CONCORD, N.H. (July 11, 2015) – On Monday, New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan signed a bill into law that expands the state’s current medical marijuana program, further nullifying in practice the federal prohibition on the same.
Introduced by Rep. Stephen Schmidt (R-Wolfeboro) and five bipartisan co-sponsors, House Bill 476 (HB476) adds “epilepsy, lupus, Parkinson’s disease, [and] Alzheimer’s disease” to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana in the state of New Hampshire.
The federal government doesn’t allow the use of marijuana – even if it’s for medical purposes authorized by state law. By expanding the number of people authorized to use the plant as a medical treatment in New Hampshire, this new law helps further nullify the unconstitutional federal ban in practice.
This is a move that Tenth Amendment Center national communications director Mike Maharrey says is clearly within the bounds of the Constitution.
“The Constitution delegates no power to the federal government to prohibit marijuana in the states. This power remains with the state governments and the people. Doubt me? Then ask yourself why it required a constitutional amendment to prohibit alcohol. There is no fundamental difference,” Maharrey said.
The bill was approved on Mar. 4 by the state House, and it was approved with amendments by the state Senate on May 14. After the House concurred with the amended version of the bill, HB476 was put on Gov. Hassan’s desk and officially signed into law on July 6.
As of right now, 17 states have decriminalized marijuana possession, 19 states have legalized it for medical use, and four states have fully legalized the plant for recreational use. All of this has happened in spite of the federal government’s laws to the contrary that are still in effect today.
“The rapidly growing and wildly successful state-level movement to legalize marijuana, either completely, or for medical use, proves that states can successfully effectively reject 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.
Since FBI statistics show that approximately 99 of 100 arrests for marijuana are done under state and not federal law, states can take immediate action to effectively nullify federal attempts to keep the plant illegal. That is exactly what New Hampshire has done with HB476. The broadening of the medical marijuana law will make it even more difficult for the federal government to enforce its prohibition on marijuana.
HB476 is a step in the right direction for both medical marijuana supporters and advocates of decentralized government in the state of New Hampshire. It signals that the public is ready to throw off the shackles of ‘federal supremacy’ and take lawmaking into their own hands.