Rules in place for medical marijuana dispensaries in NH
EPPING- In 2013, New Hampshire voters approved legalizing medical marijuana for therapeutic purposes. Since it passed, the state has been preparing to put rules and regulations in place. Some communities like the town of Epping have been discussing how they would regulate a facility.
Friday's deadline was for two things; to approve the rules, and also the day the Department of Health and Human Services was supposed approve to the first two alternative treatment centers. The deadline was only met for one of these areas.
The rules are in place, two sets of rules in fact. One deals with issuing ID cards to patients, the other, registration requirements for alternative treatment centers.
DHHS was also supposed to approve the first two alternative treatment centers Friday, that deadline for applications is delayed another week. Matt Simon is the New England Political Director for the Marijuana Policy Project.
"It's frustrating, patients are going to be criminals in the state of New Hampshire if they choose to use marijuana until they are issued ID cards," Simon said.
He says towns like Epping that have seen interest from those looking to open medical marijuana dispensaries should not be afraid of the opportunity, based on his experiences with dispensaries in other states.
"There's no good reason to oppose this based on the experiences of dispensaries in Maine and Vermont where they're well-regulated. They don't cause problems for their community in those states," Simon said.
The approved rules outline the cost for applicants. It will cost between 43-83 thousand dollars just to apply and register a location. It also requires background checks and the approval of local departments such as health, building, and fire.
Epping's planning board has already proposed an ordinance to ensure a dispensary follow state rules, and require they not be in a residential district or within one thousand feet of a school.
Simon says those looking to open a dispensary would have a better chance of getting state approval, if they already have the support of the host community. So far, he's not aware of any city or town who has openly welcomed a proposal.
The Epping Planning Board also decided to let voters in town help them decide where an alternative treatment center could possibly be located.
The new deadline for DHHS to approve the first two treatment centers has been moved to January 28th.
DHHS has the approved documents on their website.