Only medical marijuana is legalized in New Hampshire. On July 23, 2013, House Bill 573 (RSA 126-X) was signed into effect, allowing the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes by individuals suffering from a qualifying health condition. Along with the Therapeutic Cannabis Program, New Hampshire has decriminalized marijuana for nominal possession. It is the 19th state to legalize a medical cannabis program, but it is the last state in New England to do so.
There have been hopeful developments over the last year that continue to push New Hampshire’s legal marijuana threshold. In February 2020, the House Bill HB 1648 was introduced, which would legalize limited home cultivation and subsequent possession (similar to Vermont’s laws). However, the Senate used Covid-19 to place the bill on hold until at least 2021. Because of this, and since access to the current Therapeutic Cannabis Program is limited to a small portion of the population, understanding the current laws is extremely important to ensure you’re using marijuana safely (and legally) when in New Hampshire.
Because marijuana is only legal through the Therapeutic Cannabis Program, there are not many dispensaries in New Hampshire. If you are part of the program, there currently only five dispensaries (officially labeled as Alternative Treatment Centers) throughout the state from which you can buy medical marijuana.
When applying to become a Therapeutic Cannabis Program patient, you are required to select which Alternative Treatment Center (ATC) you will be purchasing from. There is an available ATC in Dover, Merrimack, Conway, Plymouth, and Lebanon. While they all offer online ordering, delivery currently is not an option – either a registered caregiver or patient must pick up products in person at their designated ATC.
Because of the limited nature of New Hampshire’s current medical marijuana laws and strict control the state imposes, marijuana delivery services are currently unavailable.
Each of the five stores has varying hours and days of operation. These times are subject to change, especially during Covid-19 and continued lockdown initiatives.
Plymouth: Tuesday – Saturday: 11:00 – 7:00pm; Sunday: 12:00 – 4:00pm
Conway: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday: 11:00 – 7:00pm
Dover: Monday, Wednesday – Friday: 11:00 – 5:30pm; Saturday: 10:00 – 2:00pm
Lebanon: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 11:00 – 5:30pm; Saturday: 10:00 – 5:00pm
Merrimack: Monday – Saturday: 10:00 – 5:00pm (7:00 on Wednesday)
Patients of the Therapeutic Cannabis Program (or their registered caregivers) can purchase up to 2 ounces of usable cannabis over the course of a 10-day period. There are currently no restrictions based on cannabis type (i.e. concentrates vs flower).
While there are only five Alternative Treatment Centers, each shop is stacked with a variety of different options. Each store offers flower (with a variety of CBD & THC dominant strains), pre-rolls, vape pens, concentrates (kief, rosin, cold brew), capsules, tinctures, oral sprays, and an array of edibles (lozenges, gummies, cookies, chocolate bars, coconut butter, drink mixes). Additionally, most of the shops have smoking accessories available that range from expensive glass pipes and bongs to simple vapes and chillums.
There are currently no taxes to discuss because of the legal status of recreational marijuana in New Hampshire. We will keep this section updated as the state hopefully continues to push for more progressive marijuana laws.
New Hampshire is one of five states that does not have a sales tax. Because of this, cannabis is not subject to any sales or excise tax. While other states usually have considerably higher taxes for the purchase of marijuana, New Hampshire does not have any taxes applied to its purchase.
In concurrence with how much a patient of the therapeutic cannabis program can purchase within a ten-day period, someone with a medical marijuana ID can legally possess up to two ounces of marijuana at a time. However, it is illegal to possess any form of marijuana in law enforcement facilities, public recreational centers, near schools and other “drug-free zones.” While recreational marijuana is still illegal, it was decriminalized in 2017 which means less severe penalties for nominal illegal possession. The current penalties for possession of non-medical marijuana without intent to sell are as follows:
If you are found to illegally possess marijuana in the act of selling (or with the intent to sell), the penalties drastically increase and are as follows:
Do note that decriminalization does not mean that it’s legal – it simply means there are less severe charges. That being said, second and third charges, especially concerning the illegal sale of marijuana, are exponentially higher than what is listed above.
Since recreational marijuana is still illegal in New Hampshire, there is nowhere you can use it without breaking the law. Additionally, while medical marijuana is legal for registered patients of the Therapeutic Cannabis Program, that doesn’t mean it is free to be used everywhere (including all public places). Below is an outline of places you can and cannot use marijuana.
Areas in New Hampshire that DO NOT allow the use of marijuana:
Areas in New Hampshire that DO allow the use of marijuana:
Like in every other state, using marijuana on federal lands is illegal. Even if you have a medical ID card and are registered with the Therapeutic Cannabis Program, because marijuana is federally legal, you cannot legally use it on federal land. Places like White Mountain National Forest, Nottingcook Forest, Madame Sherri Forest, and the Appalachian trail are all subject to federal law and therefore do not allow marijuana of any kind (even medical) to be used within their vicinities.
The Therapeutic Cannabis Program allows individuals with certain qualifying medical conditions to apply for patient status. The qualifying medical conditions are currently limited to: moderate or severe chronic pain, PTSD, cancer, glaucoma, HIV, immune deficiency syndrome, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, Chron’s disease, MS, chronic pancreatitis, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, lupus, epilepsy, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, and ulcerative colitis. Additional consideration may also be given to individuals suffering from: wasting syndrome, intraocular pressure, chemotherapy-induced anorexia, constant or severe nausea, vomiting, seizures, and muscle spasms.
If you suffer from one of the qualifying medical conditions listed above, you can apply to become a patient of the Therapeutic Cannabis Program. There are four simple steps to submitting your application for patient status:
The application, subsequent documents and fees must be either mailed or hand-delivered to the following address:
NH Department of Health and Human Services
Therapeutic Cannabis Program
29 Hazen Drive
Concord, NH 03301
The application may take upward of three weeks to process; the program will provide approval or denial within 15 days of receipt; the program will issue a Registry Identification Card within 5 days of an approved application. If you need more assistance in filing for patient status, the five New Hampshire Alternative Treatment Centers also offer plenty of advice and assistance in obtaining a medical marijuana card.
Individuals with registered out-of-state medical cannabis cards are able to bring prescribed marijuana products into New Hampshire. They must have documentation to legally do so, but may also use any marijuana they have brought with them. However, out-of-state patients cannot buy new marijuana from New Hampshire Alternative Treatment Centers.
Anyone not registered as a patient or caregiver through the Therapeutic Cannabis Program cannot legally drive with cannabis in their vehicle – it is considered possession and will face prosecution as listed above. Individuals covered by the Therapeutic Cannabis Program, or out of state individuals registered with their own state’s medical cannabis program, can legally drive with up to 2 ounces of marijuana products in their possession. Individuals cannot legally drive under the influence of medical cannabis, nor can they transport open containers. It is safest to drive with medical marijuana stored in a sealed container in the trunk or glove compartment.
It is illegal to drive under the influence of any controlled drug in the state of New Hampshire. A DUI will be issued if any drug, including marijuana, is found to have been the cause of clear impairment. Unlike other states, which normally have a legal THC limit or a “no tolerance” policy, New Hampshire has not set any legal limit for THC. This means that legal action will be taken on an individual basis and primarily consider the driver’s current impairment and blood levels. That being said, it is never smart to drive while under the influence – marijuana should be treated like any other substance that clearly impairs motor abilities. It is also important to note that these laws apply even if you’re using legal medical marijuana – there are no exceptions.
New Hampshire is surrounded by states with legalized recreational marijuana: Vermont to the west, Maine to the east, and Massachusetts to the south. While it’s legal to purchase recreational marijuana in any of these states, it is illegal to cross the border into New Hampshire with any recreational marijuana. However, it is legal to cross the border into New Hampshire with legally obtained medical marijuana, so long as you have documentation to prove patient status.
At this time, growing marijuana in New Hampshire is illegal and considered a felony offense. However, several attempts have been made to change this, especially in relation to medical cannabis patients. In 2019, both the House and Senate voted to legalize home cultivation for registered patients and caregivers. However, the governor vetoed the bill and ended discussions until 2020, when a new version of the bill (SB 420) was introduced and passed by the Senate – it is still waiting for a vote from the House. Also in 2020, the House passed HG 1648, which would allow all citizens above 21 to possess and cultivate small amounts of marijuana. The senate has since put it aside due to Covid-19 and plans to address it in 2021.