Members of the New Hampshire House of Representatives on Wednesday voted to advance a bill to legalize recreational cannabis in the Granite state.
House members voted 234 to 127 to present the bill to the committee for further consideration.
The bill would “legalize the possession and use of cannabis by adults over the age of 21” while also “allowing existing alternative treatment centers to expand their role in marijuana production to supply local retailers and to increase the availability of alcoholic beverages.” The commission could take on a greater oversight role.” According to local news station WMUR.
Wednesday’s approval in the House of Representatives was described by local news station NECN as “the first big test”, but the bill appears to be a long way from becoming law.
Republicans control the New Hampshire legislature, known as the state’s general court, but the two legislatures have long been divided over the issue of marijuana legalization.
The House of Representatives is pushing for the repeal of Prohibition, but the state Senate is not participating.
After state lawmakers approved the legalization bill last year, the bill was quickly defeated in the state Senate by a vote of 15-9.
Republican Governor Chris Sununu, on the other hand, has consistently opposed the policy.
“I always say now is not the time. “There may be a way to do it, but given the opioid crisis we’re in, we don’t yet know what will work in other states,” he said during the gubernatorial debate. Given that, it may be inevitable.You do it and follow the best steps for New Hampshire.
Last month, the governor’s office rejected the latest possible legalization proposal.
The governor’s office said it “failed repeatedly in the Senate in both Republican-led years and Democrat-led eras.” “With teenage drug use and overdoses on the rise, it is not expected that Congress will see this as the time to ignore the data and move forward.”
Proponents of the proposal in the state House of Representatives argue that New Hampshire is losing potential tax revenue to other northeastern states that have already legalized recreational marijuana.
“We want to ensure that New Hampshire citizens don’t have to leave the state to practice ‘free to live or die,'” said Republican Rep. John Hunt. Quoted from local news station NECN.
According to the station “Other supporters said the bill would ensure the safety of cannabis and allow for important local input in permitting and licensing facilities.” It highlighted the dangers of
“Don’t be fooled by the for-profit addiction industry that claims tax revenue will solve all your budget problems.” Quoted from NECN“It will change our condition in unimaginable ways, none of which will advance the public good.”
The latest legalization bill, approved by the House of Representatives on Wednesday, states that “state Liquor Commissions will be responsible for regulating marijuana, with a 15% tax at the cultivation level,” while “most of the tax revenue will go to state pensions.” There are also state education trust funds that secure drug abuse prevention programs and police training that can be used to ease the burden. ”
Polls show legalization has broad support among New Hampshire voters.