New Hampshire's approach to cannabis laws has undergone significant changes, transitioning from strict prohibition to accommodating both medical and decriminalized recreational marijuana use. While the regulatory landscape may seem complex, let's explore New Hampshire cannabis laws.
We'll delve into possession regulations, cultivation guidelines, penalties, and the processes surrounding the statewide distribution and acquisition of medical marijuana. Let's unravel the evolving cannabis terrain in New Hampshire.
Table of Contents
Is Cannabis Legal in New Hampshire?
New Hampshire Cannabis Laws
How the Legal Sale of Cannabis Happens
Penalties for Marijuana-Related Crimes
Where to Buy Cannabis Online
- Cannabis is legal for medical use in New Hampshire.
- Registered medical card holders can possess up to two ounces of cannabis.
- There are penalties for recreational use or for medical users possessing more than the allowable amount of cannabis, for unlicensed sales, and for consuming in public spaces.
Is Cannabis Legal in New Hampshire?
In New Hampshire, medical marijuana is legal, but recreational cannabis remains illegal, although decriminalized. The state hasn't legalized recreational use due to concerns over public safety. Medical cannabis was legalized in 2013 through House Bill 537, allowing certain qualifying conditions for patient eligibility. While decriminalized in 2017 for small amounts, possessing over 3/4 of an ounce remains a criminal offense, with repeat offenses risking criminal charges.
Regulations for Medical Use
A registered New Hampshire medical marijuana cardholder is subject to the following regulations:
- Valid registry ID card required for patients
- Possession limited to two ounces of "unusable cannabis"
- Cannabis must be acquired from regulated dispensaries
- Legal protection extends to the patient and a designated caregiver
- Not all illnesses covered for medical cannabis prescription as in other states
- Presumption of lawful therapeutic use for possession of two ounces or less, contingent on medical purpose; not protected for recreational use, selling, or sharing without prescription
- State medical laws don't shield individuals from federal prosecution
- Federal law prohibits marijuana possession despite state approvals; federal prosecutors often overlook small-scale possession
Qualifying Conditions for Medical Cannabis in New Hampshire
According to HB 537, individuals diagnosed with severe symptoms related to specific debilitating medical conditions are eligible to use medical marijuana in New Hampshire. These conditions include:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Crohn's disease
- Traumatic brain injury
- Muscular dystrophy
- Spinal cord disease or injury
- Chronic pancreatitis
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Alzheimer's disease
- Hepatitis C (if currently undergoing antiviral treatment)
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Chronic pain
- Wasting syndrome
Restrictions for Cannabis Use in New Hampshire
In New Hampshire, cannabis is legal for medical use. However, there are regulations imposed on cannabis use:
- Recreational cannabis remains illegal in New Hampshire
- Medical marijuana possession limited to 2 ounces within a 10-day period; 5 grams of concentrate allowed
- Personal cultivation of cannabis prohibited
- Employers not mandated to accommodate medical cannabis without written consent
- Restricted consumption to private residences; prohibited in public spaces and areas near parks or schools
- Illegal to use marijuana paraphernalia for medicinal cannabis
- Driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal; punishable offense
- Possession of more than 3/4 ounce of marijuana is punishable, despite decriminalization
- Purchase limited to state-licensed dispensaries with a medical marijuana registry card
- Cannabis use prohibited in federal lands or buildings within the state
New Hampshire Cannabis Laws
- Medical Marijuana Legalization (HB 537): Legalized medical cannabis with strict qualifying conditions, set limits on possession, and established regulations for state medical marijuana cards.
HB 89: Added moderate to severe insomnia and autism spectrum disorder as qualifying conditions for medical marijuana use.
HB 605: Included opioid use disorder as a qualifying condition for medical cannabis use and initiated the reciprocity program allowing out-of-state medical cannabis patients to buy up to 2 ounces of cannabis flower in New Hampshire.
- Recreational Legalization Attempts: Several bills have been introduced to legalize recreational cannabis:
HB 629: Proposed allowing certain cannabis-infused products and home cultivation of up to six marijuana plants but failed to pass in April 2022.
HB 1598: Aimed to establish state monopoly on cannabis sales for adults but didn’t pass the Senate Judiciary Committee.
HB 1348: Sought to legalize possession and home cultivation for adults 21 and over, didn’t pass and would have removed penalties for specific amounts of hashish, cannabis, and plants.
How Cannabis is Bought and Sold in New Hampshire
In New Hampshire, House Bill 537 legalized medical marijuana sales, overseen by the Department of Health and Human Services. The Therapeutic Cannabis Program manages this, issuing ID cards to eligible patients and caregivers. These cards allow purchase from licensed dispensaries. Patients can possess up to 2 ounces within a 10-day span, including concentrates. Possession of paraphernalia is illegal, considered a misdemeanor, and delivery of medical cannabis is restricted to registered dispensaries.
Penalties for Marijuana-related Crimes in New Hampshire
Cannabis is legal within the specified possession limits for medical card holders. Otherwise, here are the penalties related to marijuana offenses in New Hampshire:
- Possession of less than ¾ ounce of marijuana is a violation, punishable by a $100 fine for first and second offenses.
- Third offense within 3 years incurs a $300 fine.
- Fourth offense within three years is a Class B misdemeanor with a $1200 fine.
- Possession of over 3/4 ounce is a misdemeanor with a maximum 1-year imprisonment and a $350 fine.
- Sale of less than 1 ounce for a first offense is a felony with a maximum 3-year imprisonment and a $25,000 fine.
- Sale within 1,000 feet of a school zone doubles the sentence and fine.
- Sale of 5 pounds or more is a felony with a maximum 20-year imprisonment and a $300,000 fine.
- Penalties based on the aggregate weight of plants found.
Hash & Concentrates:
- Possession of less than 5 grams is a violation, with fines ranging from $100 to $1200 for subsequent offenses.
- Possession of more than 5 grams is a misdemeanor with a maximum 1-year imprisonment and a $350 fine.
- Sale penalties vary based on the quantity, from felony charges to imprisonment and fines up to $500,000.
- Sale or possession of paraphernalia is a misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum 1-year imprisonment and a $2,000 fine.
- Negligent storage causing possession by a minor is a misdemeanor.
- Penalties for individuals under 21 include driver's license revocation or denial for drug-related convictions.
These penalties vary based on the offense, from fines for violations to imprisonment and significant fines for felonies.
Legal Cannabis and Buy Online Alternatives
Although cannabis is legal in many states, hemp-derived THC products are still rising as a noteworthy alternative thanks to their affordability and accessibility. Hemp-derived THC products are federally legal, unlike traditional marijuana products, meaning they can often be ordered online and shipped right to your door.
Read “Is Delta-8 Legal? A State by State Guide to Delta-8-THC Laws” to learn more about hemp THC laws near you, then check out our Elev8 and Cloud9 Collections.