CONCORD, N.H. (Sept. 4, 2015) – In July, New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan signed a bill into law that expands the state’s current medical marijuana program, further thwarting in practice the federal prohibition on the same. As of today, the bill officially takes effect in the Live Free or Die State.
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.
None of these conditions are exceptions to the blanket prohibition on marijuana under federal law. But that didn’t stop advocates in New Hampshire from taking matters into their own hands. HB476 was signed into law on July 6 and it went into effect today.
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 deplorable 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,” legislative analyst 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 block 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 medical marijuana supporters in the state of New Hampshire. It signals that the public is ready to throw off the shackles of the drug war and enact sensible regulations on cannabis - whether the feds like it or not!