New Hampshire has been dancing with cannabis legalization for years in the quest to be in the same level with Maine and Massachusetts, which have managed to favour the cannabis advocates in statewide legislations recently.
These are the timelines on how the state has treated cannabis
In July 2013, the Granite State managed to pass a bill favouring for medical cannabis in which New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan signed into law. But there’s a big but…
That law allows for the use of medical cannabis for patients with “chronic or terminal diseases” and “debilitating medical conditions.” However, the bill has been criticised as being one of the stricter MMJ bills in the nation. The absurdity of that bill allowing cannabis only after all other treatment methods would have failed. Governor Hassan also modified the measure, prohibiting patients from growing their own cannabis.
On January 15, 2014 New Hampshire’s legislature voted 170 to 162 in favor of ‘House Bill 492’, based on Colorado Amendment 64.
The bill would seek to legalize under state law the personal use of up to one ounce of marijuana by persons 21 years of age or older. The bill could also establish regulations for the retail production and sale of cannabis.
The vote to approve the bill would have been the first time a chamber of a state legislature ever approved of legislation to legalize and regulate marijuana for all adults.
As for the passing of House Bill 492, Hassan vowed to veto the bill. It would appear then the push for marijuana legalization on that state died despite popular votes in approving it. The New Hampshire House of Representatives Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee voted 11-7 against recommending the passage of House Bill 492, despite strong public support for the measure.
However, Granite Staters are still positive in pushing marijuana legalization.
3 bills have been passed in 2016 seeking yet again for the legalization of cannabis.
House Bill 1675
House Bill 1675 would legalize possession of up to 2.2 pounds of marijuana for personal consumption by adults 18 and older. It would also favor cultivation of up to six pot plants at home. The bill would also permit commercial marijuana sales and impose a $30 excise tax per every ounce sold.
House Bill 1610
House Bill 1610 would legalize marijuana possession of up to two ounces for personal use by adults 21 and older, and would legalize cultivation of up to six plants at home — limited to three mature plants at any one time. However, this bill; would not permit retail marijuana sales within the state, but would allow adults to gift up to 1 ounce of marijuana to one another.
House Bill 1694
Bipartisan House Bill 1694 would legalize marijuana possession of up to 1 ounce by adults 21 and older, and would permit home cultivation of up to six pot plants, with a limit of three mature plants at one time. The law would permit marijuana retail, and sales would be taxed at 15 percent.
House Bill 1675 is more favorable in many respects as it includes cultivation and higher limitation to marijuana possession. Economic-wise, it may be feasible to the state’s revenue but could impose higher price burden to users. However, this bill was killed in February 2016. House Bill 1694 met the same fate.
Because of strong opposition, House Bill 1610 was axed on April 2016.
In spite of the gloomy fate in the legalization of marijuana, the first dispensary in New Hampshire opened its doors in April 2016.
Gov. Maggie Hassan signed House Bill 1453 in August 2016 into law that expands the state’s current medical marijuana program.
“The legislation adds ulcerative colitis to the list of debilitating medical conditions that qualify a patient to access medicinal cannabis under the state’s medical marijuana law.” -ActivistPost.com
Currently, the state is criticized for having a marijuana law that would put individuals in possession of more than 1 ounce to jail. This puts the state in obscurity from other states in New England. In 2004, Vermont enacted medical legislation. Just recently, Maine and Massachusetts already legalized marijuana for medical and recreational uses.
Perhaps, New Hampshire should learn from Colorado in knowing the feasibility of cannabis for industrial and commercial benefits.
More recently, the Granite State’s marijuana legalization movement just got a high profile endorsement in the state’s senate. A senate bill (which has a similar counterpart in the house of reps) should be moving to the judiciary committee early next year.
Despite allowing for medical cannabis to pass, Democrat Governor Maggie Hassan, has been criticized for her stance on cannabis legalization. But Hassan has become a Senator-elect. A new governor-elect Republican Chris Sununu is known to be pro-decriminalization.
NH activisits regarded Sununu to be a powerful ally in decriminalizing cannabis in the state.
N.H. Senate Minority Leader, Jeff Woodburn, is poised to sponsor a bill but is yet to finalize with a target set in January 2017. But the timelines in setting up the bill would likely be extended in 2019 and 2020.
On the House of Representatives side , the effort will be led by Glen Aldrich. He has a different side on the bill.
“It’s really starting the conversation in the two separate chambers, there won’t be any overlap,” Simon said. “The big picture is the same: adults should not be punished for using marijuana, and they should be able to grow it, and they should be able to go to a store and buy it. Both of these bills would do that.”
What do you think of this progress in making marijuana legal in Granite State.
Do you think the state would finally gain the positive nods from more liberal and progressive-minded lawmakers?
Despite the increasing popularity of cannabis among adults in New Hampshire, would there still be a chance for cannabis strains to be legally distributed in the near future?
Is New Hampshire the next state after Maine and Massachusetts in or will we see New York and New Jersey surpassing the Granite State in marijuana legalization measures?
Can we see more states in the New England region following the same trend as Maine and Massachusetts have been trailblazing?
Could we foresee more shops opening in the coming months or years perhaps in this state?
Share us your thoughts in the comment section.