New Hampshire Governor Allows Those With Opioid Addiction & Out Of State Patients To Access Medical Cannabis

New Hampshire Governor Allows Those With Opioid Addiction & Out Of State Patients To Access Medical Cannabis

On Tuesday, August 10, New Hampshire Governor, Chris Sununu approved a bill that adds opioid use disorder as a qualifying condition for the state’s medical-marijuana program, and also allows out-of-state patients access to dispensaries. The bill was one of 30 pieces of legislation that Gov. Sununu signed into law last Tuesday. While advocates rejoiced the move, they pointed out some restrictions for both residents with opioid use disorder and visiting patients.

To qualify for medical marijuana for an opioid disorder, a patient must have a recommendation from a board-certified addiction medicine or addiction psychiatry provider who’s “actively treating the patient” for that condition. They must also present with opioid withdrawal symptoms or cravings. For out-of-state patients, they must have qualified for medical marijuana in their jurisdiction and show proof of a valid recommendation.

It would be up to the state Department of Health and Human Services to develop rules for dispensaries to verify visiting patients’ eligibility. This is a great step in the right direction for treating people with addiction. It’ll be interesting to see how taking a few hits of the bong affects the mind of someone battling opioid addiction. 

There’s also a provision of the new law stating that those visiting the state could not acquire marijuana from a dispensary “more than three times in a 12-month period,” unless they provide a statement from their health provider affirming that they have a condition that qualifies a person for medical marijuana under New Hampshire statute. The director of public and government relations at Prime Alternative Treatment Centers of New Hampshire revealed to Marijuana Moment, that the governor’s signing the bill “is an important step forward for the therapeutic cannabis program in two ways.” He said, “First, patients who visit New Hampshire to spend time with their family or to enjoy the lakes and mountains should not have to worry about how they will obtain safe, legal access to cannabis.” 

He concluded, “Second, the inclusion of opioid use disorder provides addiction specialists with an important tool that can help patients mitigate their withdrawal symptoms and stay off opioids. We are grateful to legislators and Gov. Sununu for making the therapeutic cannabis program more accessible to patients.” Although this action is viewed as a welcome step for New Hampshire’s medical marijuana program, advocates are still displeased that the GOP-led legislature has stalled on recreational cannabis use. Three in four residents support the progressive reform, according to recent polls, but lawmakers have failed to enact a policy change.

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