New Hampshire Tables Medical Marijuana Bill

NH Legislators consider HB 442 in April

5/11/2011 UPDATE The New Hampshire Senate has postponed legislative action on the medical marijuana bill, HB 442. The move today means that the bill may not get a floor vote in the Senate, even though the House passed the measure 221-94 in March.

The sticking point seems to be the years-long fight between Governor John Lynch and the NH Legislature over this issue. Lynch vetoed a medical marijuana bill in 2009 and promised to do the same this year if the bill passed again.

Activists who were in attendance at the New Hampshire legislative session today were disappointed that the Senate didn’t stand up to Lynch. An attempt to overturn the medical marijuana veto in 2009  fell heartbreakingly short by just two votes. Patient advocates on the ground felt that the Legislature should hold firm in the face of Lynch’s threat and try again to force the bill through.

Kirk McNeill at NH Compassion pulled no punches in his reaction to the Senate’s vote, “Today the NH Senate participated in an act of legislative cowardice by tabling HB442.”

But postponing the legislation did not quite kill it. A spokesperson at NH Senator Ray White’s office told that technically HB 442 could be brought for a floor vote again before the legislative session ends in June. However, the prospects for the bill actually making it to the Senate this year remain unclear.

NH Compassion’s McNeill said, “Patients deserve to have their treatment options be a decision between them and their doctors, a decision based on science.  Laws against the medicinal use of cannabis are quiet simply, interference in the doctor patient relationship backed up by men with guns.”

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Chris Goldstein is a respected marijuana reform advocate. As a writer and radio broadcaster he has been covering cannabis news for over a decade. He volunteers with local groups to change prohibition laws including PhillyNORML and The Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey.

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