New Hampshire Lawmakers Working to Meet Governor’s Demands in Latest Cannabis Legalization Bid

New Hampshire lawmakers are working on an adult-use cannabis legalization proposal that would satisfy the demands of Gov. Chris Sununu, who rejected the state’s previous two legalization bids and called for lawmakers to propose a state-run dispensary model.

Full story after the jump.

Lawmakers in New Hampshire are again seeking to legalize adult-use cannabis this session, WMUR reports. This time, lawmakers are attempting to meet all of the terms set by Republican Gov. Chris Sununu – including state-run dispensaries – to avoid his veto. 

Last year, Sununu laid out his vision for a legal market in New Hampshire, which included a 15-store cap and a ban on lobbying and political contributions by cannabis licensees. After years of strong opposition to the reforms, Sununu admitted in an interview in May 2023 on WMUR’s CloseUp that adult-use legalization in the state “is probably inevitable in some way or form” but wants the state’s program to focus “on harm reduction as opposed to profits.” During the interview, Sununu said he would support reforms that included a state-run sales model, similar to the state’s liquor stores, which he said would prevent what he calls “Marijuana Miles” – or strings of “pot shop, after pot shop, after pot shop – that he’s seen in other states.    

In an interview with WMUR, Daryl Eames, of the New Hampshire Cannabis Association, pushed back on the state-run model, saying it could invite federal intervention by putting the state “directly under the purview of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the federal franchise regulations.” 

“…Which means, in theory, that if a franchisee decided that they were being treated unfairly, they could lodge a complaint with the FTC. And if the FTC finds it has merit, they could launch a federal investigation into the state of New Hampshire.” — Eames to WMUR 

Last year, the New Hampshire House passed for the third time broad, adult-use reforms but the Senate rejected that proposal, as it had both previous times. Following the failure in the Senate, lawmakers sought legislation that met Sununu’s model. The House Commerce Committee, however, couldn’t agree on how to proceed with a plan to implement the state-control system — with a major factor being how the state would treat the medical cannabis operators — and ultimately gave up on the effort.   

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