New Hampshire governor turns down medical cannabis bill

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The bill would have eliminated a current requirement regarding health care providers

New Hampshire’s governor, Chris Sununu, has been relatively receptive to a more open marijuana industry in the state. He has signed off on a number of bills to relax legislative policies since taking office, but has now decided to draw the line, at least on one bill. Sununu has nixed an attempt to remove a health care provider requirement currently on the books.

According to New Hampshire law, patients must have a relationship with a health care provider that has endured at least three months before being allowed to receive medical marijuana. A bill had hoped to eliminate this requirement, but Sununu says no. He asserts that the three-month requirement helps build stronger relationships between patients and providers, and that it helps keep medical patients safe.

This defeat is only a minor one and doesn’t set the state’s marijuana program back at all. Sununu has shown his support for other marijuana legislation, including a bill that will allow physician assistants to recommend medical marijuana to patients and another that gives regulators the authority to allow New Hampshire’s four medical marijuana operators to launch a second dispensary in each of their territories. The first bill takes effect as of August 20, and the second becomes effective September 8. There are already five dispensaries operating in the state and there could possibly be eight in the very near future.

New Hampshire has a fairly robust medical marijuana program. There are currently 8,000 patients enrolled and sales are expected to reach as high as $25 million this year. Last year, the amount was no higher than $20,000.