CONCORD, NH -- The New Hampshire House of Representatives, which has a nearly 3:1 Republican supermajority, overwhelmingly passed a bill today that would allow residents to use marijuana for medical purposes. H.B. 442, which would create a narrow exception in New Hampshire law for people with certain qualifying conditions to use marijuana to treat their ailments with doctors’ recommendations, will now move on to the Senate.
Medical marijuana treatment is currently permitted in 15 other states and the District of Columbia, and is being considered in more than a dozen state legislatures this year.
The bill passed 221-96, or by 69.7%, doing better than similar medical marijuana bills have done in previous Democrat-controlled sessions, proving conclusively that this is an issue that both parties can support. The bill was introduced by Rep. Evalyn Merrick (D-Coos), a cancer survivor, and is sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Jim Forsythe (R-Strafford).
“This vote shows that compassion is not a partisan issue,” said Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Lawmakers can come together despite their political differences when it comes to allowing sick people to use medical marijuana. They owe it to their constituents to do so.”
H.B. 442 enjoys strong support among voters. A 2008 Mason-Dixon poll showed that 71% of New Hampshire voters are in favor of allowing the use of medical marijuana, with only 21% opposed. The bill now goes to the Senate.