concord monitor Liberal Democrats and libertarian-leaning Republicans are finding common cause in supporting a House bill that would legalize medical marijuana.
“This is a bill whose message has been heard loud and clear,” said bill sponsor Rep. Evalyn Merrick, a Lancaster Democrat. “I sense we’ll have a good deal of support on both sides of the aisle.”
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The Democratic-controlled Legislature passed a bill allowing medical marijuana in 2009, but Democratic Gov. John Lynch vetoed it. The House overrode the veto, but the Senate came up two votes short.
State Sen. Jim Forsythe, a Strafford Republican and former chairman of the state Republican Liberty Caucus, said the challenge for libertarian-leaning Republicans will be to convince more socially conservative party members that allowing medical marijuana fits with conservative values.
“Conservatives traditionally oppose Obamacare because they want government out of doctor patient relationships, and medical marijuana helps satisfy that,” Forsythe said. “We believe in minimal regulation, and this helps toward that.”