A bill aiming to legalize home-grown marijuana in the state of New Hampshire was delayed on Monday in a Senate debate, alluding to the possibility of it not making to the current legislative session. State lawmakers showed their intention to dismiss the bill entirely when they approved a motion to continue “studying” the matter. The Senate debates on Monday was a clear instance of how alienated perceptions are on the subject; whether or not to let patients using medical marijuana for treatment to grow the plant at home.
The bill would have been a significant addition to the present medical cannabis program that the state of New Hampshire rolled out. Its dismissal by senators today serves a considerable obstacle to increasing access to the 3500 medical marijuana patients in the state. The current law dictates that patients can buy such products from dispensaries by owning a state license. Despite the increase in these dispensaries, many patients still do not have local access to dispensaries. The other burden, especially for patients in the low-income bracket is the issue of cost. Dispensaries in New Hampshire sell an ounce of flower at the same price sold in the streets. This was highlighted by Sen. Martha Hennessey who invoked the need to do more than just increasing the number of dispensaries. She also pointed out the struggle by disabled patients to get to the dispensaries while quoting the cost of $300-$400 an ounce as a price they aren’t in a position to afford.
Aside from the high prices, patients are also inconvenienced by a law that prohibits the private growing of medical marijuana; this has made the program in which they are registered very ineffective since it has limited access the medicine they are legally entitled to.
Senators Push To Pass Home-Grown Cannabis Bill, Only to Fall Short
The side of senators in support of the House Bill 1476 tried their best on the floor to convince their colleagues into accepting the bill but were unfortunate not to get to the skeptical lawmakers who felt their concerns had not been sufficiently addressed.
Sen. Bob Giuda stressed the concerns earlier raised by Sen. Hennessey about the high prices and accessibility. He’s on record as saying he has always been for the use of medical marijuana, something he is poised to continue doing, considering that the patients face challenging circumstances of being in remote areas and paying for prices that are exploitative.
However, senators Sharon Carons of Londonderry and Jeb Bradley of Wolfeboro countered with concerns about the possibility of challenges arising to law enforcement and also the quality of medicine grown at home.
Sen. Carsons was not convinced by the issues of sourcing and quality for medical marijuana grown in homes; emphasizing that such products are precise and customized to an individual’s needs. She further contested that purchasing generic pot from streets shouldn’t bring about the intended results.
Meanwhile, Sen. Bradley said that he had come across testimony from law enforcement personnel that growing cannabis in homes at the expense of the right controls is a crucial subject that affects the nature they perform their jobs. He said the challenges would even out on their own with the increase of dispensaries and home delivery services going online; arguing that the cost would reduce on account of the competition.
However, Sen. John Reagan of Deerfield challenged the belief that the subject necessitated additional study by arguing that senators who felt they didn’t have enough information regarding home growing could consider their neighbors Maine as an example.
The medical marijuana program in Maine has always been about home cultivation ever since it was started in 1999. According to Reagan, police from Orno, Maine assured him that there are no concerns about the homegrown marijuana by any police chiefs in Maine.
The Senate Committee on Health and Human Services had initially rejected the very House Bill towards the end of April. It suggested that the bill is taken to “interim study.” Nevertheless, a chance remained for the bill, which passed the house early this year and could survive a full Senate vote. Unfortunately, the whole Senate voted on Monday what the committee had suggested and rejected it.
Had the bill passed, it would have allowed eligible patients and those who care for them to grow a maximum of two mature marijuana plants and a dozen seedlings. Furthermore, any cannabis grower would have been able to give the plant to other qualified patients and caregivers; although for now, dispensaries are the only viable option for patients in New Hampshire.