New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) said on Friday that he would veto any legalization legislation that reaches his desk, “regardless of what the language looks like,” The Concord Monitor reports.
Sununu has called his campaign against legalization one of the biggest policy issues of his administration. He urged members of the Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery on Friday to fight legalization. Gov. Sununu has even sought consult from anti-legalization crusader Kevin Sabet.
Sabet, a former drug policy adviser under the Bush and Clinton administrations, is now the head of anti-legalization group Smart Approaches to Marijuana. “Kevin Sabet is engaging with us very aggressively,” Sununu said. “He’s very excited, he’s raised a lot of money nationally.”
The meeting where Sununu made his rallying cry for continued prohibition was an unusual spot to come out so strongly against cannabis. The commission has been tasked with spending millions of dollars in the fight against addiction — a fight in which cannabis has shown some potential.
It’s arguable that spending a sizable portion of the state’s budget on addiction control via continued cannabis prohibition is unwise, considering that millions of Americans continue to die each year from opiate addiction and withdrawal and that there remains zero recorded cases of a fatal cannabis overdose.
Furthermore, there is strong public support for cannabis legalization in New Hampshire, where 68 percent of the population supports it and 74 percent want specifically to regulate sales. Even more staggering is that New Hampshire has already decriminalized cannabis, so the plant is already being used freely throughout the state.
“Sadly, the message Governor Sununu is sending to Granite Staters couldn’t be more clear. It’s ‘support your local drug dealer, and to hell with any sort of regulated system.’” — Matt Simon, of the Marijuana Policy Project, to the Concord Monitor
The Commission decided to table further discussion until it’s next meeting on January 25. It’s unclear how the commission’s 28 members will vote.
Democrats hold majority control of New Hampshire‘s legislature and have shown support for full legalization and regulated sales, so — while Sununu has promised to veto — lawmakers may have enough support to overrule him on the issue.