New Hampshire Lawmakers Prepare Legalization Bill

New Hampshire Public Radio reported that “the top Republicans and Democrats in the New Hampshire House of Representatives are teaming up to introduce legislation to legalize the possession and retail sale of marijuana in New Hampshire.”

Republicans control the House, and the top Republican, House Majority Leader Jason Osborne, has teamed up with House Democrat Majority Leader Matt Wilhelm to argue that the so-called “Life or Death Nation” is actually its motto. to protect

Osborne and Wilhelm want their colleagues in the state Senate, also Republican-controlled, to join them this time.

The state House of Representatives approved a bill to legalize cannabis in April, but the bill was later defeated by the state Senate.

“The House has been united for a long time to find a way to make this happen for the Granite Staters,” Osborne said. Quoted by New Hampshire Public Radio. “With any luck, the Senate will endorse the will of the majority of New Hampshire citizens.”

Wilhelm echoed It says legalizing the possession of small amounts of cannabis by adults is the right thing for New Hampshire and must get it done in 2023. ”

As Concord Monitor pointed out, New Hampshire stands as an outlier in the region as “the only state in New England that has not yet legalized marijuana.”

According to the outlet, the bill, which has not yet been formally introduced, would allow adults over the age of 21 to own up to 4 ounces of cannabis, protecting cultivation both at home and on state-licensed private property. and enable retail sales and establish state regulatory and licensing agencies.”

“This proposal to legalize cannabis for adult use in New Hampshire brings a variety of non-partisan perspectives. We bring solutions to reduce property taxes and provide additional resources for law enforcement,” Osborne said in a statement. As quoted by Concord Monitor.

There will be potential obstacles beyond the state Senate for Osborne and Wilhelm to pass legislation.

Republican Gov. Chris Sununu, who was elected to a fourth term last month, has long spoken out against cannabis legalization, saying it could exacerbate the existing crisis over fentanyl abuse.

“I’ve always said this is not the time. Different states do things very differently. I’ve always wanted to see what works and what doesn’t,” Sununu said. said at the governor’s debate this fall. concord monitor. “There may be a way to do it, but given that we’re in the opioid crisis and we don’t yet know what works in other states, it might be inevitable. No. You do it and follow the best steps for New Hampshire.

Proponents such as Osborne and Wilhelm argue that states have been left behind in the age of legalization and that prohibition continues to disproportionately affect people of color.

new hampshire public radio, Citing data from the American Civil Liberties Union, it reported that “1,120 people were charged with marijuana possession in New Hampshire in 2021 alone,” and that “blacks are more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana charges.” Much higher, although both groups use cannabis at similar rates.”

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