New Hampshire: Judge Orders Health Dept. To Issue Medical Marijuana Card To Terminal Cancer Patient
With an ID card, Linda Horan will be able to obtain medical marijuana legally in Maine and use it without fear of arrest in New Hampshire; Horan sued DHHS after it refused to issue ID cards until dispensaries open next year
A Merrimack County Superior Court Judge on Tuesday ordered the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to issue a medical marijuana ID card to a woman with terminal cancer in order to expedite her access to medical marijuana.
Linda Horan of Alstead filed a lawsuit against DHHS Commissioner Nicholas Toumpas earlier this month, asking the agency to immediately issue her a medical marijuana ID card so that she can begin obtaining medical marijuana legally in Maine and using it without fear of arrest in New Hampshire.
DHHS is responsible for administrating the state’s medical marijuana program, which has experienced several delays since Gov. Maggie Hassan signed it into law in July 2013. The agency began accepting applications from patients interested in participating in the program, but patients remain at risk of arrest and prosecution until they receive program ID cards. DHHS is refusing to issue ID cards until dispensaries open, which is not expected until 2016.
Horan, who suffers from stage IV lung cancer, filed an application with DHHS after receiving approval from all five of her physicians.
“We are extremely grateful to Judge McNamara for directing the state to follow the law and not deprive critically ill patients of medicine," said Horan's attorney, Paul Twomey. "The Department of Health and Human Services has been extremely helpful and compassionate throughout this process, and we fully expect them to process Linda’s application expeditiously so that she might travel to Maine to obtain her medicine. We hope that the rest of state government will benefit from this case and start to work to heal and not hinder patients.
“The current law does not provide anything like adequate access to medical care, especially in the North Country where extremely ill patients must travel for hours and hours to reach the nearest treatment center," Twomey sasid. "There are simple solutions to access problems if the government can manage to deal with this as a health problem. We must let our doctors make decisions about health care.
“I would like to express my gratitude to the Marijuana Policy Project for its invaluable assistance that made it possible for Linda Horan to receive the medical treatment she needs and deserves," Twomey said. "Quite simply, we would not have been able to bring this lawsuit without their help.
“Linda is a hero," Twomey said. "Facing death, she has chosen to fight for the rights of all the critically ill patients in New Hampshire, who should not have to fear arrest because they are sick. She may be dying, but we all owe her our thanks for showing us how to live.”
The lawsuit is available at http://mpp.org/HoranLawsuit.
For more information on the Marijuana Policy Project, visit http://www.MarijuanaPolicy.org.
Photo of Linda Horan: InDepthNH