New Hampshire House approves marijuana legalization bill

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The bill will now be sent to the Senate for its review

In what ended up being a relatively close call, a recreational marijuana bill being discussed in the New Hampshire House barely survived. The bill would allow any adult 21 years old or older to possess, consume, cultivate and purchase cannabis from licensed retailers, and will now head over to the Senate for its vote.

The House only approved the bill by a vote of 200-163 – a margin that indicates that the bill does not have overwhelming support. Given that the state’s governor, Chris Sununu, is not a fan of legalized recreational marijuana, this could prove to be a key component if he decides to say no to the bill. It could also be a deal breaker if the bill were sent back to legislation to override the veto, as there isn’t enough support to negate Sununu’s decision.

Last week, the bill cleared the House Ways and Means committee. This was an important step, as this is where previous attempts to legalize recreational marijuana have failed. The political director for the Marijuana Policy Project in New England, Matt Simon, asserted, “The House should be applauded for seeking to end New Hampshire’s unfortunate status as an island of prohibition in a sea of freedom. Next, advocates will face the difficult task of trying to convince the Senate to stand up for sensible cannabis policies.”

Retail cannabis sales would be taxed at 9% and wholesale cannabis would be assessed a 5% tax. Medical cannabis, however, would not be taxed. Simon adds that the Senate vote “won’t be easy, but more and more legislators are coming around to the understanding that prohibition has failed, and the Granite State is more than ready to proceed with a new approach.”