The state of New Hampshire took a major step forward in July 2013 when Governor Maggie Hassan signed a medical marijuana bill into law. Although it was a start, it was widely regarded as one of the country’s strictest MMJ card laws. Patients can’t grow their own weed, and can only use it if they have a debilitating medical condition and have tried all other available treatment methods.
Attempts to legalize cannabis recreationally in New Hampshire have failed, but in September 2017, the herb was effectively decriminalized in the state as non-medical cardholders are no longer subject to criminal penalties for possession of up to ¾ of an ounce.
According to the state’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the New Hampshire medical marijuana program was only being used by just over 7,000 qualifying patients as at the end of November 2018. While there has been an expansion in the number of therapeutic cannabis dispensary locations in the state recently, it isn’t easy to attain an MMJ card as you are about to find out.
The Definitive Guide on How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in New Hampshire
First and foremost, you must be a resident of New Hampshire and aged 18+. You can only qualify if you have been diagnosed with one of the qualifying conditions outlined below by a licensed physician within the state. When applying for the card, you need to show proof of residency which can be in the form of a New Hampshire I.D., passport, bank statement, utility bill, out of state I.D., or another photo I.D.
Step 1 – Visit a Physician for Approval
Any physician or advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) who is licensed in New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, or Maine, is allowed to issue you with a Written Certification for the therapeutic use of marijuana. At the time of writing, the state’s medical weed law does NOT require medical professionals to get involved in the program, nor are they legally required to provide you with a Written Certification.
The Program does not keep a list of marijuana-friendly physicians, nor does it recommend or refer patients to any physician. In other words, you may have to try out a few doctors before having success. Where New Hampshire differs from so many other MMJ programs is that you need a ‘provider-patient’ relationship for at least three months.
During this period, the doctor must perform a full assessment of your medical history and medical condition including a physical exam. It is unlikely that a physician will recommend you for medical marijuana unless you have one of the qualifying conditions AND have proof that you tried several other treatment options first.
The three-month relationship rule can be waived if the qualifying condition happened within the last three months or if the certifying doctor is mainly responsible for care related to the qualifying medical condition.
Step 2 – Complete the Application
You can only complete the application when you have a physician’s approval. Your doctor will register you with the state’s MMJ Program as a qualifying patient. Next, your physician will return the Written Certification form when it is completed. You are not supposed to let your provider return the Certification form to the DHHS. For minors, two forms must be completed by two different providers, one of whom must be a pediatrician.
Patients must send in the form within 60 days of the date of the Certification or else the application is deemed incomplete.
Step 3 – Take a Digital Photograph of Your Face
You need this photo for the Registry Identification Card. Ideally, you will have a passport photo taken, but you can take a chance and use your own digital camera. Make sure the digital picture is in .jpg format and supplied on a compact disc labeled with your name and date of birth.
Step 4 – Send Your Application & Make the Payment
Enclose a money order or check for $50 to the Treasurer, State of New Hampshire. All payments are non-refundable. Mail or hand-deliver your application to the Therapeutic Cannabis Program at the state’s DHHS location in Concord. Once the application is received and you are approved, it normally takes five business days for your MMJ card to arrive in the mail.
Overall, the application process takes approximately 20 days from the date you complete and send the application to when you receive your card. As well as containing your name, address, date of birth and photo, the MMJ card will consist of a random 10-digit registration number.
What are the Qualifying Conditions Required to get a Medical Marijuana Card in New Hampshire?
In New Hampshire, you are only likely to be approved if you have a debilitating, severe, or life-threatening condition. According to House Bill 573, you need to have one of the following medical conditions to qualify for a medical marijuana card:
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Crohn’s Disease
- Intractable Pain
- Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Spinal Cord Injury or Disease
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Chronic Pancreatitis
- Hepatitis C
What is the New Hampshire Medical Cannabis Card Costs?
Aside from the $50 application fee, you are charged a $25 fee for lost valid cards, $50 for renewal, and a failure to tell the Program about a name or address change could result in a fine of $150. Physician’s fees vary, but you can expect to pay up to $150 for an initial consultation, followed by $75 per follow-up visit which usually happens at 3-6-month intervals; although it is at the physician’s discretion.
Other Important Information on the New Hampshire Medical Marijuana License Process
The MMJ card lasts for a year and must be renewed in advance by filling in the requisite forms. Home cultivation is not allowed, and a qualified patient can purchase a maximum of two ounces during a 10-day period. You are not allowed to have more than two ounces in your possession at any one time.
During your initial application, you must select an Alternative Treatment Center (ATC) and can only purchase marijuana from the ATC you select. If you wish to change your ATC, you need to complete a ‘Change of Information/Lost Card’ form and submit it to the Program.
At the time of writing, there are only four dispensaries in the state, although the DHHS announced plans to add two more in the near future. At present, there are dispensaries in Dover, Lebanon, Plymouth, and Merrimack.
MMJ patients in New Hampshire are allowed to designate a caregiver who must submit a special form to be approved by the program. This individual must be at least 21 years of age. They will receive a Registry Identification Card which allows them to assist you with your medical use of marijuana. Your caregiver must not have a felony on their criminal record and can receive compensation for actual costs but not labor or time.
If you lose your card, you must tell the Program in writing within 10 days of discovering that your card is lost. Submit a ‘Change of Information/Lost Card’ form along with a money order or check for $25. The Program will provide you with a new card which also includes a new 10-digit I.D. number.