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New Hampshire: Legislature Moves To Add PTSD To Medical Marijuana List

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A bill introduced on Thursday in the New Hampshire Assembly would add post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of ailments eligible for medical marijuana authorizations. Medicinal cannabis was legalized in New Hampshire in 2013, but remains hard to get.

The proposed legislation comes as New Hampshire struggles with opioid and heroin addiction and an overdose crisis, reports Wilson Dizard at Al Jazeera. Medical marijuana advocates argue that safe access to cannabis would offer an alternative to people now using harsh narcotic painkillers or heroin.

Additionally, adding PTSD to the list of illnesses for which cannabis can be authorized could provide another option to those who haven't found relief with Big Pharma's anti-anxiety or antidepressant medications, according to advocates.

There's strong backing for both medical and recreational marijuana in the state, according to a University of New Hampshire poll last year.

Joe Lachance, the Republican Assemblyman who co-sponsored the PTSD bill, is one of just 62 medical marijuana cardholders in a state of 1.6 million people. A military veteran and former police officer, Lachance said he suffers from chronic pain and PTSD, which only marijuana has helped relieve. He said cannabis had also helped him kick an opiate habit.

New Hampshire: Supporters Of Marijuana Legalization Bill Hold Press Conference

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Bill sponsors joined by attorneys Paul Twomey and Jonathan Cohen, and Matt Simon of the Marijuana Policy Project, at event prior to House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee hearing on HB 618

Supporters of a bill to remove criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana in New Hampshire held a news conference at 1:30 p.m. ET in the lobby of the Legislative Office Building prior to a hearing on the bill by the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee.

The bill sponsor, Rep. Adam Schroadter (R-Newmarket), was be joined at the event by bill cosponsor Rep. Joe Lachance (R-Manchester), attorney Paul Twomey, attorney Jonathan Cohen, and Matt Simon of the Marijuana Policy Project.

The committee hearing followed, scheduled for 2:30 p.m. ET in Room 204 of the Legislative Office Building.

HB 618, sponsored by Rep. Schroadter and a bipartisan group of seven co-sponsors, would make possession of up to one ounce of marijuana punishable by a civil fine of up to $100. It would also make cultivation of up to six marijuana plants a Class A misdemeanor instead of a felony.

Currently, possession of any amount of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000. New Hampshire is the only state in New England that treats simple marijuana possession as a criminal offense with the potential for jail time.

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