New Hampshire House Passes Bill to Decriminalize Marijuana
New Hampshire’s House of Representatives gave approval to legislation decriminalizing marijuana with an overwhelming 318 to 36 vote.
House Bill 640, sponsored by Representative Renny Cushing, now moves to the Senate for consideration. The proposal would reduce the penalty for possessing up to an ounce of cannabis from a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison, to a simple civil fine with no possibility of jail time or a criminal charge.
The fine would be $100 for a first offense, $200 for a second offense and $350 for third and subsequent offenses (if committed within three years of the first two offenses).
“Most representatives agree it is time to stop wasting limited public resources on arrests for simple marijuana possession,” says Matt Simon, the New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “We hope their colleagues in the Senate will agree that our tax dollars and law enforcement officials’ time would be better spent addressing serious crimes.”
More than seven out of 10 Granite Staters (72%) would like to see the Legislature decriminalize or legalize marijuana, according to a WMUR Granite State Poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center in July 2016.