Cannabis Decrim Bill Passed by New Hampshire’s Full House of Representatives

03.18.13news-flickr-marijuana-editNew Hampshire’s full House of Representatives – in a voice vote Thursday evening – approved a bill that would remove criminal penalties for the possession of small amounts of cannabis.

Under the proposed law – House Bill 1631 – the possession of up to a half an ounce of cannabis would become a civil violation punishable by a fine of $100 for a first offense, $200 for a second offense, and $500 for a third or subsequent offense; no number of offenses would result in jail time or a criminal charge. Under current state law, possession of any amount of cannabis is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000.

“This is commonsense marijuana policy reform,” said Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “It is irrational to brand people as criminals simply for possessing a substance that is safer than alcohol.”

Nearly three out of four New Hampshire residents (72%) think the legislature should decriminalize cannabis possession or make it legal for adults, according to a WMUR Granite State Poll released earlier this month.

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