The New Hampshire House has voted against a bill that would have legalized the possession and cultivation of cannabis, as well as established a regulatory system for its commercial sale. The law, House Bill 1694, was one of three legalization proposals facing the House this session.
The bill would have included a hefty excise tax of $530 per ounce of cannabis flower and $15 per ounce of anything else derived from cannabis.
HB 1694 was sponsored by Reps. Geoffrey Hirsch (D-Merrimack), Joseph Lachance (R-Hillsborough), John O’Connor (R-Rockingham) and Mario Ratzki (D-Merrimack).
Rep. Hirsch commented that HB 1694 would have provided New Hampshire citizens with “…a controlled, tested, labeled, and less harmful alternative to alcohol” — a perfectly legal substance which in the U.S. alone claimed 50,000 lives last year, reports Gary Rayno of the State House Bureau.
The New Hampshire House has passed decriminalization bills in the past, but each time the Senate has eventually shot them down.
Cannabis reform is guaranteed to be a hot topic this election season, with several other New England states currently considering legalization laws and a growing number of voter initiatives coming online elsewhere that are aimed at the repeal of cannabis prohibition.