Therapeutic Cannabis Program
July 8, 2016
Effective June 10, 2016, physicians and advanced practice registered nurses licensed in the states of Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont are permitted under New Hampshire state law [RSA 126-X:I, VII(a)(3)] to issue a “Written Certification for the Therapeutic Use of Cannabis” to their patients who are residents of New Hampshire. If approved, these patients will be allowed to participate in New Hampshire’s Therapeutic Cannabis Program.
In addition to meeting all other applicable requirements in NH law and NH administrative rule, certifying medical providers in Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont must be primarily responsible for the patient’s care related to his or her qualifying medical condition.
Both the Written Certification Addendum and the Written Certification for the Therapeutic Use of Cannabis must be completed by certifying medical providers in those states that border New Hampshire.
On Monday, December 28, 2015, the Department began to issue Registry Identification Cards by mail to Qualifying Patients and Designated Caregivers whose applications have been approved. Applications are being processed in the order received by the Therapeutic Cannabis Program. The Program's deadlines for notifying applicants of missing information, for approving or denying an application, and for issuing cards will now apply.
Registry Identification Cards issued to Qualifying Patients and Designated Caregivers cannot be used to purchase therapeutic cannabis in New Hampshire until the Alternative Treatment Center (ATC) dispensary selected by the Qualifying Patient opens. The ATC dispensaries are expected to open in Spring 2016.
Qualifying Patients and Designated Caregivers have a personal responsibility to maintain the integrity of the Therapeutic Cannabis Program by preventing the diversion of their therapeutic cannabis. The Program strongly advises all patients and caregivers to:
- Keep cannabis in a locked container in the trunk or cargo portion of the vehicle when transporting cannabis.
- Have their registry identification card with them when in possession of cannabis.
- Store cannabis in a locked box at home.
Purpose and Mission
In June 2013 the New Hampshire Legislature passed House Bill 573 (Chapter 242 of the Laws of 2013), relative to the use of cannabis for therapeutic purposes. Governor Maggie Hassan signed HB 573 (RSA 126-X) into law effective July 23, 2013. RSA 126-X creates an exemption in state law from criminal penalties for the therapeutic use of cannabis provided that its use is in compliance with RSA 126-X. The NH Legislature placed the responsibility for administering the program within the NH Department of Health and Human Services. The Department's primary responsibilities include:
- Maintaining a registry of, and issuing registry identification cards to, eligible qualifying patients who have been certified by their medical provider to have a qualifying medical condition and associated symptoms;
- Issuing registry identification cards to designated caregivers who are authorized to assist qualifying patients with the therapeutic use of cannabis; and
- Issuing registration certificates to a maximum of four alternative treatment centers in the state for the cultivation, production, and dispensing of cannabis to qualifying patients, or their designated caregivers.