SB 409 Passes House Votes to Override Gov. Lynch, Senate Falls Short
CONCORD -- Today, the New Hampshire Legislature narrowly failed to overturn Gov. John Lynch’s veto of a proposed medical marijuana bill. SB 409, which would have allowed people with certain qualifying medical conditions to grow and possess limited amounts of marijuana with doctors’ recommendations, was approved by the House and Senate earlier this month. That was the first time a Republican-led legislature sent a governor an effective medical marijuana bill. Gov. Lynch vetoed the bill last Thursday, citing law enforcement concerns that advocates had previously amended the bill to address.
The veto came as no surprise. Lynch vetoed similar legislation in 2009, after which the House voted by more than two-thirds to override the veto, but support in the Senate fell two votes short of the necessary two-thirds. Although a total of 16 senators voted for the bill this year, the Senate did not reach the necessary votes to override the veto today. The vote was 13-10, and 16 votes were needed. Despite strong public support, Democratic Senators Lou D'Allesandro and Sylvia Larsen reversed their “yes” votes on the bill and voted to uphold the veto of Gov. Lynch, who is also a Democrat. In addition, the seat of another previous “yes” vote, Sen. Andy Sanborn, was vacated so he could run for Senate in another district.
Matt Simon, a legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project, said, “Gov. Lynch has chosen to bury his head in the sand on this issue, and once again he was able to get enough lawmakers to join him and deprive the people of New Hampshire of much-needed relief. We will continue working with lawmakers to allow seriously ill patients to use marijuana free from the fear of arrest. We are hopeful that the new governor will be more reasonable.”
The Marijuana Policy Project, the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States, is responsible for most state-level marijuana policy reforms passed since 2000. For more information, please visit www.mpp.org.