Consequences of Getting a Medical Card in New Hampshire

  1. New Hampshire Cannabis
  2. New Hampshire Medical Marijuana Card
  3. Consequences of Having a MMJ Card in New Hampshire

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Benefits of Having a Medical Marijuana Card in New Hampshire

Having a New Hampshire medical marijuana card gives the cardholder the following benefits:

Legal Protection

New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated (RSA), Section 126-X:2, protects medical marijuana cardholders from prosecution under state or local laws for possessing, using, or purchasing state-approved limits of therapeutic (medical) cannabis. While the cultivation of marijuana by cannabis patients is currently not allowed, House Bill 431, a bill to permit personal cultivation of marijuana, passed in the House in March 2023. If enacted, New Hampshire medical marijuana cardholders will be protected under state law for growing their own marijuana and will not be subject to prosecution for doing so.

Medical marijuana patients in New Hampshire must hold their cannabis registry cards when in possession of marijuana products to avoid arrest by law enforcement. It may also help to carry a valid government-issued photo ID for identification. A person may be arrested for marijuana possession for failure to identify themself as a registered patient in the New Hampshire Therapeutic Cannabis Program. It is considered a civil violation.

Access for Minors

New Hampshire medical marijuana law permits patients with debilitating qualifying medical conditions to access medical cannabis. However, their parents or legal guardians must serve as caregivers for them and be responsible for their healthcare decisions.

Reciprocity

Although the state has no reciprocity agreement with other states, New Hampshire medical marijuana cards can be used to purchase medical cannabis in several states with established Medical Marijuana Programs. These include Nevada, Maine, Rhode Island, Michigan, Illinois, Washington DC, Montana, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Ohio, California, Alaska, Hawaii, and Minnesota. It is best to contact the medical marijuana programs in other states to confirm if they permit New Hampshire cannabis registry cards at their licensed dispensaries when planning a visit.

Downsides of Getting a Medical Marijuana Card in New Hampshire

The downsides of obtaining a medical cannabis card in New Hampshire include the following:

Firearm Prohibition

Having a cannabis registry card (medical cannabis card) and a firearm simultaneously in New Hampshire is prohibited. Although no specific state legislation addresses gun ownership by medical marijuana users, New Hampshire's medical cannabis law does not exempt a person from prosecution for federal crimes. Under federal law (Gun Control Act of 1968), it is illegal for a marijuana user to own or possess a firearm.

Driving Restrictions

Although New Hampshire has no legal limit for blood THC concentrations, medical marijuana patients driving while impaired (DWI) with cannabis in the state is unlawful. Even if the evidence of impairment from marijuana is weak, a law enforcement officer who has reasons to believe that a driver recently consumed cannabis may charge a DWI and allow the courts to sort it. Generally, having a medical marijuana card in New Hampshire is not a ticket to drive stoned. Operating a motor vehicle while impaired by any substance, including medical marijuana, remains illegal under state law.

Anyone who holds a New Hampshire cannabis registry ID cannot apply for or have a Commercial Driver's License (CDL). Marijuana is considered a controlled drug at the federal level, and the New Hampshire Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will not accept an application for a CDL from medical marijuana patients.

Annual Renewal

While a New Hampshire medical marijuana card can stay valid for any duration, up to 3 years (at the certifying medical provider's discretion), renewing it can be very inconvenient. If there is a change in a cannabis patient's address, the patient must provide a new proof of residency in New Hampshire with their renewal application. If a renewal application is incomplete and the patient cannot provide the missing documentation/information within 6 months of notice, the application will be closed. In that case, the patient will need to reapply and submit all required information/documents and another fee.

Medical marijuana cardholders in New Hampshire are usually required to submit their renewal applications at least 30 days before expiration. However, before submission, a patient must see their medical provider 2 or 3 months before their card becomes invalid and have them issue a written certification for their card renewal. The meeting can be in person or via telehealth, and the certifying healthcare providers will charge some consultation fees. The patient must also pay an annual renewal fee of $50.

Employment Restrictions

New Hampshire's medical marijuana law does not explicitly protect medical cannabis patients from workplace discrimination. The New Hampshire RSA, Section 126-X:3, does not require employers to provide accommodation for the therapeutic use of marijuana on the premises of places of employment. Under this provision, employers have the right to discipline employees for consuming marijuana in the workplace or for working while under the influence of marijuana. However, in 2022, the New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled in the Scott Paine v. Ride-Away Inc. case that registered medical cannabis patients in the state be given reasonable accommodations at their place of employment. One such reasonable accommodation is exempting them from drug testing policy, provided they do not consume cannabis on the workplace premises.

While a New Hampshire medical marijuana card will not show up on a background check conducted at the state level, the chances that it will, if requested by a federal employer, are high. Hence, it is not likely that a registered medical cannabis patient can get a federal appointment within the state's borders.

Federal Prohibitions

New Hampshire medical marijuana cardholders seeking federal employment in the state are not likely to get them. This is because federal agencies, regardless of their locations in the United States, operate by the dictates of federal laws. Since marijuana is considered a controlled substance and, as such, remains illegal under federal law, applying for a federal job in New Hampshire as a medical cannabis patient is unlawful. The appointment of a federal employee in the state who obtains a registry ID may be terminated if caught.

Generally, federal law prohibits the use or possession of marijuana on federal property, regardless of their location. Hence, anyone who lives in a federally subsidized home in New Hampshire cannot lawfully consume medical cannabis in such an apartment. Doing so is a federal offense punishable by severe penalties.

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