The New Hampshire Senate on Thursday voted down the House-approved cannabis legalization bill by a 14-10 margin, the New Hampshire Bulletin reports. The vote was mostly across party lines and came after the chamber’s Judiciary Committee opposed the measure as “inexpedient to legislate.”
Democratic Sen. Lou D’Allesandro, the chamber’s longest-serving member, voted against the bill while Republican Sen. Keith Murphy voted in favor.
“It would say to our children that marijuana is safe and could be used without harmful consequences and nothing could be further from the truth.” — D’Allesandro during Thursday’s debate via New Hampshire Public Radio
Lawmakers opposing the measure cited the state’s ongoing opioid crisis, traffic safety, the bill’s public consumption provisions, and potential effect on children as reasons they opposed the reforms. Proponents argued that New Hampshire adults are already consuming cannabis, that legalization would lead to multimillions of dollars in tax revenues for the state, and that polling shows a majority of New Hampshire adults back the reforms – a University of New Hampshire poll from February found 71% of residents support broad cannabis legalization.
During the debate, Democratic Sen. Becky Whitley argued that it’s “undeniable” that “youth already use marijuana” and that legalization would lead to a “decrease in that use.”
The state House has passed previous legalization bills only for them to be rejected, or not considered, by the Senate. Republican Gov. Chris Sununu has long opposed the reforms but said last year he could see signing the “right” legislation.
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