New Hampshire Senate Votes Down Cannabis Legalization Bills

Two bills to legalize cannabis were defeated in the New Hampshire Senate on Thursday, likely the last opportunity for enacting the reforms this year.

Full story after the jump.

The New Hampshire Senate on Thursday voted down two bills to legalize cannabis in the state, the New Hampshire Bulletin reports. The bills had been approved by the House of Representatives earlier this year.

One of the bills had been pared down to remove home grow provisions in an effort to make it more palatable to the Senate but came up two votes short, 11-13, the report says. The complete version of the bill was defeated 15-9.

The chamber also defeated the legalization bill that would have put the state Liquor Commission in charge of the industry – that measure was killed in a unanimous voice vote. The Senate Ways and Means Committee last week had deemed the legislation “inexpedient to legislate.”

During Thursday’s debate, state Sen. Becky Whitley noted that the Granite State “has become an island in New England” with “overly burdensome regulations of cannabis that are out of sync with what the scientific health and social data says.”

“Thirteen-point-nine times: That’s the number of times that Black people are more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession when compared to white people in Manchester, despite both groups using marijuana at roughly the same rate.” – Whitley via the Bulletin

According to a recent University of New Hampshire poll, 74% of New Hampshire adults support cannabis legalization; however, Republican Gov. Chris Sununu in March said he was unsure whether the state was ready for legalization.

The bill’s defeat in the Senate likely marks the last opportunity for enacting the reforms this year.

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