Eyes Turn to New Hampshire as House Votes on Marijuana Legalization Today

Eyes Turn to New Hampshire as House Votes on Marijuana Legalization Today

CONCORD, NH — Supporters of marijuana legalization will rally at the State House in Concord today as the New Hampshire House is scheduled to vote on House Bill 492, a bill that would legalize and tax marijuana in the state.

If passed, House Bill 492 would  legalize up to 1 ounce of marijuana for recreational use for anyone age 21 and older  and allow adults to grow up to six plants for personal use.

The bill would allow for licensed and regulated marijuana retail stores, in addition to licensed facilities to cultivate, and manufacture marijuana. The bill would also impose a $30 per ounce tax on retail sales.

State Rep. Steve Vaillancourt, a Manchester Republican supporting the bill, says the legislation is modeled after one approved by Colorado voters last year and is similar to one Washington voters passed.

“Nothing in the bill would allow anyone to drive under the influence of marijuana or any other substance. By legalizing, regulating and taxing (marijuana), society would in effect be taking the profit away from illegal operations which truly harm society,” he wrote fellow representatives in support of the bill.

Vaillancourt said taxing marijuana would produce millions of dollars in tax revenue. He noted that the bill would not be effective until July 1 to provide time to implement it properly.

Opponents argue marijuana is bad for people’s health and would be difficult to regulate.

Criminal Justice and Public Safety Chairwoman Laura Pantelakos also noted that marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

“If New Hampshire were to legalize and regulate marijuana, it would create an unclear picture of the state versus federal law enforcement, particularly since the (Department of Justice) has stated it will rely on states that legalize to strictly enforce and regulate marijuana,” Pantelakos said in a report to the House. She said that could shift regulatory costs onto the state.

Lawmakers have considered but rejected decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana for recreational use in the past, most recently last session.

But decriminalization supporters were encouraged when the state — with Gov. Maggie Hassan‘s limited backing — made it legal for the seriously ill to possess and use the drug earlier this year. Implementing the state’s medical marijuana law is expected to take a year.

If the bill passes the House, it faces a doubtful future. The Senate rejected a bill to decriminalize possession of up to one-quarter ounce of marijuana last year, and Gov. Hassan opposes decriminalization.

A similar bill, HB 1705, fell one vote short of being approved by the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee  in 2012.

  • malcolmkyle

    We are actually experiencing a de facto civl war between the majority (those who embrace reason and function in the real world of cause and effect) and the prohibitionists, who, numbed by their isolation and despair, are seeking meaning in a mythical world that can never, ever, be reality-based. A world of deceit and lies, of blood and corpses—a world of complete social and economic collapse.

    Prohibitionists are not only infantile, their insatiable need to inflict suffering on the rest of us and their greed for both money and power is a threat to every single civic institution of our “once proud and free” nation. Their final objective, a drug-free society, toward which all their deceit is directed, is not even obtainable in a single maximum security prison anywhere on this planet.

    Prohibitionists claim to be protecting society, but they would gladly destroy every single liberty guaranteed by the Constitution.

    • VincentVonDudler

      It’s happening man. Remember when this issue seemed helpless just two years ago? We’re getting there. :D Thank you for your diligent work, man.

    • kelley davis

      Nicely argued.Next there will be prohibitionist survival bunkers. “

    • jimheffner

      Thank you, malcolmkyle. At some future point I’m going to want to celebrate our overall victory and salute all the people who have continued to fight the propaganda, lies, and shaky at best ‘scientific studies’ that are almost instantly refuted by solid research. It’s easy to forget all the years this fight has gone on when all the focus is on our success in the recent years, but it’s gonna get tougher when the prohibitionists face up to legalization as inevitable. Their tactics are already showing signs of panic. They have no shame in crying wolf with pimping ‘our children’ as a fear button and ignoring hard facts. As the dominoes fall we are seeing more over-regulation and nitpicking at every study and every proven medical use. It’s still too early to leave the stadium, there’s time left on the clock. One ounce and up to six plants is sufficient for most individual needs but don’t forget, more laws equal more criminals. My mantra has been ‘Repeal prohibition’ followed by ‘lets send the nannies back to the nursery.’

  • Del Horton

    Lets make some freedom and money instead of supporting a failed war on our loved ones.

  • tennesseetuxedo59

    light up or leave me alone

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  • todd

    Ill smoke either way soooo.