New Hampshire Senate Votes to Study Legal Cannabis Sales Through State-Run Shops

The New Hampshire Senate voted to create a commission to study implementing an adult-use cannabis legalization process that would put dispensaries under state control.

Full story after the jump.

The New Hampshire Senate on Thursday voted to create a commission to study cannabis legalization after Gov. Chris Sununu (R) said he would back the reforms if sales occurred in state-run dispensaries, InDepthNH reports. The amendment to create the commission was included in a bill to expand the definition of who can enroll in the state’s medical cannabis program and passed the chamber on a voice vote. 

The New Hampshire House last month passed a broad cannabis legalization bill but the Senate rejected the measure last week. The day after the Senate vote, Sununu appeared on WMUR’s CloseUp and said he would sign a cannabis legalization bill that includes a sales structure through state-run shops, similar to how the state sells liquor. In the interview, he described cannabis legalization in New Hampshire as “probably inevitable in some way or form.” 

The commission would be tasked with studying the feasibility of establishing a state-controlled system to sell cannabis. It would explore how to keep cannabis away from kids and out of schools; how to control marketing and messaging cannabis sales; how to allow local control; and how to reduce multi-drug use. 

The commission would also seek to prevent so-called “marijuana miles,” which Sununu blasted in the interview with CloseUp as “pot shop, after pot shop, after pot shop,” in Maine and Massachusetts. 

The commission would also determine how to allow adult-use sales and not impose additional taxes.    

The first meeting of the commission would be held within 45 days of the bill’s passage and a final report would be due by December 1, 2023. 

The measure still requires House approval before moving to Sununu for final approval. 

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