New Hampshire is on the brink of a major revolution in marijuana legislation, with lawmakers recently sending a bill to the governor’s desk to form a study commission on cannabis legalization. With Governor Sununu proclaiming that reform is “inevitable,” the Granite State is on track to join the ranks of states that have approved marijuana legalization. It’s been an impressive legislative effort that could drastically alter the landscape of cannabis in New Hampshire – let’s take a closer look.
1. A Path to New Hampshire Marijuana Legalization
The movement for marijuana legalization in New Hampshire is gaining strength every day. Cannabis advocacy groups and activists have been working hard to bring the issue to the forefront of the state’s political and social arenas. Advocates have made significant progress in pushing for the passage of House Bill 481, which would legalize, regulate, and tax cannabis for adult-use in New Hampshire.
The bill offers a viable path forward on marijuana reform and enjoys strong constituent support. Polls show 70% of Granite Staters support legalization of marijuana, making New Hampshire one of the most pro-cannabis states in the nation. Additionally, the bill has bipartisan support in the legislature, making it a viable option to push marijuana reform in the state.
The bill includes the following provisions:
- Legalization of marijuana for those 21 and over
- Establishing of a Cannabis Regulatory Commission to oversee regulation and taxation of the marijuana industry
- Expungement of records for non-violent marijuana offenses
- Allowing for cities and towns to make their own decisions on regulating marijuana businesses and consumption within their borders
The bill is seen as a way to bring improved access to medical marijuana, create jobs, and generate revenue for the state. Proponents of the bill hope that it will finally bring an end to decades of cannabis prohibition in New Hampshire. The bill is currently under review in the state legislature and is expected to come to a vote soon.
2. Examining the Marijuana Legalization Study Commission Bill
At its core, the marijuana legalization study commission bill attempts to provide a logical solution to the nation’s complicated relationship with the drug. The commission, composed of representatives from the government, the public health sector, and the criminal justice sector, would collaborate to complete a comprehensive study of the pros and cons of legalizing marijuana.
The bill is also responsible for outlining the parameters of the study, including:
- The impact of legalizing marijuana on public health
- The financial and economic consequences of regulating marijuana production and sale
- The legalization of marijuana’s effects on the criminal justice system
- The efficacy of various regulatory systems
When finished, the commission would report their findings to the legislature and provide recommendations on how to best move forward with marijuana legalization. Though still in the draft stages, the bill has the potential to be an invaluable resource in better understanding marijuana’s role in our society and implementing effective change.
3. Governor Sununu Affirms Support of Marijuana Reform
New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu has recently come forward to affirm his support for the recent marijuana reforms on both the Senate and House floors. On the Senate floor, the bill was co-sponsored by Senators Feltes and Soucy, and presented several measures to decriminalize certain marijuana offenses. On the House floor, the reform is geared towards reducing potential sentencing length, as well as other smaller adjustments.
These reforms have been widely praised throughout New Hampshire, and Governor Sununu jumped at the chance to vocalize his support. He made sure to emphasize how these changes will have an immensely beneficial effect on the lives of those facing marijuana-related charges. Governor Sununu added that local state and county prosecutors will now have more flexibility when looking at sentencing for these types of charges in the future.
Legislation Lasted Overview
- Co-sponsored by Senators Feltes and Soucy.
- Decriminalized certain marijuana offenses.
- Reduce potential sentencing length.
- Provides more flexibility for local prosecutors.
Governor Sununu’s support is just the beginning of potential change for marijuana reform in New Hampshire, and these efforts have been largely accepted by both sides of the aisle.
4. New Hampshire’s Inevitable Step to Marijuana Legalization
With growing pressure to legalize marijuana throughout the United States, New Hampshire is becoming more likely to join the ranks of other states who have chosen to respect individuals’ rights to access a plant without harsh repercussions. While some cannabis advocates around the country are getting more vocal in their call for legalization, several New Hampshire legislators are supporting a bill that would decriminalize the plant.
This move towards decriminalization is an important step towards full legalization in the near future. If this bill becomes law, New Hampshire will be in an advantageous spot to make the transition. Already, the state is known for providing its medical marijuana patients with access to comprehensive programs. Full legalization in the state would expand that access and provide the foundation for a thriving cannabis industry. Here are some of the key ways the bill could affect New Hampshire:
- It would make marijuana possession legal resulting in fewer arrests.
- It would create a retail market providing a safe and legal means of access to cannabis.
- It would open up the opportunity for much needed research and development.
As New Hampshire continues to evolve alongside the rest of the nation in terms of cannabis reform, it is inevitable that one day the state will eventually legalize marijuana. If passed, the current bill will help to create an environment where the plant can be accessed, used, and enjoyed without fear of punishment or prejudice.
With New Hampshire on the brink of possibly legalizing marijuana, it appears that industry reform is indeed inevitable. As more and more states follow suit with their own marijuana laws, only time will tell how the Granite State’s approach to the issue will change.