New Hampshire House Votes For Legal Marijuana

Granite State lawmakers get serious about 'Live Free Or Die' motto.

New Hampshire
Photo by tpsdave via Pixabay

New Hampshire’s famously provocative state motto is “Live Free Or Die.” On Wednesday night, the state House of Representatives voted in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana, signaling that the Granite State actually may live up to the promise.

In a contentious session, the House voted 207-139 to pass the legalization bill. Earlier, a House committee attempted to kill the bill, but the full House rejected that option by a vote of 183-162. The bill now goes to the House Ways & Means Committee.

The proposed law would allow adults to possess up to 21 grams of marijuana, 5 grams of hashish, and some cannabis-infused products. Adults would be allowed to cultivate up to six cannabis plants.

Currently, New Hampshire is “an island of prohibition” as most of the New England States have loosened their marijuana regulations.

Rep. David Welch, the Republican chairman of the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, opposed the legalization of cannabis.  “It is better to know the territory before setting out for a hike,” Welch told New Hampshire Public Radio. Gov. Chris Sununu also has voiced his opposition to marijuana legalization.

“Are you kidding?” Sununu said. “We’re in the middle of one of the biggest drug crises the state has ever seen. To go to a full recreational marijuana when other states that are seeing all the problems it has in other states and seeing the issues it’s bearing, it’s definitely not something that I’m supportive of right now.”

Eight states have legalized recreational marijuana, including neighboring states Maine and Massachusetts. Vermont will most likely become the ninth legal state later this year.

According to NHPR, state lawmakers have debated this issue every year for more than a decade. Five years ago, the Granite State passed a medical marijuana program. There are four medical marijuana dispensaries serving more than 4,700 patients.

According to a 2017 from the University of New Hampshire, 68% of New Hampshire adults support legalizing marijuana.

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