The New Hampshire House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee has approved a bill 12 to 5 that would remove criminal penalties for the possession of cannabis. The measure now heads towards a full House vote, which is expected sometime this month.
House Bill 1625, sponsored by Republican Representative Adam Schroadter, would make the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis a simple $100 ticket, rather than an arrestable criminal offense. It would also make cultivation of up to six cannabis plants a Class A misdemeanor, rather than a felony.
Under current law, the possession of any amount of cannabis is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison.
“There is no good reason to continue criminalizing people for possessing marijuana,” says Matt Simon, the New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Nobody should be saddled with a criminal record simply for possessing a substance that is objectively less harmful than alcohol. This should be the year New Hampshire brings its penalties into line with neighboring states.”
According to a survey conducted last year by Public Policy Polling, 62% of New Hampshire voters support decriminalizing small amounts of cannabis.