The New Hampshire Senate passed legislation 13-to-11 Wednesday, March 28, 2012 to allow a patient with a “debilitating medical condition” or that patient’s designated caretaker to cultivate and possess up to six ounces of marijuana, four mature plants and 12 seedlings at a registered “cultivation location.” It would allow the patient or caregiver to possess two ounces elsewhere.
Despite vocal support from several traditional opponents including Senate Republican Leader Jeb Bradley, it failed to gather the two-thirds majority needed for a veto override.
Governor John Lynch has opposed several medical marijuana bills in recent years. He vetoed a dispensary approach in 2009, citing concerns over proliferation and cultivation beyond the dispensaries, and another medical marijuana bill died last year in the Senate after he had promised a veto.
Following the Senate vote, Lynch spokesman Colin Manning said the bill was even less restrictive than the dispensary approach, and the governor plans to veto it (Boston Globe).
With seven Republicans supporting the bill, allowing the legislation to cross party lines, and the Senate Health and Human Services Committee voting 5-0 to approve the bill, Senator Jim Forsythe (R) is leading the charge to build a veto proof majority for the legislation.
If they are successful, the New Hampshire program would resemble those in Maine and Vermont and would end in three years if lawmakers do not renew it, providing an outlet for review and reform.
It is time that the overreaching power of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 (Controlled Substances Act) be neutralized.
As with the federal prohibition of alcohol in the 1920s, the prohibition of drugs, including marijuana, has created a platform for crime and violence — all the while, these laws were enacted to “enable the United States to meet all of its obligations” under international treaties - specifically, the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances (Congressional findings 21 U.S.C. §§ 801(7), 801a(2), and 801a(3)).
According to the Cato Institute, these treaties only bind the United States to comply with them as long as that nation agrees to remain a state party to the treaties. The U.S. Congress and the President of the United States have the power to withdraw from them, and abolish the federal laws written in order to maintain compliance.
This leaves one to ask then, with drug prohibition causing black market profiteering and drug syndicates, a rise in violence, and with drug use/abuse rising rather than falling nationally (not to mention the cost of prosecuting and housing all of the “drug offenders”), why has the federal government continued down this path?
How much longer will the people of the United States be forced to comply with United Nations treaties that directly conflict with our Constitution and fail to accomplish the end to which they were adopted?
Will the American people stand behind states like California, Maine, and Vermont that have passed medical marijuana legislation, and the 18 other states (including New Hampshire) that have legislation pending or is the idea of living in Liberty simply too frightening? Let’s hope the former is the case.