NH’s New Governor Open to Legalizing Medical Marijuana

New Hampshire’s new governor, who is open to legalizing medical marijuana, may lead to the state joining the rest of New England in legalizing the drug.

Democratic governor-elect Maggie Hassan spoke in favor of medical marijuana legislation while running for governor, and her spokesman, Marc Goldberg, said Hassan still remains open to backing such legislation.

Matt Simon, a legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project, told the New Hampshire Union Leader his group is optimistic about passing the law in 2013, and a new bill is expected to be filed this week in the statehouse.

“I think the bill will at least propose patients be allowed to cultivate for themselves or (buy from) dispensaries that are state-licensed,” Simon said. “It will be up to the Legislature to go one way or another or both.”

Goldberg said Hassan will support a measure if it’s appropriately regulated and has controlled and limited dispensing.

New Hampshire legislators this year approved a medical marijuana bill, but Democrat Gov. John Lynch vetoed it and the Senate fell three votes short of overriding the veto.

However, Simon said Democratic gains in the legislature will add to a strong majority of people who favor the issue.

Nearly 20 states now allow for medical marijuana, including Massachusetts, where voters this month approved the issue. Massachusetts is also the 15th state that allows home cultivation, which Simon points out will save a patient thousands of dollars over the course of a disease.

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