BY LEAH MAURER
Some of the bills that were up for discussion included language that would allow people authorized to use medicinal marijuana to grow their own plants at home, AND would add Post Dramatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Chronic Pain to the state’s qualifying conditions for medical marijuana use.
According to New Hampshire Public Radio, all of these measures overwhelmingly passed the House last month and are now in the Senate.
At last week’s public hearings, several people testified in support of these proposals, including many who gave personal stories of how marijuana has improved their symptoms. One woman said it has helped her with nightmares and breathlessness caused by being sexually assaulted. Others described how marijuana has allowed them to go back to work and even become better parents.
Rep. Jerry Knirkof Freedom [District 3], who’s a retired spine surgeon, also testified in support of these measures, especially the proposal involving chronic pain. Knirk says research shows when it comes to chronic pain such as back pain, marijuana can be effective, even more so than opioids.
New Hampshire remains the only state in New England that continues to arrest and prosecute people simply for possessing small amounts of marijuana. “Fortunately, that appears likely to change in 2017. For the first time in its history, New Hampshire has elected a governor, Chris Sununu (R), who is clearly on record in favor of decriminalizing marijuana possession,” according to the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP).
Sadly, the decriminalization bill that was in the New Hampshire Congress around a year ago did not pass. However, a newly proposed Bill, House Bill 640 would decriminalize possession of one ounce or less of marijuana, passed through the State House of Representatives in early March by quite a bit. It is now in the Senate, being discussed and amended, so the future of this piece of legislation is still very uncertain.