Today, the New Hampshire Senate came three votes shy of overriding Gov. John Lynch’s veto of SB 409, the state’s medical marijuana bill.
Sixteen senators’ votes were needed, and 16 voted for the bill at one point during the year. Unfortunately, one “yes” vote, Sen. Andy Sanborn (R), resigned to run for another seat, leaving his seat vacant. In addition, two Democratic senators who had consistently voted for SB 409 put political allegiances ahead of patients and voted to uphold Gov. Lynch’s veto. Those senators were Senators Lou D’Allesandro (D) and Sylvia Larsen (D).
Crucially, the one man who stands in the way will be out of office next year: Gov. Lynch is not running for re-election, and we are hopeful that the next governor will be compassionate. In addition, at least two of today’s “no” votes in the Senate — Senators Russell Prescott (R) and Lou D’Allesandro — are facing challengers who support medical marijuana protections: Prescott in his primary and D’Allesandro in the general election.
Despite today’s setback, New Hampshire’s legislature did make history this year: This was the first time a Republican-led legislature voted to send effective medical marijuana legislation to the governor’s desk.
With changes in the governorship and the Senate, there are many reasons to believe that next year will be the year patients finally get relief.