grow their own.
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