Robert Linsdell

Maine and Mass. Legalization Could Affect Possession Laws in New Hampshire

A New Hampshire Democratic state Representative called the adult-use cannabis legalization in Maine and Massachusetts — two of New Hampshire’s border states — a “game changer,” saying it could pressure the state legislature to at least consider decriminalization of cannabis possession, according to a Seacoast Online report.

“There’s going to be a product that’s legally purchased and available to people on our borders,” Rep. Renny Cushing said in the report. “With that same product, someone goes to New Hampshire, they could have someone put in jail for a year.”

New Hampshire has a limited medical marijuana program, which does allow for out-of-state reciprocity for conditions listed on the state’s own qualifying condition list. According to an August report from the New Hampshire Union Leader, about 1,300 patients are registered under the New Hampshire program.

However, just because people could be driving through the state with cannabis legally obtained in either Maine or Massachusetts, at least one law enforcement official does not intend to increase efforts to arrest people for cannabis possession. Hampton Police Chief Richard Sawyer says he has more prominent priorities, such as the opioid crisis.

“In the world we live in today, there are much more serious issues we are dealing with,” Sawyer said in the report. “I have no intentions of increasing our efforts in that area.”

Nevertheless, Portsmouth Police Chief Davis Mara said until the legislature changes the state law regarding possession he would continue to make arrests.

“The bottom line is we have to enforce the law,” he said.

Seakbrook Police Chief Michael Gallagher suggested that people in possession of cannabis need to make sure they know where the New Hampshire border is because some roads weave throughout the borders.

Gov.-Elect Chris Sununu said he would support decriminalization legislation but that jumping “all the way to full legalization” was not a step the state should consider taking until it’s clear how other states deal with their new laws.

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