The fight for approval of medical marijuana last year was a hard-fought, multifaceted battle in the state of New Hampshire, with many different interests trying to cobble together legislation that everyone could accept.
However, a year after the bill was signed into law, patients are still not receiving access to cannabis, free of arrest, due to the mechanizations of public policy.
According to Matt Simon of the Marijuana Policy Project, who organized a press conference at the Statehouse in Concord on July 23, the one-year anniversary of the signing, patients have been, well, waiting patiently for identification cards as well as the opening of dispensaries and now, some are moving out of state to access care. He noted that all other New England states now have medicinal cannabis legislation and protections for patients. The five other states – Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont – also all have civil instead of criminal offense marijuana laws, of varying degrees.
Activists at the event, including two War on Terror veterans suffering from injuries and post traumatic stress syndrome, cancer survivors, and other victims of disease, delivered a list of 10 grievances to the office of Gov. Maggie Hassan, D-Exeter. They called on her to encourage the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office and the Department of Health and Human Services to issue ID cards to people who need access to cannabis immediately. Other grievances included moving forward on issuing rules for dispensaries, allowing patients with PTSD access to medical marijuana, removing “unreasonable requirements” for providers and case-by-case approval, and improving representation on the advisory council created to offer recommendations about public policy.
Hassan was not in her office at the time of delivery but a clerk accepted the information from activists.
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