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NH Backs Off Efforts To Adopt THC Potency Caps On Medical Products

“Medicinal cannabis products should also be available to patients in varying potencies and formulations.”

Even as cannabis advocates in the Granite State face continued prohibition on the adult-use side, with their governor fiddling with the idea of state-run pot shops, the war over their medical program continues, though with some positive news this week …

The primary sponsor of a pair bills (Senate Bill 418 and Senate Bill 419) to impose arbitrary THC potency limits on medical cannabis products and establish unscientific THC per se driving standards in New Hampshire has withdrawn his support.

At a recent Senate hearing, Rep. William Gannon asked the Committee to accept amended versions of the bills which remove the language specific to THC potency caps and per se limits.

NORML has long opposed the adoption of per se THC limits, which make it a prima facie traffic violation to operate a vehicle with trace quantities of THC in one’s system, even absent any evidence of psychomotor impairment. NORML also opposes the adoption of THC potency limits on state-legal cannabis products.

NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano submitted written testimony to the Committee opposing both provisions.

With respect to provisions in SB 419 to impose a 16 percent THC cap on the potency of medical cannabis products, Armentano said, “Conventional medicines, such as pain relievers, are available in various strengths and potencies to meet patients’ specific needs. Medicinal cannabis products should also be available to patients in varying potencies and formulations.

“Prohibiting patients from accessing these products at state-licensed dispensaries will not eliminate patients’ demand for them. Rather, it will force patients to seek out high-THC products in the unregulated market. It will also move the production of these products exclusively underground. This undermines the primary goal of the state’s medical access legalization law, which is to provide patients with safe, above-ground access to lab-tested products of known purity, potency, and quality.”

With respect to provisions in SB 418 to impose impose a 2ng/ml THC per se limit for motorists, Armentano said: “Unlike alcohol, which may be detected in a person’s blood for limited periods following ingestion, THC is fat-soluble. Therefore, it may remain present in blood at residual levels for several days following past exposure – long after any impairing effects of the drug have worn off. This extended period of detection is most common among patients and others who consume cannabis regularly.

“SB 418’s proposed per se limit is not evidence-based, is opposed by most experts in the traffic safety field, and it is inconsistent with separate state statutes that legally permit the consumption of cannabis by authorized patients. Because many qualified medical cannabis patients in New Hampshire consume marijuana either daily or near daily, most, if not all, of them will be vulnerable to criminal prosecution under this inappropriate legislation for doing nothing more than consuming their physician-authorized medicine.”

This article was republished via NORML. The full text of Paul Armentano’s testimony is available in the NORML Testimony library. Additional information on pending marijuana-specific legislation is available from NORML’s Take Action Center.