New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) on Monday introduced two apparent non-negotiables to any adult-use cannabis framework in the state: a 15-store cap and a ban on lobbying and political contributions by any cannabis licensee, the New Hampshire Bulletin reports. The demands came as the state commission studying a state-run model – similar to the state’s liquor model – was preparing to wrap up its duties.
David Mara, Sununu’s adviser on addiction and behavioral health, told the Bulletin that the administration is “adamant about that number, 15” as they “don’t want to see a proliferation of what’s happening in other states.”
“The worry here is that we don’t want to create a big tobacco atmosphere here in New Hampshire. We don’t want it to be where a lot of money is being thrown around.” — Mara to the Bulletin
Initially, the commission had discussed capping the number of adult-use dispensaries to the number of liquor stores in the state, of which there are 67.
Last April, the state House approved an adult-use legalization bill but the Senate voted down the legislation the following month as Sununu pushed back on the reforms, stating that he would prefer a state control model.
Mara said that in the future lawmakers could change the number of stores depending on “how things progress.”
A representative from Sununu’s office told the Bulletin that “The governor is open to discussing a franchisee-based system, but the success of such a model is in the details. The governor has been clear that any system meet his outlined framework – or be met with a veto.”
Sununu has generally opposed broad cannabis legalization in the state but said in May that the reforms are “probably inevitable in some way or form.” He said the state-run model would offer an “amazing tool to control location, to control where it is, to control how it’s marketed, how it’s distributed, keeping it away from kids.” He added that he wants to avoid what he describes as the “Marijuana Miles” in Massachusetts and Maine, which he says are stretches of “pot shop, after pot shop, after pot shop” which “completely changes the fabric of the town.”
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