Medical Marijuana

N.H.: Help us “bring back the heart” and pass HB 364!

Also, legalization advocates will debate prohibitionists this Wednesday, August 21 at 7 p.m. in Moultonborough!

The N.H. House is scheduled to meet on Wednesday, September 18 to vote on veto overrides, including HB 364, the bill that would allow limited home cultivation for patients. If the House votes to override the governor's veto and pass HB 364, the bill will proceed to the Senate for a final vote.

We're committed to fighting for every vote we can get in the legislature and passing this bill into law. To that end, I'm pleased to report that we found the designs from our 2009 N.H. Compassion campaign and updated them for current use.

Although the 2009 campaign tragically fell two votes short of success when Gov. Lynch's veto was sustained in the Senate after being overridden by the House, the patients who fought for that bill seemed to be fans of this design. Many of those patients are no longer with us, and I feel that "bringing back the heart" and using it for online ads and other materials would be a good way to honor their memories.

Please help us "bring back the heart" by making a donation to MPP's veto override effort today! We need to pick up two more Senate votes, but there are several votes in play.

If you haven't already done so, please contact your representatives and senator and urge them to support passing HB 364 into law!

Finally, in case you thought the legalization debate was dead until 2020, I'm pleased to report that former Rep. Ted Wright and I will be discussing the pros and cons of legalization with two opponents, including Sen. Bob Giuda, on a panel this Wednesday, August 21 at the Moultonborough Public Library, beginning at 7 p.m.

Please share this important news with your family and friends!

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Medical Marijuana

N.H. medical marijuana override vote falls short

Today, the New Hampshire Senate came three votes shy of overriding Gov. John Lynch’s veto of SB 409, the state’s medical marijuana bill.

Sixteen senators’ votes were needed, and 16 voted for the bill at one point during the year. Unfortunately, one “yes” vote, Sen. Andy Sanborn (R), resigned to run for another seat, leaving his seat vacant. In addition, two Democratic senators who had consistently voted for SB 409 put political allegiances ahead of patients and voted to uphold Gov. Lynch’s veto. Those senators were Senators Lou D'Allesandro (D) and Sylvia Larsen (D).

Crucially, the one man who stands in the way will be out of office next year: Gov. Lynch is not running for re-election, and we are hopeful that the next governor will be compassionate. In addition, at least two of today’s “no” votes in the Senate — Senators Russell Prescott (R) and Lou D’Allesandro — are facing challengers who support medical marijuana protections: Prescott in his primary and D’Allesandro in the general election.

Despite today’s setback, New Hampshire’s legislature did make history this year: This was the first time a Republican-led legislature voted to send effective medical marijuana legislation to the governor’s desk.

With changes in the governorship and the Senate, there are many reasons to believe that next year will be the year patients finally get relief.

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Medical Marijuana

NH Republicans Pass Medical Marijuana in Spite of Democrat Governor’s Veto Threat

Republican legislators nationwide should perk up their ears and take notice of what is happening in New Hampshire, where a Republican-sponsored medical marijuana bill has blazed a trail of surprising successes.

SB 409 had already passed the Republican-dominated Senate March 28, and today the 400-member House, which is about 75% Republican, voted 236-96 in favor, with strong bipartisan support.

Unfortunately, Gov. John Lynch, a Democrat, announced in advance of the House vote that he intends to veto the bill as he did a similar bill in 2009.

How can this be possible, some might ask? According to the bill’s prime sponsor, Senator Jim Forsythe (R-Strafford), support for allowing medical marijuana is perfectly consistent with Republican principles. “I’ve never used marijuana in my life,” the former Air Force pilot has often explained, “but as a matter of principle, I don’t believe it’s appropriate for government to interfere with choices that should be made between a doctor and a patient.”

Forsythe and his Senate cosponsors, Senator Ray White (R-Bedford) and Senator John Gallus (R-Berlin), began with support from the Senate’s five Democrats, but they had a tough hill to climb with their Republican colleagues. Previous bills had never received more than one vote from a Republican senator, but after a compelling public hearing in which patients shared their stories face-to-face with legislators, the bill quickly gained momentum.

The paradigm shift began to materialize in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee March 22, when two former opponents announced they would be supporting the bill. The committee chairman, Senator Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro), represented New Hampshire in Congress from 2003-2007, and Senator Gary Lambert (R-Nashua) is a retired Marine and a former prosecutor, so these were two very significant conversions.

The bill passed the committee that day in a 5-0 vote that sent shockwaves around the State House, and then, the following Wednesday, strong speeches on the floor by Senators Bradley and Lambert carried the bill to victory in a Senate comprised of nineteen Republicans and only five Democrats.

Has the world gone topsy-turvy? Or are Republicans in New Hampshire just getting on the right side of history in advance of some of their colleagues in other states?

Following today’s historic House vote and Governor Lynch’s heartless veto threat, all eyes will be on the eleven Republican senators who have not yet crossed the line from “undecided” to “supportive.” Three additional votes will be necessary to override the veto, but with the momentum SB 409 has shown so far, it would be tough to bet against the patients who are asking for this sensible, compassionate reform!

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