Letter: On marijuana law, the faster the better
Gov. Maggie Hassan has now signed New Hampshire’s “therapeutic use of cannabis” bill into law, but will patients actually be able to benefit from medical marijuana in the near future? I’m afraid the answer is no.
This is because Hassan chose to side with New Hampshire’s police chiefs on the issue of home cultivation. The provision was removed from the bill, and as a result it will probably be two or more years before any patient is able to access medical marijuana legally in our state.
This expected delay is upsetting to patients and their families. Many patients who asked for House Bill 573 are desperate for relief, and it is cruel to expect them to wait two years before they can follow their doctors’ advice, if they live that long.
The Legislature should correct this injustice in 2014 and pass a bill allowing patients to grow their own plants. If. Hassan will not sign it, legislators should override her veto.
Regardless of whether or not this happens, the state health department needs to implement this law as quickly as possible so patients can be protected from arrest and dispensaries can be registered as soon as possible. Currently, the department has up to 18 months before it must finalize its rules and begin registering the first dispensaries. There is no good reason it should take so long to get patients the relief they need!
Dr. GAIL H. DEVOID