Lynch Vetoes Bill Legalizing Medical Pot
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Lynch Vetoes Bill Legalizing Medical Pot
Posted by CN Staff on July 11, 2009 at 04:50:53 PT
By Kevin Landrigan, Staff Writer
Source: Nashua Telegraph
Concord, NH -- Legislative and health-care supporters seeking to legalize the use of medical marijuana for the chronically ill vowed to overcome Gov. John Lynch’s veto of the bill Friday.Lynch cited concerns with what he considered to be loose guidelines for cultivation and distribution in refusing to make New Hampshire the 14th state to allow people with a debilitating condition to use marijuana for relief.
Lynch, a three-term Democrat, praised lawmakers for trying to address his concerns but concluded the bill (HB 648) had “too many defects to move forward.’’“I understand and empathize with the advocates for allowing medical marijuana use in New Hampshire. However, the fact remains that marijuana use for any purpose remains illegal under federal law. Therefore, if we are to allow its use in New Hampshire for medical purposes, we must ensure that we are implementing the right policy,’’ Lynch said in his veto statement.“We cannot set a lower bar for medical marijuana than we do for other controlled substances, and we cannot implement a law that still has serious flaws.’’This was cold comfort to Rep. Cindy Rosenwald, D-Nashua, who led a bipartisan effort in theHouse and Senate to re-craft the bill in hopes of getting Lynch’s support.“I am disappointed by the governor’s veto,’’ Rosenwald said in a statement.“I believe the final version was the tightest and most precise medical marijuana legislation of any state.’’ Unlike every other state with it, this bill would have kept patients and caregivers from being able to cultivate the drug that remains illegal to possess under federal law.Instead, Rep. Evalyn Merrick, D - Lancaster, a cancer survivor, agreed to change her bill to restrict possession of marijuana in private, nonprofit compassion centers that would then dispense the drug to eligible patients and designated caregivers.“Scaling back to three cultivation/distribution centers with mandatory criminal background checks on individuals would have allowed us to make sure only qualifying patients could get access to a safe supply of marijuana,’’ Rosenwald continued.Lynch recognized the legislator’s hard work, but that wasn’t enough to entice him to sign the bill into law.“After consulting with representatives of the appropriate state agencies and law enforcement officials, I believe this legislation still has too many defects to move forward,’’ he said.This was one of Lynch’s most detailed veto messages and appropriately since it will stand the stiffest test of his gubernatorial authority since first becoming governor in January 2005.“There are also many inconsistencies and structural problems in the legislation that would greatly complicate its administration and would pose barriers to controls aimed at preventing the unauthorized use of marijuana,’’ Lynch continued.Matt Simon, executive director of New Hampshire Common Sense for Marijuana Policy, questioned if Lynch ever was open-minded on the subject and urged lawmakers to ignore this setback and make the bill become law over his opposition.“If Governor Lynch really has ‘tremendous compassion’ for patients, and if his concerns about the bill’s details are sincere, then he should have worked more closely with the committee that worked so diligently to address his concerns,’’ Simon said.“The legislature should be outraged by the governor’s lack of leadership on this issue, and if legislators hear from their constituents in support of this bill, we may be able to gain the votes necessary to override this veto.’’Dennis Acton is a Fremont Republican and cancer survivor who has appeared in commercials promoting the bill.“I’m disappointed that Governor Lynch did not meet with patients like me before deciding medical marijuana users should continue to risk arrest and jail time to relieve their suffering,’’ said Acton, who used it to treat nausea when undergoing radiation therapy in 1999.“I’m urging my fellow Republicans who are in the Legislature to have the courage to stand up and override this veto.’’The fight returns to the House where a two-thirds super majority is needed to override a Lynch veto. In June the House voted for the bill, 232-108, well more than necessary to override Lynch.The anti-veto campaign is more difficult in the state Senate, where supporters are two votes shy of mustering the needed margin to make this state law.Lynch adopted the argument that the bill had untold government costs and that fees could be so expensive it would allow access to marijuana for only the wealthiest patients.“We applaud Governor Lynch for vetoing the medicinal marijuana bill,’’ said Kevin Smith, executive director of the fiscally and socially conservative Cornerstone Policy Research group.“Given the precarious situation of the new state budget, now would not have been the time to add additional state spending and burden the taxpayers even more to pay for the monitoring of marijuana use in the state.’’Bill No: HB 648.Sponsor: Lancaster Democratic State Rep. Evalyn MerrickDescription: The original bill would have let patients and designated caregivers have six plants and up to two ounces of useable marijuana to help people with a “debilitating medical condition’’ as long as it’s under the supervision of a physician.A conference committee of House and Senate negotiators changed the bill in hopes of winning over support from Gov. John Lynch.The new compromise did not permit residents to grow marijuana but forced them to obtain it from up to three nonprofit compassion centers.It allowed patients to receive up to 2 ounces of marijuana every 10 days. Supporters said patients would consume more either by eating or inhaling the drug rather than risk other health issues by smoking pot.These compassion center outlets would obtain the marijuana from similar sites in the 13 states where it’s now legal for ill residents to use marijuana for medicinal purposes.Status: Gov. John Lynch vetoed the bill Friday. The New Hampshire House of Representatives and, if necessary, the State Senate will meet later this summer or early fall to vote on whether to sustain or override that move. Source: Nashua Telegraph, The (Nashua, NH)Author: Kevin Landrigan, Staff WriterPublished: Saturday, July 11, 2009Copyright: 2009 Telegraph Publishing CompanyContact: letters nashuatelegraph.comWebsite: http://www.nashuatelegraph.comURL: Articles: NH Governor Vetoes Medicinal Marijuana Bill Bill Sent To Lynch
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on July 11, 2009 at 04:55:12 PT
This Is Good In My Opinion
Excerpt: Legislative and health-care supporters seeking to legalize the use of medical marijuana for the chronically ill vowed to overcome Gov. John Lynch’s veto of the bill Friday.
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