Today, following a lengthy debate, the New Hampshire Senate voted 14-10 to reject the adult-use legalization bill (HB 639). The vote fell mostly along party lines, with every Democratic senator except Sen. Lou D’Allesandro supporting the measure and every Republican senator except Sen. Keith Murphy opposing it.
We will continue to participate in the effort to legalize and regulate adult-use cannabis until it finally succeeds. In the meantime, the death of HB 639 may help refocus attention on three other cannabis bills that are still pending in the Senate.
Therapeutic Cannabis Bills Still Pending
HB 431 would legalize home cultivation for registered patients and caregivers. The Senate Judiciary Committee recommended against it in a 3-2 vote, but it will still receive a vote on the Senate floor.
The final two bills are still pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee:
HB 610 would make it easier for patients to be certified with a “severe pain” diagnosis. If it passes, the current requirements that patients have “not responded to previously prescribed medication or surgical measures” or that they have experienced “serious side effects” from other treatment options would be deleted. This is important because patients should not have to try opioids or surgeries before being certified for therapeutic cannabis.
HB 611 would allow therapeutic cannabis certifications by any New Hampshire medical provider who is licensed to prescribe drugs to humans and possesses an active DEA registration. Many patients report that they have difficulty finding a provider who is knowledgeable about therapeutic cannabis. This bill would help by allowing a broader range of providers, including naturopathic doctors, to certify patients. The bill would also allow family practice providers who provide pediatric care to certify minor patients. Currently, N.H. requires two certifications for minor patients, and one must be from a pediatrician. However, this is problematic because many children are served by family practice providers rather than pediatricians.
If you feel strongly about any of these bills, please take a moment to contact your state senator and ask for their support! (You can find their contact information here.)