The New Hampshire House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee has rejected a bill to legalize cannabis for adult-use, citing conflicts with federal law and public health consequences, the Concord Monitor reports. The bill failed to pass out of the committee 13-7, with member of both parties voting not to recommend the bill move to the house.
Committee members who supported the measure argued that a tax-and-regulate system would put the state in line with its border states – Maine and Massachusetts – help reduce crime rates and keep people out of the criminal justice system, and help keep people off of opioids.
Republican Rep. Larry Gagne said legalization allows citizens to exercise their free will.
“It’s a choice of an individual to decide to do it,” he said in the report. “If the education comes from the household in the proper way, then the kids won’t do it.”
Rep. Renny Cushing, a Democrat, said that he supported the legislation because many lawmakers have realized that “the war on marijuana has been a failure” and the state should be handling cannabis use as a “public health matter” rather than a “criminal justice matter.”
In July, Gov. Chris Sununu signed a cannabis decriminalization measure, making possession up to three-quarters of an ounce and up to five grams of “hashish” by adults 18-and-older a violation rather than a misdemeanor. The law took effect on Sept. 16.