Senate Bill 420, which passed with a voice vote, would allow medical marijuana patients and caregivers to grow up to three plants and 12 seedlings each.
Rick Naya, executive director of New Hampshire’s Cannabis Freedom Festival told the Weed Blog that it is rare for the Senate to take a voice vote on anything related to cannabis, but he’s not complaining.
“I'm extremely excited to be one step closer to the dreams I've had of helping create a newer New Hampshire,” said Naya, a well-known advocate for medical cannabis and for home grow within a regulated cannabis industry.
Last year, New Hampshire’s House and Senate approved similar home grow legislation, but in August 2019 Republican Gov. Chris Sununu vetoed the bill, citing concerns over the black market.
Naya says that if legislators go along with another veto by the governor, they should be prepared to lose their seats.
“To know that we're that much closer to being able to override the governor if he chooses to veto the bill means that these senators and legislators are finally understanding and listening to the citizens,” Naya said. “The voices of patients must be heard and respected, otherwise we will not reelect those legislators.”
Talk to your lawmakers
“Now is the time for patients and citizens to reach out to those legislators and elected officials and let them know that they must pass this bill. We will make our voices heard on social media and throughout our communities,” Naya said.
Although medical marijuana was legalized in New Hampshire in 2013, growing for personal use was considered a felony.
Sen. John Reagan (R), who sponsored the SB 420, said that the home grow option would also help some pain patients wean themselves off opioid prescriptions.
"It pretty much mirrors the bill we've seen time and time again to allow patients to cultivate cannabis," Reagan told New Hampshire Public Radio.
Reagan’s on the right track.
New Hampshire is among the top five states in the nation with the highest rate of opioid-involved deaths. In 2017 alone, New Hampshire providers wrote 52.8 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons, according to a March 2019 report published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Home grow is also far more economical for patients
“Patients all over New Hampshire are benefitting from cannabis as an alternative to opioids, but many are unable to afford the expensive products that are available at dispensaries,” said Matt Simon, New England political director of the Marijuana Policy Project, in a press release.
Meanwhile, the East Coast is closing ranks around legalized medical marijuana.
“New Hampshire deserves to be like the rest of New England and the rest of the nation as we move forward with social and economic reforms and remove the outdated and failed drug war mentality,” concluded Rick Naya.
“Live free or die,” is New Hampshire’s state motto.