New Hampshire governor rejects medical cannabis expansion bill

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New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu vetoed legislation that could have spurred medical marijuana sales by eliminating a health-care provider requirement.

The bill would have eliminated the requirement that a patient have at least a three-month relationship with a health-care provider before being certified to receive MMJ.

In nixing the medical cannabis bill, the Republican governor said he believed a strong provider-patient relationship is necessary to ensure proper treatment is given.

Despite that defeat, New Hampshire’s heavily regulated market is seeing some MMJ expansion as a result of other legislative measures enacted this year and in 2018.

Sununu recently signed two bills that will help expand the state’s MMJ market.

Here are details of those measures:

  • Physician assistants will be able to recommend medical cannabis to patients beginning Aug. 20.
  • Regulators can allow the state’s four medical marijuana operators to open a second dispensary in their geographic area. That measure, which takes effect Sept. 8, could potentially lead to New Hampshire having eight medical cannabis dispensaries.

Legislation enacted last year paved the way for MMJ operators in just the north and western geographic areas to open a second dispensary each.

One recently did, marking the state’s fifth MMJ dispensary overall.

The 2019 Marijuana Business Factbook projects that New Hampshire’s medical cannabis sales will reach $20 million-$25 million this year, up from an estimated $15 million-$20 million in 2018.

Roughly 8,000 patients are certified in the program.

– Associated Press and Marijuana Business Daily