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New Hampshire Governor Vetoes Medical Marijuana Bill

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #740)

New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch (D) last Thursday made good on his threat to veto a medical marijuana bill, Senate Bill 409, approved by the legislature. Lynch did the same thing to a similar medical marijuana bill passed by the legislature in 2009.

New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch (
The legislature will now attempt to override the veto. The Senate and House will both vote on the override on Wednesday. In 2009, the House voted by more than two-thirds to override the veto, but the effort came up two votes short in the Senate. [UPDATE: The governor's veto was sustained on Wednesday.]

In a lengthy veto statement, Lynch explained his reasoning, but not before first expressing his "personal compassion for those who suffer from debilitating medical conditions who wish to use marijuana to alleviate their symptoms and the side effects of medical treatment."

Lynch noted that lawmakers had attempted to address his concerns about medical marijuana, but "this new legislation will not ensure the limited use of marijuana for medical purposes." Because the number of potential marijuana cultivation sites is "virtually unlimited," the result would be "the proliferation of marijuana for unlawful use."

Lynch also noted that "law enforcement has serious concerns" about "unauthorized use" of marijuana. Although the bill requires that grow locations be registered with the state, police are not granted routine information about who has registered, and they don't like that. Police also don't like that the inspection and oversight of medical marijuana grows is left in the hands of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Lynch also objected to a provision in the bill allowing medical marijuana use by minors. He was "very concerned" that allowing seriously ill kids to use medical marijuana would "downplay the perceived risk of the use of this drug and lead to increased adolescent use."

And because "there are many types of marijuana with different degrees of potency," Lynch was concerned that the lack of restrictions on amount and frequency of use could lead to "significant health dangers," although it is unclear just what those dangers are.

"I continue to believe that the most effective manner in which to facilitate the safe and controlled use of marijuana for medical purposes is to distribute the drug like any other controlled substance through a regulated prescription system," Lynch concluded. "I recognize that such a system is unlikely as long as marijuana use for medicinal purposes remains illegal under federal law. As well intentioned as the efforts reflected in SB 409 are, I cannot support establishing a system for the use of medical marijuana that poses risks to the patient, lacks adequate oversight and funding, and risks the proliferation of a serious drug."

But the bill's lead sponsor, Sen. Jim Forsythe (R-Strafford) said he would continue to seek support to override the governor's veto.

"This is a limited, responsible bill, and it’s designed to protect some of our state's most desperately ill citizens," Forsythe said. "SB 409 has gained momentum and support throughout the legislative process, and the result of our hard work is a bill the House and Senate should be proud to pass into law."

Patients and their family members don't want to wait any longer, either. Ted Wright of Tuftonboro, whose wife Cindy has been fighting breast cancer for 18 years, urged legislators to override the veto.

"Despite the governor's unfortunate veto, there's no reason patients like Cindy should have to wait another day for medical marijuana to be a legal option," Wright said.

Matt Simon, a legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project, agreed, saying, "Governor Lynch has chosen to bury his head in the sand on this issue, but ultimately it will be legislators who decide the fate of patients, and they know their constituents will be watching."

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Duncan20903 (not verified)

My wife woke up ill this morning. After she convinced me that she’s really very ill by exhibiting actual symptoms I said that I was really worried, and asked her if she wanted me to call a politician in for a medical consultation. But she’s still not sold on the assertion that politicians are better qualified to practice medicine and insisted on seeing an M.D. Women!

Now I’m going to have to lobby her to at least get a second opinion from a politician. Even if they can’t cure her, they can at least pass a law which would do so. I may have to put my foot down and insist. After all, it’s for her own good.

But seriously, what about the children? What kind of message does it send the children if she lallygags and acts like a layabout all day without consulting a politician? Doesn’t anyone care about the children?

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 7:24pm Permalink
saynotohypocrisy (not verified)

yeah, but they're all about infinitely safer than alcohol, so what's the problem, other than he likes alcohol users and hates cannabis users?

expressing his "personal compassion for those who suffer from debilitating medical conditions who wish to use marijuana to alleviate their symptoms and the side effects of medical treatment." 

I'm sure that will impress the people who will be suffering terribly, so needlessly, because of his prejudice against cannabis.

It's not just that they wish to use marijuana, their doctor has recommended it. How can that not be good enough for him? How dare he deny seriously ill patients the best available medicine for their condition! If he's not a sadist, he might as well be, for all the difference it makes.


Thu, 06/21/2012 - 7:35pm Permalink
Paul Pot (not verified)


Marijuana is going to be legalized whatever Governor Lynch thinks.
If he doesn't want to be part of the government that does reform the law, then that's his choice.
But what a shame you don't have the guts to stand up to the feds like all the others. You'll forever be remembered as gutless Lynch.
The more states there are with reformed laws the harder it is for the federal government to push the states around.
The states united, can never be defeated.
You know what Hampshire means don't you?
Hemp Shire.
The shire where the hemp grows.
If that's not an indication of the cultural and economic significance of the hemp plant, I don't know what is.
Fri, 06/22/2012 - 5:27am Permalink
xlioilx (not verified)

Could Gov John Lynch be more anti-American? His problem is that people may make some small amount of money off selling marijuana. Looks like he needs a wake up call.. PEOPLE ARE ALREADY SELLING MARIJUANA! He basically said he will deny sick and dying people the right to medicine as long as marijuana is being sold illegally. I just hope he applies that same logic to every other DRUG especially prescription medication that is on the top of the DEA list for most abused and MOST sold illegally on the streets.

Sat, 06/23/2012 - 12:41pm Permalink

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