Sparking up support: N.H. poised to expand medical marijuana laws

Sparking up support: N.H. poised to expand medical marijuana laws

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Heather Marie Brown attends a "420" pro-marijuana legalization rally outside the State House in Concord on Thursday, April 20, 2017. Brown suffers from chronic pain and PTSD. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Marijuana legalization supporters attend a “4/20” rally outside the State House in Concord on Thursday. Rick Naya, 55, a longtime Concord resident originally from Palm Beach, Fla., smokes a joint during a “4/20” pro-marijuana legalization rally outside the State House in Concord on Thursday. Heather Marie Brown attends a “4/20” rally on Thursday. Brown suffers from chronic pain and PTSD. The New Hampshire Legislature is poised to vastly expand the state’s medicinal marijuana laws by giving patients with chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder access to the drug. Proponents hope the move will help curb the state’s opioid crisis by giving patients an alternative to powerful, addictive prescription painkillers. “We heard, in fact, people who had been addicted to opioids because of chronic pain were now no longer addicted because of therapeutic cannabis,” said Sen. Martha Hennessey, a Hanover Democrat. New Hampshire legalized medical marijuana in 2013 and since then lawmakers have debated expanding its use to include more qualifying conditions. The state Senate on Thursday approved therapeutic cannabis for chronic pain in an 18-5 vote, but sent a bill allowing it for PTSD back to committee for more work. Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley said members hope to combine five separate bills expanding medical marijuana into one and pass that. Cannabis tends to be a thorny topic in the State House. While Maine and Massachusetts opted recently to legalize pot, New Hampshire is the only state in New England that has yet to decriminalize small amounts of the drug. A bill making its way through the State House would reduce penalties for first-time possession. But the […]

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