New Hampshire governor vetoes medical marijuana bill

Posted on June 21st, 2012 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , , .

cannabisIn a rebuke to the New Hampshire state legislature, Gov. John Lynch on June 21 vetoed medical marijuana legislation for the second time since 2009, despite strong legislative and popular support. SB 409 passed the New Hampshire House by an overwhelming vote of 236-96—more than the two-thirds needed to override the governor's veto. However, because of a narrower margin in the senate, an override is less certain. SB 409 would protect the right of qualifying patients to cultivate their own medical marijuana or designate a caregiver to cultivate it for them, and would limit possession to six plants and six ounces of dried cannabis.

"We applaud the New Hampshire legislature for trying to meet the health care needs of thousands of its citizens," said Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access, the country's largest medical marijuana advocacy organization. "Unfortunately, a departing governor with an axe to grind is getting in the way of this important and popularly supported legislation. We're now calling on the legislature to rise to the occasion, and override the governor's veto."

Advocates were successful in incorporating patient cultivation into the list of enumerated rights—a feature common to most state medical marijuana laws, but absent from the recent laws passed in Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia.

Advocates in New Hampshire also won the passage of other amendments to SB 409, such as a provision that would protect organ transplant patients against discrimination. Purging medical marijuana patients from transplant lists is a common practice at transplant centers across the country, including the internationally renowned Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

SB 409 originally called for "Alternative Treatment Centers"—centralized, regulated facilities where patients could safely and legally obtain their medication. This provision, however, was stricken from the final version of the bill. States with older medical marijuana laws, such as California, Maine, Vermont, and Washington, which originally excluded distribution systems, have either recently adopted such provisions, or are trying to pass amendments that recognize that need.

Cannabis is the subject of much debate at the New Hampshire state house, currently considering bills that would decriminalize possession of up to a half ounce and allow for cultivation of industrial hemp. The decriminalization bill passed the House in March by one vote, and is now being debated in the Senate. (ASA, June 21)

Photo by prensa420


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