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Live Weed-Free or Die?

New Hampshire's governor "Lynches" a medical marijuana bill passed by the state legislature—defying public opinion.

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By Chrisanne Grise

06/25/12

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New Hampshire's Democratic governor has vetoed a medical marijuana bill passed by the Republican-controlled legislature—even though a large majority of Granite State voters support the measure. Governor John Lynch says the bill doesn't provide sufficient restrictions on pot cultivation and prescription, and he opposes authorizing teenagers to use it for treatment. "I cannot support establishing a system for the use of medical marijuana that poses risks to the patient, lacks adequate oversight and funding, and risks the proliferation of a serious drug," he says.

Lynch blocked a similar bill in 2009, and advocates have grown frustrated with his naysaying attitude. "He has been very difficult to work with, so much so that we call it 'Lynching the bill,'" Kirk McNeil, executive director of the New Hampshire Coalition For Common Sense Marijuana Policy, tells The Fix. "He has just decided not to listen anymore because of his personal reasons against medical marijuana." Lynch's decision bucks the trend in New England: Maine, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Vermont have all recently legalized medical marijuana. A recent poll showed that 65% of New Hampshire voters support it—including over 70% of Democrats and independents, and even a majority of Republicans.

The bill passed the House of Representatives by more than a two-to-one margin, but only scraped through the Senate, meaning a veto override is unlikely (though not impossible). The state legislature will vote on the override on Wednesday, and the bill's sponsors vow to keep "educating" the opposition in hopes of gaining more votes. "We're still fighting this one," says McNeil. "We're not done with it yet."

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