Lawmakers in New Hampshire are continuing to work on a new piece of legislation that could legalize recreational weed.
Earlier this month, the bill cleared the New Hampshire House of Representatives. Now, it’s working its way through the Senate.
Most recently, the bill moved to the state’s Senate Judiciary Committee. That group is now considering whether or not to continue advancing the bill.
Will New Hampshire Legalize Recreational Cannabis?
The bill currently being looked at by the Senate Judiciary Committee would introduce a number of big changes to New Hampshire’s cannabis laws.
Most immediately, it would make it legal for adults to possess and consume cannabis for recreational purposes.
More specifically, it would be legal for adults 21 and up to possess up to an ounce of weed. Similarly, adults would be allowed to possess up to five grams of hash or concentrates.
Additionally, the bill would let adults grow their own weed at home. If it passes into law, adults could start growing up to six plants at a time.
And finally, the bill would also pave the way for a full scale retail system in the state. This would include infrastructure for regulating and monitoring the legal cannabis industry in New Hampshire.
At the same time, the bill is also written with a number of safeguards in place. This includes prohibiting the consumption of weed in vehicles. Similarly, it will still be illegal to smoke weed in public.
If the bill clears the Senate, it will still need to be signed into law by Governor Chris Sununu. And unfortunately for weed advocates in New Hampshire, Gov. Sununu has already said he would veto the bill.
In that scenario, the bill would need to receive a certain number of votes by other lawmakers to survive. According to local news source WMUR9, it seems unlikely that there would be enough votes to override a veto from Gov. Sununu.
The Debate Continues
With the bill now in the hands of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the debate over legalization in New Hampshire seems to be heating up.
As reported by WMUR9, 40 people have already signed up to speak to the Committee about the issue.
And from the sounds of things, lawmakers are divided on the issue. For those in favor of the bill, it represents a chance to fix the social harms caused by the war on drugs, and the war on cannabis in particular.
“One of the things this bill does is recognize that our 85-year-old war against cannabis has been a failure,” Rep. Renny Cushing told local media.
Advocates argue that the bill has enough safeguards in place to ensure that legalization would roll out smoothly and safely.
But not everyone agrees. In fact, there is still a large cohort of lawmakers who are opposed to legalization.
These lawmakers continue arguing that states where weed has been legalized have seen upticks in car crashes and emergency room visits.
Additionally, groups lobbying against the bill have claimed that the state will not bring in as much tax revenue as projections estimate.
In any case, the bill has been moving through the legislative process. It’s now in the hands of the Senate Judiciary Committee.