Linda Horan, pictured Nov. 12, 2015, successfully fought in court to get a medical marijuana card from New Hampshire before the state's program had started operating. The card would permit her to obtain marijuana in Maine, which serves patients who have registry cards in their home states. (Lynne Tuohy, Associated Press file)

Ailing woman who won marijuana lawsuit vs. New Hampshire has died

Activist Linda Horan was suffering from late-stage cancer but couldn't get access to medical marijuana in New Hampshire, which legalized medical marijuana in 2013 but has yet to open dispensaries

CONCORD, N.H. — A New Hampshire woman who was suffering from late-stage cancer when she won permission to buy medical marijuana in Maine before it was available in her home state died Monday.

Linda Horan was 64. Her death was confirmed by Democratic state Rep. Renny Cushing, a friend and co-sponsor of New Hampshire’s medical marijuana law.

“When she couldn’t even walk, she still stood up to the state of New Hampshire and asked for health care justice,” Cushing said.

Horan, a retired telephone company worker and longtime labor activist, was diagnosed in July with advanced lung cancer.

A New Hampshire law allowing medical marijuana was passed in 2013, but the state wasn’t ready to begin issuing cards allowing people to use it in November when Horan sued seeking access to it. She argued she and other seriously ill people were suffering because they couldn’t use marijuana to alleviate their symptoms.

Later in November, a New Hampshire judge ordered the state to issue Horan a card so she could get medical marijuana in Maine.

“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,” Horan said after the judge’s decision. “If I’m going down, I’m going down swinging.”

She got the marijuana in December in Portland, Maine. She had it in the form of cookies, crackers, tinctures and capsules. She also had some she could smoke.

“Linda was a believer in that people working together could accomplish tremendous things for the good of all,” said Glenn Brackett, of the AFL-CIO. “She was tenacious, she was loving and caring, and she believed that improvement in society was the goal of every citizen to help accomplish.”

New Hampshire began issuing identification cards last month to its residents who were entitled to use medical marijuana. The first dispensaries are scheduled to open this spring.