New England is going green.
New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan signed a new medical marijuana bill into law on Tuesday making her state the 19th in the nation, and the last remaining one in New England, to permit doctors to prescribe pot to treat a host of illnesses.
‘‘Allowing doctors to provide relief to patients through the use of appropriately regulated and dispensed medical marijuana is the compassionate and right policy for the state of New Hampshire, and this legislation ensures that we approach this policy in the right way with measures to prevent abuse,’’ Hassan said in a statement.
Under the new law, New Hampshire residents diagnosed by a physician would be issued medical marijuana cards and be allowed to purchase up to 2 ounces of the drug from a nonprofit dispensary.
"This legislation is long overdue and comes as a relief to the many seriously ill patients throughout New Hampshire who will benefit from safe access to medical marijuana," Matt Simon, a New Hampshire-based legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a statement. "Those suffering from debilitating conditions like cancer and multiple sclerosis deserve legal, safe, and reliable access to medical marijuana."
Hasan successfully removed a provision that was in the initial bill that would have allowed patients to grow their own marijuana at home.
The vast majority of Americans recognize the medical benefits of marijuana and believe people with serious illnesses should have safe and legal access to it," Simon said. "We applaud our elected officials for enacting a law to protect patients, and we hope legislators in other states will follow suit."
Pennsylvania, New York, Illinois, Ohio and Minnesota are all considering similar legislation to legalize medical marijuana.