New Hampshire marijuana vote
New Hampshire marijuana vote

New Hampshire House Approves Marijuana Legalization, Will the Senate Agree?

New Hampshire borders many legal states and is getting ready to approve cannabis legalization

Posted by:
BehindTheWaves on Tuesday Jan 18, 2022

New Hampshire marijuana vote

Could this be the start of the same cycle in which a cannabis bill gets approved by the house and then dumped by the Senate?

Last week, the resilient New Hampshire House again voted to support marijuana legalization. The approved bill permits the personal use and cultivation of marijuana by residents above the age of 21.


Another Merry-go-round?

At least two other similar bills have been killed in the Senate since 2019. This recent bill which has been sent up to the Senate, would permit adults in the state to possess at most three-quarters of an ounce of cannabis. They would also be given the freedom to plant six cannabis plants in their homes for personal use.This approved bill was introduced to the house with another during Summer last year. Both were retained to be modified. The vote which took place some days ago passed the House with five extra votes. The house has a veto-proof majority to guard against a Governor's veto.


Uniting To Legalize Cannabis

If this new bill scales through the state senate, New Hampshire will become one of the few states to legalize recreational cannabis in the United States of America. The road to realizing this dream has been filled with ups and downs and a governor who opposes the proposal.

The other times the bill was passed in the house, it defied party lines and showed the standard view everyone had about legalizing weed. But, it failed to do the same at the state senate. Cannabis legislation has the potential to single-handedly raise the economy of New Hampshire to greater heights. The absurd aspect of the senate's refusal to approve this bill is that it has not kept the drug out of the state. Without legislation, the black market is profitable despite the prohibition.


A Governor who opposes Legalization

The Governor of New Hampshire, Chris Sununu, has been vocal about his stance against recreational cannabis legalization. So, it is possible that the bill might still be vetoed if it crosses the Senate to the Governor's desk. A poll showed that about 75% of residents support this bill. A reporter jokingly stated that cannabis legalization is more popular than the governor.

Many suspects that cannabis legalization could be used as an electoral instrument in this year's mid-elections. Governor Sununu, in his race to the U.S, may finally read the weed leaves in the state to openly support its legalization. His main reason for doing this won't be his love for cannabis decriminalization but rather a move to bring cannabis voters to his tent. His main competition for the seat, Senator Maggie Hassan, is also a stoic non-supporter of cannabis legalization. With both aspirants being on the same page opposing cannabis reforms, it won't come as a surprise if one switches sides to show support when the race gets closer. If this current bill is passed by the Senate, the issue may not turn out this way.


Cannabis Legalization in the Country

Like New Hampshire, the country has also been disappointed several times in its quest for federal cannabis legislation. At least 65% of Americans support cannabis legalization, sales, and use, but lawmakers have been unable to unite and pass a bill to the president to approve. For a popular measure like cannabis legalization, it has been Baffling to see that the country is yet to have any reform whatsoever to decriminalize the substance.

Hopes were really high late last year about the SAFE Act that had been included in the National Defense, but just at the last minute, it was pulled out at the senate. The federal government's continued stance against Cannabis decriminalization has become a perfect excuse for politicians to avoid talks on cannabis legalization. Most of the aspirants vying for posts in the mid-elections this year have dodged cannabis legalization. Many of them said they would defer legalization until the substance is federally decriminalized. This excuse is unacceptable, being that over half the states have a form of implemented cannabis reform.

In a few weeks, new bills will be introduced to decriminalize cannabis in the House and Senate. Senator Chuck Schumer may once again be one of the sponsors of the bills.


Cannabis In New Hampshire

New Hampshire has medical cannabis legislation. The state approved the use and sales of medical cannabis in 2014. It was signed into law by Governor Hassan.

The state's medical cannabis program kick-started operations in 2016. Patients were finally allowed access to regulated and alternative health centers.

Patients under the program have conditions like PTSD, multiple sclerosis, cancer, Parkinson disease, HIV/AIDS, muscular dystrophy, glaucoma, spinal cord injury, lupus, Alzheimer's disease, ALS, hepatitis C, Crohn's disease, chronic pancreatitis, ulcerative colitis, nausea, fatigue, chronic pain, and opioid use disorder. The law only permits patients to possess two ounces (at a time) of medical cannabis purchased legally from licensed dispensaries.

Minors can be registered under the state's medical cannabis program. The parents or guardians must be on standby to monitor the patient's use of the drug. They must also register to prove that they are in charge of the patient's health care decisions.

In 2019, Governor Sununu vetoed the bill which would have permitted the cultivation of medical cannabis for personal use by patients or their caregivers. Still, their caregiver can pick up their drugs for them at the dispensaries. One caregiver can attend up to patients. Sununu insisted that any patient or caregiver caught planting cannabis at home will be charged with a felony.


Bottom Line

While we hope that the bill will cross the Senate during this run, it is not a wrong suggestion to seek a plan B if this falls through again.

The lawmakers must understand that they are pushing back an inevitable movement. Sooner or later, New Hampshire will have a law permitting the use of recreational cannabis—even if the road is more arduous than expected. Recreational cannabis law is crossing the finishing line soon, and expect more cannabis-related bills in the coming months.





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