Less than one week after Connecticut became the 17th state to legalize the therapeutic use of cannabis, lawmakers in the New Hampshire House and Senate late today affirmed their support for legislation to allow for the personal possession, cultivation, and use of the plant for medicinal purposes.
This afternoon, House lawmakers on a voice vote reaffirmed their prior support for Senate Bill 409, which they had previously approved last month by a veto-proof super-majority. Members of the Senate then approved the measure by a vote of 13-9 — a gain of two ‘yes’ votes since the Senate had previously acted on the bill in March. (A cosponsor of the bill, Senator John Gallus, R-Berlin, was not present for today’s vote.)
The bill now goes to Gov. John Lynch, a Democrat, who has previously voiced his opposition to the measure. In 2009, Gov. Lynch vetoed a separate medical marijuana measure. An effort to override Lynch’s veto that year was successful in the House but fell just shy in the Senate of the necessary two-thirds majority support.
If Gov. Lynch vetoes this year’s legislation, proponents will need at least two additional ‘yes’ votes in the Senate to pass SB 409 into law.
In a press release issued by the Marijuana Policy Project, Senator Jim Forsythe (R-Strafford), the bill’s prime sponsor, vowed to continue working to gain the two additional Senate votes necessary if a veto override is needed. “Most senators now agree we have a moral obligation to protect seriously ill patients from being arrested in our state,” he stated.
If you reside in New Hampshire, you can contact Gov. Lynch on behalf of the measure here.
NORML will continue to update you on the progress of SB 409 via our ‘Take Action Center’ here.