CONCORD, NH — After being endorsed by the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, a bill to decriminalize possession of up to a half ounce of marijuana will make its way to the New Hampshire House of Representatives for a vote.
The bill, if passed, would remove some criminal penalties for those who are found possessing up to a half ounce of marijuana for the first or second offense. Subsequent offenses could still result in jail time. A first time violation would net a $250 fine, with a second violation resulting in a $500 fine. Subsequent offenses could still face a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Under the bill, those under 21 could also be ordered into a drug awareness program.
If passed in the House, the bill would progress to the New Hampshire Senate for a vote. If the bill becomes law, New Hampshire would join fellow New England states Massachusetts, Maine and Connecticut in the decriminalization of small amounts marijuana.
Possession of any amount marijuana in New Hampshire is currently a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine up to $2,000, and offenders under 18 can lose their drivers license for up to a year. Sale or cultivation of any amount would remain a felony, even if the proposed bill becomes law.