The New Hampshire State Senate narrowly failed to overturn Governor John Lynch’s (D) veto of SB 409, which would have permitted the use of medical marijuana in the state. This effectively dooms the prospects for medical marijuana in New Hampshire this year. Lynch had previously vetoed a similar medical marijuana bill in 2009, which the legislature at the time also failed to override.
While disappointing, the result wasn’t unexpected. Overturning a veto requires a two-thirds vote in both chambers of the legislature. When the bill was first approved in the Senate, it passed by a margin of only 13-11. This made it unlikely it would somehow gain additional votes to cross the two-thirds threshold in a second vote after the governor’s veto.
The one silver lining to this particular failure is that Lynch is not running for re-election this year. As a result there is a good chance that in 2013, New Hampshire will have a new governor who is more supportive of marijuana reform and likely to sign a medical marijuana law next year. The two top candidates in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, Jackie Cilley and Maggie Hassan, both voted for the medical marijuana bill in 2009 when they served in the state legislature.