Marijuana is Legal▼
House Bill 573 was signed into law in July 2013. The bill ordered the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services to create and oversee a licensing system for registering cardholders, caregivers, providers, and producers in the use of therapeutic cannabis. The regulatory system would allow as many as four alternative medical centers (ATC), or dispensaries, to operate in the state.
For cardholders with limited access due to health or mobility complications, the bill authorizes individuals age 21 and older to register as a caregiver to as many as five cardholders. This was later expanded to include as many as nine cardholders per caregiver, provided each cardholder resides over 50 miles from the nearest alternative medical center.
Though the law was put in place in 2013, applications for medical centers, cardholders, providers, and caregivers were not made available until nearly two years later. In part due to licensing questions with the New Hampshire Attorney General, New Hampshire did not begin issuing licenses to cardholders until December of 2015.
Alternative medical centers did not open their doors until late-April 2016, nearly three years after the Use of Cannabis for Therapeutic Purposes Act was signed into law. In those thirty-four months, the Department of Health and Human Services created a network of regulations that would govern the entire program.
Purchase and Possession Limits▼
Out-of-state cardholders with a valid recommendation and registration card may possess and use marijuana under the rules of New Hampshire medical cannabis program. Visiting cardholders may not purchase cannabis from any dispensary or cardholder.
New Hampshire allows cardholders or their registered caregiver to purchase as much as two ounces of cannabis or cannabis-infused products (such as edibles, oils, or lotions) every ten days. This translates to roughly five ounces per month. At any one time, a cardholder or their caregiver may possess a total of two ounces.
Cardholders are protected from criminal penalties for possession or use as long as they have their registration ID and they are not in possession of more than two ounces. Any non-registered individual caught with marijuana or marijuana-infused products may be fined up to $100.
If a valid cardholder or caregiver is caught in possession of more than the two-ounce limit, they are subject to misdemeanor charges, including as much as one year in jail.
Growing Marijuana at Home▼
Registered cardholders and caregivers are currently unable to cultivate marijuana on their property. Instead, the cardholder must purchase cannabis from an alternative medical center. The center is authorized to cultivate up to three mature plants, have up to twelve seedlings, and possess no more than six ounces of marijuana per cardholder.
The state currently prohibits the cultivation of cannabis except by licensed medical centers. Since the state only allows four alternative medical centers to be licensed at any time, cardholders and caregivers could benefit from expanded access.
Individuals caught growing marijuana are subject to the penalties by weight of marijuana in their possession. If an individual is caught with above the allowable cardholder or caregiver limits, they are subject to fines up to $350 and misdemeanor charges.
Marijuana and Driving▼
Driving While Intoxicated
Under no circumstance does the Use of Cannabis for Therapeutic Purposes Act allow the operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana. This includes the operation of any car, commercial vehicle, boat, vessel, or any other transportation that uses an external power source.
Any person thought to be intoxicated by cannabis, whether a valid cardholder or not, is subject to the same fines and legal penalties. This includes $500 fines at the minimum and nine months with a suspended driving license. Penalties for driving while intoxicated increase to include jail time and, on the fourth offense, become felony-level criminal charges.
Driving While in Possession of Marijuana
Registered cardholders, caregivers, and alternative medical center agents may all transport cannabis or cannabis products under certain circumstances. cardholders and caregivers may possess up to the two-ounce limit. Remember, you cannot be under the influence of cannabis while driving. The consumption of medical cannabis products is best left for at home.