As anticipated, Gov. John Lynch, a Democrat, today vetoed Senate Bill 409, which sought to allow for the personal possession, cultivation, and use of cannabis by qualified patients.
The measure now returns to House and Senate lawmakers, who have the power to enact SB 409 absent the Governor’s approval. On Wednesday, June 27, both chambers will vote on whether or not to override the Governor’s veto.
Gov. Lynch’s actions, though disappointing, were anticipated. The four-term governor, who recently announced that he would not be seeking re-election in 2012, had previously vetoed medicinal cannabis legalization in 2009 and had vowed to do likewise this year. That is why ever since the passage of SB 409, lawmakers and activists have been lobbying legislators, particularly Senate lawmakers, to assure that the measure possesses super-majority support in both chambers.
To review: House lawmakers on June 6 affirmed their support for SB 409 via a voice vote. They had previously voted in favor of the measure by the two-thirds majority necessary to override a veto by the Governor. (The actual vote was 236 to 96.) The Senate vote, however, was a different matter. In that chamber, lawmakers gave final approval to the bill by a vote of 13 to 9, a gain of two ‘yes’ votes since the Senate had previously acted on the bill in March, yet just shy of the two-thirds majority votes needed to override a veto. (A co-sponsor of the bill, Senator John Gallus, R-Berlin, was not present for the June 6 Senate vote.)
In short, two additional Senate ‘yes’ votes are needed to make New Hampshire the 18th state to allow for the limited legalization of cannabis therapy.
If you reside in the Granite State, the actions you take over the following days can help make this a reality. Click here to go to NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ today to see how your Senator voted and to urge him or her to vote ‘yes’ this Wednesday on SB 209.
Additional information on this campaign is available from the Marijuana Policy Project here and from NH Compassion here.