Medical marijuana is currently legal in 15 states and DC. A coalition of libertarian Republicans and Democrats in the New Hampshire legislature are hoping to make medical marijuana legal in that state soon.
The Democratic-controlled Legislature passed a bill allowing medical marijuana in 2009, but Democratic Gov. John Lynch vetoed it. The House overrode the veto, but the Senate came up two votes short, according to The Concord Monitor.
According to the Monitor:
State Sen. Jim Forsythe, a Strafford Republican and former chairman of the state Republican Liberty Caucus, said the challenge for libertarian-leaning Republicans will be to convince more socially conservative party members that allowing medical marijuana fits with conservative values. “Conservatives traditionally oppose Obamacare because they want government out of doctor patient relationships, and medical marijuana helps satisfy that,” Forsythe said. “We believe in minimal regulation, and this helps toward that.”
The impetus behind the bill is individuals like Clayton Holton, who has muscular dystrophy, and Nicole Rockwell, who has spinal muscular atrophy. Rockwell, of Manchester, told the House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee yesterday that marijuana helps her eat, sleep and alleviate the depression and pain she has suffered her whole life.
The bill would allow patients who suffer from debilitating medical conditions to possess up to 2 ounces of marijuana, with a doctor’s prescription and an identification card proving the patient is allowed to have marijuana. It would set up “alternative treatment centers” to distribute the marijuana, which would be subject to extensive regulations.
The bill is expected to advance through the House and may receive support from the Governor this time due to specific concerns it addresses. However, the Republican-controlled New Hampshire Senate — which has just five Democrats and 19 Republicans — is going to be a significant obstacle for passage. You can bet that Senator Forsythe will work to convince his colleagues of the bill’s merits. Contact other New Hamphire State Senators here.