New Hampshire Medical Marijuana Patient Grievances
Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 07/24/2014 in Marijuana Politics
This morning, on the first anniversary of Governor Hassan’s signing of House Bill 573 – Representative Donald Wright joined patients and their advocates at a demonstration in front of the State house to bring awareness to the struggles patients still face.
At the rally today patients and supporters, including Rep. Wright plan to join in front of the New Hampshire State House and discuss their grievances and request changes to the state program from the governor. After the rally they plan to personally deliver the list of grievances to Governor Hassan’s office
We at MarijuanaDoctors.com have obtained a copy of these grievances and have shared them with you below:
10) Lack of legal protection – under circumstances patients will not receive legal protection from arrest until they have been issued identification cards, however the Attorney General’s office has advised the Department of Health and Human Services to not begin processing and issuing identification cards until the first dispensary in the state has opened for business. Patients will ask the Governor that since he insisted that legal protections not be granted until the issuance of identification cards that he urge the DHHS to ignore the Attorney General’s office and move forward with the issuance of patients cards.
9)No timelines or urgency for dispensaries – even though a full year has passed since the signing of House Bill 573 the DHHS has still not managed to produce any first draft or outline of rules that will govern dispensaries. Patients will ask Governor Hassan to pressure regulators to get serious and begin implementing the law they have an obligation to do.
8)Removal of PTSD as a qualifying condition – currently individuals suffering from PTSD, in many cases veterans, may use medical marijuana in 10 legal states, New Hampshire is not one of them. Patients will ask Governor Hassan to withdraw his opposition allowing PTSD to be included as a qualifying condition.
7)No case by case approval – unique to New Hampshire medical marijuana law is the requirement of both a listed symptom and a listed condition to qualify for the states program. The State Attorney General’s office has advised the DHHS to ignore the law’s “case-by-case approval” language thus blocking patients in compelling programs from receiving an effective form of treatment. Patients will ask Governor Hassan to improve this language so that these individuals with unique medical conditions may qualify.
6) Unreasonable requirements for providers – the Department of Health and Human Services has established rules that over step its authority by requiring providers to justify their patient’s certifications by making available certain medical records. Patients will ask Governor Hassan to recognize that marijuana is less harmful than many prescription drugs such as OxyContin and that it is ludicrous to discourage providers from suggesting a less harmful alternative.
5) Unreasonable requirements for patients – under New Hampshire’s medical marijuana law, it is a crime to possess cannabis in “Drug Free Zones.” This means a patient living within such a zone — or even driving through such a zone — would not be legally allowed to possess or use cannabis, even in the privacy of his or her own home or vehicle, and even if the cannabis is not smoked. It also means any patient or caregiver transporting cannabis within two or three blocks of a school would be inadvertently committing a crime. The law also includes an absurd requirement that patients must have written permission before they can consume cannabis on another person’s property. Patients will ask Governor Hassan to remove these burdensome restrictions and allow patients to medicate in a practical and real world manner.
4) Opposition to reducing penalties – New Hampshire remains the only state in New England where simple possession of cannabis is still a crime punishable by possible jail time. Reducing penalties would reduce patients’ and their family members’ exposure to the criminal justice system if they possess cannabis for therapeutic purposes, including while they wait for ID cards to become available. Patients will ask Governor Hassan to withdraw his opposition to reducing cannabis penalties to lower class violations.
3) Police Chief on Advisory Council — the first person appointed to serve as “a member of the public” on the Advisory Council was Tuftonboro Chief of Police Andrew Shagoury. Chief Shagoury was one of the leading opponents of allowing patients access to cannabis, and his opposition to the interests of patients continues. The Legislature has since voted to give the police chiefs’ association its own spot on the council, but patients are afraid that yet another opponent will be appointed to represent the public. Patients will ask Governor Hassan to acknowledge public support for the states medical cannabis program and appoint a true public representative who will not actively advocate against the interest of the state’s patients.
2) No patient representative on Advisory Council — the first patient appointed to the Advisory Council has not attended a single meeting since its inception. Patients will ask Governor Hassan to appoint a qualifying patient who supports the state program and who is willing to attend meetings on behalf of state patient interests.
1) Home cultivation remains a felony – patients are well aware that if they lived in any of New Hampshire’s neighboring state’s they would be legally allowed to grow their own medicine. Patients will ask Governor Hassan to withdraw his opposition to allowing limited home cultivation by patients and caregivers.