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Marijuana Legalization

The sale and use of recreational marijuana are both currently illegal in New Hampshire.

State law permits people with certain medical conditions to receive medical marijuana prescriptions. Learn about medical marijuana in New Hampshire.

According to a 2019 UNH poll, 68% of New Hampshire residents support legalizing small amounts of marijuana while 27% are opposed.

Marijuana laws in NH

New Hampshire law classifies marijuana as a restricted, illegal substance.

In 2017, the state decriminalized the possession of small quantities of marijuana. This means the possession of quantities up to 3/4 of an ounce no longer carries a jail sentence. Learn more about marijuana decriminalization. Today, those found guilty under this law face only a violation and must pay fines between $100 and $300. Violations are the least serious offenses in the criminal justice system.

Minors convicted of possession can still lose their licenses for up to 5 years.

“The idea that we can continue to make outlaws out of a wide swath of the population is a continuation of failed public policy.”

Possessing quantities over 3/4 of an ounce is still a criminal act. If you’re caught with marijuana more than three times within a three-year period, you can face criminal charges. It is also illegal to grow any marijuana plants.

New Hampshire has a drugged driving law. This means it is illegal to operate a vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance such as marijuana.

Selling or intent to sell marijuana is also a serious felony punishable by a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

Where is marijuana legal?

Across the country, voters in ten states have passed measures legalizing recreational marijuana. This includes all the states bordering New Hampshire.

It is illegal to transport marijuana over state borders. That means marijuana can’t be purchased in a state where it is legal, such as Maine or Massachusetts, and then transported into New Hampshire.

“To go to a full recreational marijuana when other states are seeing all the problems it has and issues it is bearing – it’s definitely not something I’m supportive of right now.”

Marijuana is still illegal according to federal law, which applies even in states that have legalized marijuana. Because of this, businesses dealing in legal marijuana encounter difficulty following federal tax and banking rules.

Marijuana controversies

There are many legal and economic problems to sort out if marijuana is to be legal.

Most legalization proposals regulate and tax marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol or tobacco. In 2019, a bill to legalize recreational use passed the New Hampshire House. The bill would have taxed the drug, limited the places it can be used, and restricted it to users over 21 years old. This bill stalled in the Senate because of disagreements about how to legalize the drug. Some of the many objections that led to the bill’s failure in the Senate included:

  • Disagreements about how high (if any) to set a tax on marijuana
  • Disagreements about how much money the state can hope to raise through taxation
  • Difficulties enforcing marijuana DWI laws
  • Potential links between marijuana and psychosis

What you can do

Care about whether marijuana is legal for recreational use in New Hampshire? Find your representatives and tell them what you think.

The sale and use of recreational marijuana are both currently illegal in New Hampshire. State law permits people with certain medical conditions to receive medical marijuana prescriptions. Learn about medical marijuana in New Hampshire. According to a 2019 UNH poll, 68% of New Hampshire residents support legalizing small amounts of marijuana while 27% are opposed.

Marijuana Legalization Bill Passes N.H. House

The New Hampshire House has again voted to legalize recreational marijuana.

Last year, the House passed a different bill for cannabis legalization, before it eventually died in the Senate.

The significance of the vote today is that legislators approved it by a veto-proof majority, said Rep. Renny Cushing, a Hampton Democrat who is co-sponsor of the bill.

The bill would permit adults to possess up to 3/4 of an ounce of cannabis and cultivate up to six cannabis plants.

As proposed, the state would not establish a commercial market for marijuana. Legislators said the bill is similar to what’s now legal in Vermont.

Governor Chris Sununu remains opposed to legalizing cannabis for adult use.

He is also against renewed efforts this year to allow patients enrolled in the state’s therapeutic cannabis to grow a limited amount. The Senate passed such a bill earlier this month.

Supporters of legalization say New Hampshire should follow neighboring states in permitting adults to possess limited amounts of marijuana. Advocates are hopeful that removing any proposed tax, regulatory and retail market structure helps win approval in Concord.

Cushing says the bill now goes to the Senate.

The New Hampshire House has again voted to legalize recreational marijuana. Last year, the House passed a different bill for cannabis legalization , before