New Hampshire House Tables Cannabis Legalization Bill

New Hampshire House Tables Cannabis Legalization Bill

New Hampshire Senate Approves Cannabis Legalization Bill.

  1. Senate approved the Cannabis Legalization Bill in New Hampshire.
  2. House decision leaves New Hampshire Cannabis Legalization Bill unclear.
  3. The bill’s failure delays potential reform, leaving future efforts uncertain.

The New Hampshire Senate approved a marijuana legalization bill, but the House voted to table it, effectively halting it for now. The legislation aimed to create a state-regulated system for cannabis sales, making New Hampshire the 25th state to legalize marijuana. Governor Chris Sununu, who is not seeking reelection, indicated he might sign the bill, though both leading Republican candidates oppose legalization. The bill’s failure delays potential reform, leaving future efforts uncertain.

The New Hampshire Senate had approved the bill, bringing hope to many cannabis legalization advocates. Governor Sununu mentioned publicly that New Hampshire “tried to take into consideration that if we’re going to do it, develop the best system not just in the region, but probably in the country,” emphasizing safety and minimizing children’s access to cannabis. Yet, this forward momentum was halted by the House’s decision.

Marijuana Moment reported that Rep. Jared Sullivan (D), a vocal opponent of the bill, criticized the proposed legislation as “the most intrusive, big-government marijuana program proposed anywhere in the country.” Sullivan’s comments reflect a broader concern among some lawmakers about the bill’s structure and implications. He stated, “I must admit, 1633 is proving to be a pretty stubborn bill that refuses to die. I, like many in this room, seriously want to legalize cannabis sales in New Hampshire. But the fact is, despite the recent tweaks, this remains a terrible bill.”

Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, emailed Marijuana Moment to express disappointment: “It’s a sad day to see legalizers kill legalization. While HB 1633 was an imperfect bill, it is far easier to revise a law than to pass a bill from scratch—especially if the next governor is a prohibitionist.” O’Keefe’s comments underscore the frustration felt by many legalization advocates, as the bill’s failure means continued legal challenges for New Hampshire residents.

Rep. Erica Layon, who supported the compromise bill, voiced her support during public discussion saying, “We have the opportunity today to make history as the 25th state to legalize cannabis. Most of this bill won’t go into effect until 2026, which gives us more time to fight about some of the challenges and some of the concerns we have about this bill.” Layon’s remarks highlight the potential for future revisions and improvements to the bill.

During public discussion, Sen. Shannon Chandley (D) expressed this sentiment, acknowledging that while the bill was not perfect, it represented a significant step forward. “At this point, it’s not perfect. We know that whenever we pass a major piece of legislation, it is seldom perfect. We may need to revisit this, but right now, one of the things that I think is most important is that this bill does address what the people of our state want. More than 70 percent of our residents do not believe cannabis should be illegal,” she said.

The tabling of the cannabis legalization bill in New Hampshire delays potential reform, but continued support from residents and key lawmakers suggests the fight for legalization will continue.

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Region: New Hampshire

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