Written in Granite: New Hampshire may OK Recreational Marijuana
State is region’s final holdout.
NASHUA - It seems like Gov. Chris Sununu is ready to “play” now when it comes to the recreational use of marijuana. New Hampshire remains the sole New England state that still hasn’t legalized use for Granite State adults. But it appears that could be changing.
“With the right policy and framework in place, I stand ready to sign a legalization bill that puts the State of New Hampshire in the driver’s seat,” the governor recently announced.
Members of The House Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee will vote on a legalization amendment during an executive session this week (more on that below).
It’s been a long and winding road for cannabis. If you look back to the 1970s, pot was very controversial, underground and considered a “gateway drug” into the harder stuff. President Richard Nixon’s war on drugs added marijuana to the list of the most dangerous substances in Congress’ Controlled Substances Act. Cannabis was classified as a Schedule 1 drug along with heroin and LSD. That meant it had no valid medical value and had a high potential for abuse.
I chuckle now when I recall my late newspaper father, John, warning me as a naive teen to be careful with whom I kept company. The conversation went something like this:
“You could be out on a date, and let’s say he takes you parking somewhere and then lights up a joint. The police happen to show up and arrest the young man for possession. And you could be charged for ‘knowingly being present where a controlled drug was found,’ even if you didn’t take a puff or it wasn’t your marijuana.”
I recall that tough law in New Hampshire (not sure exactly how it was applied) because I often read countless arrests for “knowingly being present where a controlled drug was found” in the Nashua Telegraph police blotter. It seemed like an unfair statute and then disappeared at some point.
Those were certainly different times and today, cannabis has gone from counterculture to big business, and its potency continues to increase as strains become more specialized. This is high-tech grown and harvested some would argue, and there are Baby Boomers who don’t think the high is the same. For instance, a reader named Roscoe B. commented in an article from Leafly.com about the differences between cannabis today and cannabis from the 1970s:
“Perhaps there needs to be an ‘heirloom’ grow-movement. We could still apply modern cultivation techniques, but stick with landrace weed that has not been so drastically genetically manipulated. I, too, am puzzled why this modern lab weed can be so strong, but ultimately so uninteresting in effect…”
Maybe so, but even famous, old-time stoners such as Cheech (76) and Chong (85) launched their own cannabis company about a year ago. “Big business means big money, means big supply chain, and we’ve got all that,” Tommy Chong told MetroNews.com.
Our Bay State friends are also reaping the benefits. In 2021, Massachusetts marijuana tax revenue raked in $176,731,045.43.
The Granite State could jump into the bowl so to speak and generate millions for the state as the New Hampshire Liquor Commission regulates and sells cannabis under the latest amended proposal. The way I understand it, adults (21 and older) could possess up to 4 ounces of marijuana or 20 grams of concentrated cannabis products. Home cultivation would not be permitted, and no tax would be imposed on cannabis products.
This could all go “up in smoke,” but time will tell.