The New Hampshire House of Representatives voted 169-156 last week to legalize cannabis for adult use in the state; however, the bill would create a state-run monopoly system, the Associated Press reports. Under the plan, the state Liquor Commission would regulate the cultivation and sale of cannabis in at least 10 stores.
The vote comes less than three months after the Republican-controlled chamber approved a separate measure that would legalize personal possession and cultivation of cannabis for adults 21-and-older. That bill, which still requires Senate approval, would allow adults to possess up to 3/4 of an ounce of cannabis – which is already decriminalized in New Hampshire – and allow personal cultivation of up to six plants. The proposal passed the lower chamber with a five-vote, veto-proof majority.
During an interview last month with WCVB 5 “On the Record,” Republican Gov. Chris Sununu said that while he doesn’t support broad cannabis legalization, he called the bill approved last week by lawmakers “the way to do” legalization. He indicated that he opposed the reforms because the state had just gotten the opioid crisis under control.
Both of New Hampshire’s border states, Massachusetts and Vermont, have already legalized cannabis for adult use. Sales to adults began in Massachusetts in 2018 while Vermont’s initial bill in 2018 legalized possession and use but not sales – a separate bill to allow sales was passed by Vermont lawmakers in 2020 but sales have yet to commence in the Green Mountain State.
Previous efforts to legalize cannabis in New Hampshire have failed as the House has passed the reforms three times in four years but they have never been approved by the Senate.
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