November Gubernatorial Election Could Determine Future of Medical Marijuana in New Hampshire

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The biggest obstacle to the legalization of medical marijuana in New Hampshire isn’t wary law enforcement officials, hesitant voters or skeptical legislators.

It’s Gov. John Lynch. The state’s top official once again dashed the hopes of medical cannabis advocates by vetoing a bill that would legalize MMJ in New Hampshire, and the Senate came up just shy yesterday of the supermajority needed to override the governor. A nearly identical situation played out in the state three years ago, when lawmakers passed an MMJ legalization bill only to see the governor veto it. The Senate also failed to overturn the veto back then.

All of this could – and likely will – change next year.

Lynch has stated publicly that he will not run for another term, which is music to the ears of medical marijuana advocates in the state. That makes the upcoming gubernatorial race in New Hampshire this November particularly interesting, as it will help decide the fate of MMJ in the state.

The cannabis community will have to press candidates on how they will handle medical marijuana legislation, and then must vote accordingly. It’s not good enough to simply vote on party lines, which for the marijuana community normally means supporting Democrats. Lynch is actually a Democrat, and he vetoed medical marijuana bills passed by a Republican-controlled legislature.

In this case, voting for a Republican governor might lead to the desired outcome. Regardless, there’s a strong chance candidates from either party will be more MMJ friendly than the current governor, as vetoing medical marijuana legislation is the exception in the United States, not the norm.

With the biggest obstacle to medical marijuana legalization likely removed, the future is bright for medical marijuana in New Hampshire in 2013.