The state Senate voted Wednesday against overriding Governor Lynch's veto of a bill that would have legalized the use of medical marijuana by severely ill patients whose doctors recommend the drug.
After being passed in the House by a margin of 240-115, the effort to override the veto came to an end in the Senate, where the override fell short by just two votes.
If passed, the override would have made New Hampshire. the 14th state in the country to legalize marijuana use for severely ill patients.
The bill, which Governor Lynch vetoed due to concerns over the bill's proposed plans for cultivation and distribution of the drug, would have allowed for the creation of three to five "compassion centers" that would have distributed marijuana to qualifying patients.
According to Executive Director of the New Hampshire Coalition for Common Sense Marijuana Policy Matt Simon, who had been working closely with patients to support the override, supporters of the override knew it would be hard for it to pass in the Senate.
"We were confident we were going to win in the House," Simon said. "But we also knew it would be a tall order to get two senators to change their minds... I had hoped the senators would put politics aside and do the right thing, but in the end that didn't happen."
Simon also said that while the outcome of the vote was not necessarily surprising, for him and the medical marijuana users he worked with to support the override, it was a huge disappointment.
"I had to make several very difficult phone calls to patients who had been very hopeful," Simon said. "It was very disappointing."
Still, Simon said it is impossible for him to look back and not see that progress on the issue of medical marijuana was made.
"A lot of people really came around and learned a lot," Simon said.
Simon also said that he is certain that New Hampshire will eventually have a law legalizing the use of medical marijuana.
"I am very confident that it will happen but just not this year," Simon said. "We're going to continue working until New Hampshire allows medical marijuana."
October 30, 2009
The New Hampshire