New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu signed a bill into law Tuesday that decriminalizes the possession of marijuana and hash.
The new law – which decriminalizes the possession of up to three-quarters of an ounce of marijuana, and ip to five grams of hash – officially goes into effect in 60 days, making New Hampshire the 22nd state in the nation to eliminate the possibility of jail time for simple marijuana possession.
“The governor deserves credit for his steadfast support of this commonsense reform,” said Matt Simon, the Manchester-based New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Unlike his predecessors, who opposed similar proposals, Gov. Sununu appears to understand that ‘Live Free or Die’ is more than just a motto on a license plate.
“A lot of credit also goes to the House, which has been passing decriminalization bills since 2008,” Simon said. “It is refreshing to see the Senate finally come to an agreement with the House on this issue. This is a big step toward a more sensible marijuana policy for New Hampshire.”
The law signed by Governor Sununu – House Bill 640 – was initially approved by the House in March with a 316 to 38 vote, before being passed by the Senate in May 17 to 6
“There is no good reason to continue arresting and prosecuting people for marijuana possession,” says Simon. “Marijuana is objectively less harmful than alcohol, and Granite Staters are ready to see it treated that way. A very strong majority of state residents support ending marijuana prohibition altogether.”
More than two-thirds of New Hampshire adults (68%) support making marijuana legal, according to a Granite State Poll released last month by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center.