CONCORD, N.H. – New Hampshire moved a step forward toward legalizing marijuana for medical use, joining the swelling ranks of states nullifying the unconstitutional federal ban on weed. The Legislature voted 284-66 Wednesday in favor of HB 573 and the bill now goes to the Governor’s desk for a signature.
The bill allows patients diagnosed with cancer, Crohn’s disease and approximately twenty initially approved conditions to possess up to 2 ounces of marijuana obtained from one of four dispensaries authorized by the state.
‘‘All of us recognize it has been proven to provide relief from pain and suffering,’’ Sen. Martha Fuller Clark (D-Portsmouth) said.
Even so, the feds define alleviating suffering as a criminal activity. Congress and the president claim the constitutional authority to ban marijuana. The Supreme Court concurs. But the opinions of black-robed judicial oracles don’t magically transform the meaning of the Constitution. It delegates no power to regulate plants grown and used within the borders of a state. And the so-called war on drugs rests on the same legal authority as all of the other modern-day undeclared wars.
Doubt this? Then ask yourself why it took a constitutional amendment to legalize federal alcohol prohibition?
Never-the-less, 19 states have already put the well-being of their citizens above faux federal supremacy, nullified the unconstitutional prohibition and legalized medical marijuana anyway. And Illinois and New Hampshire may well become states number 20 and 21. The Illinois legislature sent its medical marijuana bill to the governor for his signature earlier this week.
The message? When enough people say NO to unconstitutional federal “laws” – and enough states back them up, there’s not much the feds can do about it.
“The rapidly growing and wildly successful state-level movement to legalize marijuana, either completely, or for medical use, proves that states can successfully nullify unconstitutional federal acts. The feds can claim the authority to prohibit pot all they want, but it clearly has done nothing to deter states from moving forward with plans to allow it, pushed by the will of the people,” Tenth Amendment Center executive director Michael Boldin said.
The House passed the bill 286-64 in March, but the Senate approved an amended version to satisfy several demands by Gov. Maggie Hassan. The Senate version strips allowances for growing marijuana at home and drops the number of approved dispensaries from five to four. It also removes post-traumatic stress from the list of approved conditions and adds a resident requirement for an affirmative defense in court. Hassan has indicated she wouldn’t sign a bill with a home-grown option, although she supported it as a Senator.
In a statement issued last month, Governor Maggie Hassan confirmed her support for the New Hampshire legislation saying: “I have always maintained that allowing doctors to provide relief to patients through the use of appropriately regulated and dispensed medical marijuana is the compassionate and right policy for the State of New Hampshire. The compromise legislation as agreed to by the committee of conference addresses the concerns that I have heard and expressed throughout this session, and provides the level of regulation needed for the use of medical marijuana.”
Activists failed in their effort to resurrect the home grow option in the final version of the bill, but patients will no longer risk arrest and prison for using marijuana to treat their disease and pain. Distribution will be limited to state approved dispensaries. These dispensaries would have a maximum of 80 marijuana plants, 160 seedlings and 80 ounces of marijuana or 6 ounces per qualifying patient. They also would have a limit of three mature cannabis plants, 12 seedlings and 6 ounces for each patient who designates the dispensary as a treatment center.
If you live in New Hampshire, contact Governor Hassan and urge her to keep her pledge to sign HB573 into law.
You can track state-level legislation nullifying the federal ban HERE.