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

Apr 25, 2012 , , , , , , , , ,

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!

25 responses to “NH Republicans Pass Medical Marijuana in Spite of Democrat Governor’s Veto Threat”

  1. Any chance of them overturning the veto? They’re 30 votes shy of 2/3rds. Also, does New Hampshire really need a 400 member house?

  2. please Mr. Lynch pass this!! I am on 15 different meds and would really help to get rid of some of them. The side effects are worse than using the med. marijuana. thankx

  3. Patrick, it’s 2/3 of votes, not 2/3 of members. This was a veto proof majority.

    And the 400 member house, full of average people who are paid a whopping $100 a year, rather than a small house full of easily lobbied, highly paid career politicians, is one important reason our state is freer than yours.

  4. they are just doing it for votes because the Democrat Governor’s Veto Threat so they know it won’t pass they can say it is not us while patting each other on the back and thinking we got over on them again if there was a chance it would pass they would not be for it

  5. Or maybe, the Republicans in NH are actually … gasp … Republicans. You know, those people who supposedly believe in state’s rights, individual freedom, limited government interference, and fiscal responsibility. Medical marijuana is the poster child for all of those things.

  6. That’s not true bob. They almost succeeded in overriding the governor’s veto last time around, passing the house, but falling just a couple votes short in the senate.

    Believe me, most of these people understand and are quite serious about this issue.

  7. I can’t imagine what Governor Lynch is thinking, but for that matter, he’s never responded to any of the letters, emails, faxes or telephone calls I’ve made to him so how would I know???

  8. maybe it’s time for a new Governor of NH if he can’t see the world/country/state is changeing and if he’s on the wrong side of this then he needs to go. that’s why I might not be voting for Obama this time. they don’t want to listen to their voters, then out they go

  9. The prohibition of cannabis in the first place is what causes the problem, not the legalization for medical purposes. If you really look back at the history of that law, you will see it was never based on a real threat to public health or safety. In fact cannabis was outlawed as a way for police to persecute non-whites, and to preserve industrial monopolies on the production of paper and cloth. This is not my opinion, it is all a matter of public record. Please do the research and see what is really causing all the chaos: it’s not the drug, it’s the prohibition.

  10. The true test will be for the bill to get passed by the legislature if the governor vetoes it. Nothing says fuck you to the feds more than more states still passing pro-cannabis laws.

    I mean, what the fuck do they care about people like me who are cancer survivors or are living and dealing with cancer issues?!

    Wait! Just wait, you prohibitionist motherfuckers till it’s you! It’s always different when it’s you and not somebody else. Especially somebody you don’t know or can brush off.

    Pass the fuckin’ law!

  11. I spock at the March 22 meet with the health people and all 5 voted for the 409 bill, its going to happen , I have been fighting that ass Lynch from the last veto and we almost won than, its in the bag call every one who voted against the bill or the ones on the fence. thank you.

  12. cannabis is a herb with so many benefits,it is not up the our corrupt government to make decisions on what we put in our body. I can drink draino if I choose to and I wont. but dont tell me what to do. disband the DEA and restore freedom to our country

  13. I’m ecstatic that the bill passed with such strong support. I’m perplexed at why the governor would veto it. But, I’m offended by the pejorative use of the noun “Democrat” as an adjective, in the headline. If you want to be taken seriously, try to write objectively, and use proper English grammar.

  14. I emailed my district Senator Groen (R) with a “WHY?” question when he voted “no” I have not heard back from him as of yet.
    I cannot believe he voted ‘no’. I told him that NH has NO problem prescribing narcotics as if they were Tic Tacs and at the same time MOST of the NH’s liquor stores are situated right on RT 95 with their own exits even! I asked him if he knew of anyone that has suffered from cancer, such as myself. I also have Fibromyalgia and Neuropathy not to mention (9) NINE discs that are gone in my back from degenerative disc disease, arthritis, severe headaches and over-all very bad health. All of these health issues besides the cancer stem from Lyme disease I contracted 11 years ago… ! *WTF is wrong with a natural organic God Made medicine that helps tremendously ??? Evidently , Senator Groen is a man who hasn’t any compassion,,,just like Lynch! Who by the way if you don’t know is a transplant from Mass.. NH doesn’t need Massholes making our laws! Pass the Bill Mr Lynch or you will be voted out,! not just OUT of NH’s Governorship but NH in general!

  15. MAN I would love to see that ,I will even pay for his BUS ticket.Say I need help, on the call list we need three more Senators. We need this to happen we are to close to lose 409 to a man who could care less about the people of N.H, so please help me call the Senators the ones on the fence lets hit them up for a vote of yes . thanks

  16. I agree that New Hampshire could need this bill to legalize medipot statewide and would had voted for it myself had I been a state capital represenative. I voted in the Republican primary and we could use the change in leadership. A conventional Doctor friend of mine has written a book about bones in the past and he has impressed with his republican doctrine in the past and witty sense of humor. He may never agree with me about temporarily legalizing marijuana but, I and his dceased wife once came to an agreement over this issue at one time in the past. Recognizing in an instant democrats greediness it extends into cocaine law through congress and implores but, locally ignores there enforcement in every warped individual thats new to town. I’ve refused to sign the stop dangerous drug raids petition in my state it’s one of the last recourses paramilitary has to win in the war against drugs. I’ve refused to not admit I could use peoples help I have been wrong in the past I have learned a lesson from NATO.

  17. if you all are truly wanting to help you must do what ever you can to show the remaining senators its the write thing to do.send them a email or call….. this has to pass with with the momentum we have going

  18. free radical,

    I am in complete agreement that cannabis prohibition creates virtually all the problems associated with it. With the advent of vaporization, the one true argument against it’s use is void: the danger to health from smoking.
    But I have come to see it this way: The government has been documented to have repeatedly misled or outright lied to the public since prohibition began. Indeed, as you mentioned, lying to the public was instrumental in establishing prohibition.
    I doubt that anyone would argue that those of us who do benefit from the ingestion of cannabis in, terms of real relief from real disease, have a greater right to access to it than they who just seek a psychoactive experience. Both are our right, but pain, mental or physical, is a trump card.
    My point is, you have to fight fire with fire. If this is a wedge issue, then so be it. We are only doing what it takes, while hopefully bringing relief along the way.
    Again, I agree with nothing less than full deregulation, but I’ll travel a roundabout way to get there if I have to.

  19. I would really hate to see this fall short again this year, its so frustrating. I lived in Maine for 14 years and when they decriminalized it and made a state run program for it, it almost seemed like there were less accidents on the road and it was taken much more seriously(in the best way you can imagine). its helped my grandfather with major back problems since i can remember. id just hate to see this not helping people who need it.

  20. Early post from Patrick is incorrect. To override a gubernatorial veto, the 2/3 majority needs to come from the Senate, not the House. This still faces a battle to get from the initial 13-11 spread.

  21. think of how much money you could save people by legalizing it.plus tax the shit out of it to make the state alot of money,i think it should be state controled like booze. you make the money.hire people from nh to grow sell etc. thats alot of jobs and money for the state, plus keep cost low, thats alot of extra cash to poor into state. wake up

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