New Hampshire’s House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee voted 12 to 7 on Tuesday to approve an amended version of Senate Bill 498, a sentencing discretion bill that was amended to also decriminalize the possession of up to a quarter ounce of cannabis.
Under the approved amendment, the possession of up to 7 grams of cannabis would be punishable by a civil infraction, with no possibility of arrest or a criminal charge. Under current law the possession of even a gram of cannabis is punishable by a misdemeanor and up to a year in jail.
Last month the full House of Representatives passed a bill to decriminalize half an ounce of cannabis – twice as much as this new amendment – though it was recently killed in the Senate. This new amendment, though watered-down, keeps hope alive that the state may pass some form of decriminalization this year.
According to the most recent WMUR Granite State Poll – released last month – 62% of those in New Hampshire support legalizing cannabis, with just 30% opposed.