Lawmakers in the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted 209-147 in favor of legislation that would legalize and regulate adult cannabis use, the Associated Press reports.
Under HB 481, adults who are 21 or older would be allowed to possess up to 28 grams of cannabis flower and grow up to six plants at home. The bill would also establish a regulatory commission to create rules for and manage a commercial cannabis industry that is expected to generate $33 million in annual taxes.
“I know change is hard. It’s a little scary,” the bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Renny Cushing (D), said ahead of the vote. “But I think now is the time that New Hampshire makes the transition from prohibition to real legalization, taxation and regulation.”
New Hampshire Democrats, who added legalization to their platform last year, recently gained control of both the House and Senate. Republican Gov. Chris Sununu, however, has already promised to veto the legislation and it’s not clear if Democrats would get the two-thirds majority required to overrule the governor.
State Rep. Cushing, however, said he believes the bill will eventually become law. “I’m confident that the force of history is with us,” he said.
“The House vote highlights just how little support remains for maintaining marijuana prohibition in the Granite State. Most New Hampshire residents agree it is time to legalize and regulate cannabis. There is no reason to continue punishing adults for consuming a substance that is less harmful than alcohol, and it is counterproductive to force them into a potentially dangerous illegal market to access it.” — Matt Simon, New England Political Director for the Marijuana Policy Project, in a press release
New Hampshire is bordered by Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, and Canada — each of which has already ended cannabis prohibition. The nearby states of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut are also considering adult-use legalization this year.