The New Hampshire House and Senate recently unified to override the Governor’s veto on a medical marijuana bill that would have prevented patients from immediately accessing cannabis products. If lawmakers hadn’t intervened, medical marijuana patients would have been forced to endure a three-month waiting period before obtaining a recommendation from a qualified physician.
Governor Chris Sununu defended his veto of the medical marijuana bill saying, “Maintaining a strong patient-provider relationship is an important part of ensuring that our medical marijuana program is used successfully and responsibly.” However his philosophy of “preserving responsible prescribing,” did not sit well with state legislators and they acted quickly to nullify his veto.
The Senate voted to void the veto 17-7 after three Republican senators sided with all 14 Democrats. The override passed in the House 238-117, one vote over the two-thirds majority required to overturn the governor’s veto of the medical marijuana bill.
One of the primary complaints from New Hampshire lawmakers is the double standard that would be created by enforcing a three month waiting period. Democratic Senator and licensed physician Tom Sherman, was quick to point out that patients didn’t have to wait for other prescription drugs such as opioids and antipsychotics, which have far worse side effects than medical marijuana.
Senator Sherman explained that, “With therapeutic cannabis, we are waiting three months. What do we call that? Malpractice, delay of care. This is a good bill. We are not practicing appropriate medicine in many of these cases.” He went on to add that forcing patients with chronic pain to wait could also lead to an addiction to opiates and increase their chances of an overdose.
It is important to note that while the waiting period was overturned the bill still does require the patient to have a previous medical history with the prescribing doctor. This statute serves as a way to ensure that the doctor is not recommending medical marijuana purely for financial gain and has a prior knowledge of the patient’s specific medical condition.
The New Hampshire House was also able to override the veto on HB 364, that would’ve allowed medical marijuana patients to cultivate their own cannabis at home however the attempt to override this veto fell short in the Senate.