Is Medical-Only Weed Legal in New Hampshire?

Medically reviewed by Alexander Tabibi, MD
August 31, 2021
New Hampshire Cannabis Legality
New Hampshire Cannabis Legality

In 2017, New Hampshire decriminalized weed/marijuana possession for up to a certain amount.  However, recreational cannabis remains illegal.  The Granite State does run a medical marijuana program for patients who have qualifying conditions, as determined by this state, which provides them with a medical marijuana card that is valid at licensed dispensaries in areas like Nashua, Manchester, Portsmouth, or Keene.


History of Weed Laws

In 2013, New Hampshire became the 19th state to legalize medical marijuana with the passing of HB 0573, which initially established a very restrictive list of qualifying conditions.  The new law stipulated that in order for a patient to be approved for medical marijuana, they needed to not only be diagnosed with a qualifying condition, but also exhibit severe symptoms.  The law also required that dispensaries be nonprofit, and that there were to be possession and purchasing limits for patients.  It also states that home cultivation is strictly prohibited.


In 2014, the state’s House of Representatives approved a bill that would legalize adult-use marijuana, but the bill was rejected by the Senate.


Then, in 2017, New Hampshire decriminalized possession of up to 0.75 ounces of marijuana, making it a civil offense requiring a $100 fine for first and second offenses, and $300 for a third offense.


It’s unlikely that marijuana legalization will pass any time soon as the state’s Congress, along with Governor Sununu, are opposed to it.


Where Can a Person Legally Purchase Weed in New Hampshire?

It is illegal for recreational users to purchase cannabis, so only medical patients and their authorized caregivers may do so.  Medical patients and caregivers can only purchase from a state-licensed dispensary, known as an Alternative Treatment Center (ATC).  They can be found throughout the state, and it’s important to note that they are not allowed to provide delivery services on behalf of patients.  Further, a patient must select a dispensary when registering for medical marijuana and may only shop at that dispensary.


Patients can purchase up to 2 ounces of cannabis every 10 days. 


Where Can Cannabis Legally Be Used?

New Hampshire prohibits the use of cannabis in public spaces.  Therefore, patients can only consume cannabis when they are on private property, such as their own homes.  Driving under the influence is strictly illegal and can lead to criminal charges.


Possession Laws

Anyone who possess cannabis on school grounds, or at their job without their employer’s permission, can face criminal charges.  Patients can legally possess up to 2 ounces at a time, although a caregiver and patient can also possess up to 2 ounces between them.  New Hampshire has decriminalized possession of small amounts of cannabis among recreational users.


Can Residents Grow Their Own?

Currently, under New Hampshire law, it is strictly illegal to grow your own cannabis, whether you are a recreational user, a medical patient, or a caregiver.  This means that if you are caught growing marijuana, you can end up getting into trouble with the law.  The state attempted to pass a bill in 2020 that would allow for regulated home cultivation, but that bill has been stagnated.


Medical Marijuana

The Therapeutic Cannabis Program oversees the state’s medical marijuana registry and receives applications from patients.  The program provides approved patients with a medical marijuana card that can be used at any state-licensed dispensary.


Qualifying Conditions:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease
  • Cancer
  • Chronic pancreatitis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • Lupus
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Spinal cord injury or disease
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Ulcerative colitis


Patients can qualify if a treatment that they are taking has caused at least one of the below symptoms or side effects:

  • Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cachexia, or wasting syndrome
  • Chemotherapy-induced anorexia
  • Constant or severe nausea
  • Elevated intraocular pressure, or glaucoma
  • Moderate to severe vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Severe, persistent muscle spasms
  • Severe pain that has not responded to previously prescribed medication or surgical measures, or for which other treatment options produce serious side effects


Patient Qualifications:

A patient can only qualify for medical marijuana if they have been diagnosed with one of the above conditions and have been under a physician’s care for at least 3 months.  The physician must provide a certification that verifies that the patient has one of these conditions and would benefit from marijuana.  Minors are required to have a parent or legal guardian apply on their behalf.


A patient’s physician can be a doctor, doctor’s assistant or advanced practice registered nurse in New Hampshire, or a doctor or advanced practice registered nurse who is licensed in Maine, Massachusetts, or Vermont.


How to Register for Medical Marijuana in New Hampshire

New Hampshire residents can fill out an application form through the TCP website, and submit it along with their physician’s certification, a state-issued ID and a $50 application fee.


Qualifying as a Caregiver

A caregiver must be at least 21 years of age and was never been convicted of a felony.  The state will perform a background check.  The caregiver must first be requested by the patient as part of their application process.


Registering as a Caregiver

First, a patient will request the caregiver on their application from.  Then, the caregiver will receive an application form that they must file, along with their state-issued ID and background check form, before receiving a medical card that they can use to purchase cannabis on their patient’s behalf.


Reciprocity Laws

Does not permit out-of-state visitors with medical cards issued by their home states to purchase cannabis in their dispensaries.  However, this state allows medical patients from out of state to possess cannabis as long as they have one of the qualifying conditions determined by NH.



New Hampshire law requires that all cannabis sold in the state must first undergo a third-party testing process by a state-qualified laboratory.  The cannabis products are tested for cannabinoid profile and potency, along with contaminants and other toxins, and impurities, to ensure safety.