New Hampshire House Approves Marijuana Legalization Bill

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New Hampshire House Approves Marijuana Legalization Bill

Legislation (House Bill 1648) to legalize marijuana for everyone 21 and older has been passed by the New Hampshire House of Representatives. The Thursday vote was 236 to 112.

Although the measure would unfortunately not legalize marijuana stores, it would legalize the possession of up to 3/4th an ounce of marijuana and would allow personal amounts to be grown at private residences (up to six plants).

“I think that the legalization of cannabis is more popular than the legislature itself or the governor or any other political entity in the state of New Hampshire,” says House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee Chairman Renny Cushing (D). “This is something that the people of the state of New Hampshire want. They don’t want to be treated like they’re criminals if they have a plant.”

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A similar bill was passed by the House last year but failed to pass the Senate (which would have sent it to Governor Chris Sununu for consideration).

Cushing told Marijuana Moment in an interview last month that legislators “don’t know how the governor will respond” to the adult-use legalization measure if the bill makes it to his desk. Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), told Marijuana Moment that with the House’s passage, the bill now faces “a more difficult challenge” before the Senate.

“It makes no sense for the ‘Live Free or Die’ state to continue punishing adults for growing and possessing cannabis,” he said. “The Senate should join the House in passing HB 1648, and Governor Sununu should recognize that it’s time to bring New Hampshire’s cannabis laws more nearly into line with neighboring states.”

Specifically the proposal would allow residents to “cultivate their own limited supply of cannabis will provide them with an alternative to buying cannabis from illicit drug dealers.”  A floor amendment was approved which states that consuming cannabis in public would still be prohibited (though punishable at most by an $100 fine and not jail time).

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