The New Hampshire Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday recommended the state’s cannabis legalization bill as “inexpedient to legislation,” which could doom the measure in the full chamber, the New Hampshire Bulletin reports. The party-line vote was 3-2.
Senate Majority Leader Sharon Carson (R), the chairwoman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told the Bulletin that while she recognizes “the diverse opinions surrounding the legalization of recreational drugs, now is not the right time for such a measure.”
“New Hampshire, like many other states, is grappling with the devastating impact of the drug crisis on individuals, families, and communities. … We have an existing medical marijuana program that serves the needs of individuals with legitimate medical conditions. Our focus should remain on ensuring that patients have access to the care they need while also prioritizing public safety.” — Carson via the Bulletin
State Sen. Becky Whitley (D), who voted not to kill the bill, noted that polling has found more than 70% of New Hampshire residents back the reforms, which were passed by the House in early April.
“…I just think it’s pretty rare to have an issue or a policy that is so broadly supported,” Whitley said in an interview with the Bulletin. “And so I think not acting on that – I think sends a pretty strong message to our constituents.”
Gov. Chris Sununu (R) opposed cannabis legalization in the state and at a press conference earlier this month suggested the state should not legalize cannabis until its other drug problems are under control.
“You don’t legalize more drugs for money,” Sununu said during the press conference. “Like, that’s just that’s not why you do it.”
The Senate is expected to vote on the bill on Thursday.
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