CONCORD, N.H. (May 16, 2016) – Three years after New Hampshire voted to legalize medical marijuana, the first dispensaries have finally opened in Plymouth despite federal prohibition.

The first dispensary opened April 30. The state Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced last week that two more facilities will open this month.

Qualifying patients and designated caregivers registered with Temescal Wellness, Inc.’s Lebanon dispensary will be able to obtain therapeutic cannabis beginning Sunday, May 15, 2016, when the dispensary will open. The NH Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has issued a registration certificate to Temescal to allow the Alternative Treatment Center (ATC) to begin operations at its Lebanon location.The Lebanon dispensary represents the third ATC in New Hampshire to recently begin dispensary operations. Temescal’s Dover dispensary opened on May 5 and Sanctuary ATC’s Plymouth dispensary on April 30, 2016. Prime ATC, which is completing construction of its cultivation center, expects to open its dispensary in Merrimack later this summer.

Medical marijuana is an important step toward nullifying unconstitutional federal drug laws. The federal government lacks any constitutional authority to prohibit or regulate marijuana within the borders of a state, despite the opinion of the politically connected lawyers on the Supreme Court. If you doubt this, ask yourself why it took a constitutional amendment to institute federal alcohol prohibition.

Many people find it abhorrent that the federal government denies Americans suffering from debilitating pain a treatment that offers them relief. When states back the federal ban, these patients face an agonizing choice: risk jail or suffer in silence. But 2-dozen states have said, “No!” to federal prohibition, and “Yes!” to patients who benefit from marijuana.

Sure, the feds can still try to enforce their ban. However, it’s too costly for the DEA to consistently enforce. Statistics from Americans for Safe Access (ASA) suggest that costs-per-raid and costs-per-investigation far exceed the yearly DEA budget. Figures indicate it would take 40 percent of the DEA’s yearly-budget just to investigate and raid all of the dispensaries in Los Angeles alone – a single city in a single state. And that doesn’t include the cost of prosecution.

Furthermore, arresting and charging people suffering from chronic pain or illnesses isn’t the best way to win public support for the War on Drugs.

“The lesson here is pretty straight forward. When enough people say, ‘No!’ to the federal government, and enough states pass laws backing those people up, there’s not much the feds can do to shove their so-called laws, regulations or mandates down our throats,” Tenth Amendment Center founder and executive director Michael Boldin said.

The feds need state cooperation to enforce prohibition.That has rapidly evaporated through the actions of states like New Hampshire, nullifying in practice the federal ban.

The first medical dispensary in the Granite State demonstrates that the people are tired of having a handful of unelected officials decide what we can and cannot put into our own bodies.

TJ Martinell

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