Lawmakers in the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted Wednesday to move forward with legislation that would legalize recreational cannabis in the Granite State.
Members of the House of Representatives voted 234-127 to submit the bill to a committee for further consideration.
The measure would “make the possession and use of cannabis legal for adults 21 and over,” while enabling “existing alternative treatment centers to expand their role in marijuana production to supply local retailers, with the Liquor Commission potentially taking on a greater oversight role.” According to local news station WMUR.
Local news station NECN called Wednesday’s House approval “the first big test,” but the legislation still looks like a long shot at becoming law.
Republicans control the New Hampshire legislature, known as the state’s general court, but the two chambers have long been divided on the issue of legalizing marijuana.
While the House pushed for an end to Prohibition, the Senate was not on board.
After members of the House of Representatives approved a legalization bill last year, the measure was promptly voted down in the state Senate by a vote of 15 to 9.
Meanwhile, Republican Governor Chris Sununu has consistently been opposed to politics.
“I’ve always said now is not the time. Every state does it very differently. I’ve always wanted to see what works and what doesn’t work,” Sununu said last year during a debate in the state’s gubernatorial race. That but because we’re on the opioid crisis, because we still don’t know what works for other states, that might be inevitable, and I understand that, but you have to be patient with how you do that and what steps are best for the state of New Hampshire.” .
Last month, the governor’s office Chances rejected the latest legalization proposal.
“She has failed the Senate again and again, in both Republican-controlled and Democratic-controlled years,” the governor’s office said. “With drug abuse and overdoses among teens on the rise, it is not expected that the legislature will see this as a time to ignore the data and move forward with it.”
Defenders of the proposal in the state House of Representatives contend that New Hampshire is missing out on potential tax revenue for other states throughout the Northeast that have already legalized recreational cannabis.
“I want to make sure that the citizens of New Hampshire don’t have to go out of state to practice ‘live free or die,'” said House Republican Representative John Hunt. According to local news station NECN.
According to the station, “Other supporters said the bill would ensure the safety of cannabis and allow for significant local input in permits and licensing for facilities,” while opponents of the measure focused on the danger of teen use and cited strong opposition from the law enforcement community. ”
“Don’t be fooled by the for-profit addiction industry that claims that tax revenue will solve all of our budget problems,” said GOP House Rep. Lily Walsh, As quoted by NECN. “It would change our condition in unimaginable ways, none of which would advance the common good.”
The latest legalization bill approved by the House of Representatives on Wednesday “would put the state liquor commission in charge of marijuana regulation, with a 15% tax at the cultivation level,” while most of “the tax revenue would go toward reducing the state’s pension liability.” and the State Education Trust Fund, with some earmarked for drug abuse prevention and police training programs.”
Polls have shown that legalization has broad support among New Hampshire voters.