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Judge Clears Way For Dying Woman To Get Medical Marijuana

A judge has cleared the way for a woman with late-stage lung cancer to buy medical marijuana in Maine before dispensaries open in New Hampshire, Linda Horan, sued the state Department of Health and Human Services over its refusal to allow her legal access to marijuana to ease the symptoms of her terminal lung cancer,

New Hampshire has yet to open any medical marijuana dispensaries despite approving it. Maine’s medical marijuana law has been in effect since 2009. New Hampshire didn’t plan to issue identification cards to medical marijuana users until dispensaries open next year, but Horan says she may be dead before then.

The retired telephone worker from Alstead sued the state this month. “The state simply needs to issue me an ID card so that I can access the medicine that I need,” said Horan. “It’s hard to imagine why it would take more than two years for that. There are seriously ill people throughout New Hampshire who are suffering every day they go without it.”

“I want the state to stop dragging their feet over a technicality when they’re  dealing with sick people,” she said. “We don’t have the time to fool around.”

Lawyers for the state argued that issuing Horan an identification card now would undermine New Hampshire’s need to control distribution, but a judge sided with Horan and ordered the state to process her application and issue a card if it is approved. The state, which has 15 days to approve or deny an application, did not dispute that Horan would be entitled to a card.

In his ruling, Judge Richard McNamara said Horan will suffer irreparable harm if relief was not granted. “Nowhere does the statute say that a qualifying patient can only obtain cannabis from a New Hampshire ATC,” wrote McNamara.

“She is suffering from a painful, terminal disease and is also undergoing chemotherapy. There is no dispute that cannabis can ameliorate some of her suffering,” wrote Judge McNamara. “She will suffer irreparable harm if relief is not granted.”

“I’m over the moon. It really hasn’t sunk in,” Horan said. “I’m in tears, tears of joy. Not just for me, but for everyone else who will have the opportunity to get the medicine they need. If I’m going down, I’m going down swinging.”


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