CONCORD, N.H. – New Hampshire moved a step forward toward legalizing marijuana for medical use, joining the swelling ranks of states nullifying the unconstitutional federal ban on weed.
On Thursday, the state Senate passed HB573 18-6.
The legislation would allow qualifying patients to legally possess and use marijuana to treat illnesses including cancer, glaucoma, AIDS and Crohn’s Disease. It would also create a system for setting up dispensaries in the state.
The House passed the bill 286-64 in March, but the Senate approved an amended version to satisfy several demands by Gov. Maggie Hassan. The Senate version strips allowances for growing marijuana at home and drops the number of approved dispensaries from five to four. It also removes post-traumatic stress from the list of approved conditions and adds a resident requirement for an affirmative defense in court. Hassan has indicated she won’t sign a bill with a home-grown option, although she supported it as a Senator.
The legislation will now go back to the House. According to an AP report, it will likely ask to negotiate a compromise.
Activists say they hope to resurrect the home grow option in the final version, but even with the restrictions, the bill would drastically improve prospects for New Hampshire residents who currently risk prison if they treat their pain with marijuana.