CONCORD – A month after a judge ordered the state to issue a medical marijuana ID card to a dying New Hampshire woman before dispensaries open here, the state said it will also issue cards to the other qualified patients and caregivers.
More than 100 applications have been received so far, according to a state Department of Health and Human Services press release issued Tuesday.
Linda Horan of Alstead, who has terminal lung cancer and who traveled to Maine last Friday to purchase medical marijuana at a dispensary there, was unavailable for immediate comment.
But Attorney Paul Twomey, who has represented Horan for free during her lawsuit against Health and Human Services Commissioner Nicholas Toumpas to get her ID card before dispensaries open, said he was pleased with the state’s action.
“We’re extremely gratified by the fact that patients will finally get the medicine the Legislature said they were entitled to in 2013,” Twomey said.
“Our happiness is tempered by sadness that this medicine wasn’t available a year and a half ago as the Legislature intended,” Twomey said.
All of the people who went without the medicine they needed for 18 months can never be repaid for the pain and suffering they went through, Twomey said.
Twomey said Horan has been having trouble eating and is feeling weak.
Twomey hoped the medical marijuana she obtained at a Maine dispensary will help with the wasting she has been experiencing.
Horan argued successfully in Merrimack County Superior Court that she would suffer irreparable harm if she couldn’t get medical marijuana immediately.
The state Attorney General’s Office had argued that the state couldn’t issue her an ID card until the New Hampshire dispensaries open in the spring.
Rep. Renny Cushing, D-Hampton, who has helped Horan and traveled with her last week to Maine, said it’s the culmination of a process that started 15 years ago when the first medical marijuana bill was introduced in New Hampshire.
“The attorney general recognized the wisdom of Judge (Richard) McNamara’s decision and decided to give a nod to DHHS to start giving patients healthcare instead of treating them like criminals,” Cushing said.
New Hampshire patients will have to follow Maine’s rules to obtain therapeutic cannabis there, Cushing said. That includes having a doctor fill out a form sent to them from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.
The patient would then bring the signed doctor’s form, the New Hampshire medical marijuana ID card and a driver’s license to be able to obtain it at a Maine dispensary.
It is still unclear how long a patient would have to stay in Maine to be eligible to buy it as an out-of-state patient.
Toumpas issued the news release (see below) Tuesday saying that he looks forward to patients being able to access therapeutic cannabis in New Hampshire dispensaries that will open in the spring of 2016.
“We thank the Attorney General’s Office for its consultation,” Toumpas said in the release.
Registry identification cards will be issued by mail starting Monday, the news release stated.
The cards cannot be used to buy medical marijuana in New Hampshire until the Alternative Treatment Center selected by the patient opens, the release stated.
For Immediate Release
Public Information Office
December 22, 2015
NH DHHS to Begin Issuing Therapeutic Cannabis Cards
to All Qualifying Patients
CONCORD, NH – The NH Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), after
consultation with the NH Attorney General’s Office, announced that it will begin issuing therapeutic cannabis cards to qualifying patients. DHHS will provide registry identification cards to qualifying patients and caregivers before the State’s Alternative Treatment Centers (ATC) are operational.
“As we begin to issue registry identification cards to qualifying patients who want them, we look forward to those patients being able to access therapeutic cannabis at dispensaries in New Hampshire,” said DHHS Commissioner Nick Toumpas.
“The ATCs are moving quickly to open their dispensaries and we anticipate that the first dispensaries will open in Spring 2016. We thank the Attorney General’s Office for its consultation.”
Beginning Monday, December 28, 2015, registry identification cards will be issued by mail to qualifying patients and designated caregivers whose applications have been approved.
Registry identification cards issued to qualifying patients and designated caregivers cannot be used to purchase therapeutic cannabis in New Hampshire until the ATC dispensary selected by the qualifying patient opens.
Applications will be processed in the order received by DHHS. As of December 22, more than 100 applications have been received.
Applications for potentially qualifying patients and designated caregivers, medical provider certification and other important information can be found on the Therapeutic Cannabis Program page on the DHHS website at http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/oos/tcp/index.htm. This information is intended to
assist in correctly completing the required applications.