A bill aimed at legalizing recreational cannabis for those 21 and older in New Hampshire received preliminary approval by the state’s House of Representatives today. The bill, House Bill 492, passed by a 170-162 vote in favor of sending it along to a tax committee for review before the house takes a final vote. To succeed the bill, which would regulate marijuana like alcohol and establish regulations for retail cannabis production and sale, will have to receive the approval of the full House before moving on to the Senate and finally the governor.
The bill faces a hard road ahead, the New Hampshire Senate rejected a decriminalization bill last year, and Gov. Maggie Hassan, despite signing a medical marijuana bill into law last year, has vowed to veto to the bill if it reaches her desk. Even with the obstacles in the future, those in favor of legalization are claiming a victory.
“This vote is historic,” NORML Communications Director Erik Altieri said through a blog post today. “Today’s vote approving House Bill 492 is the first time a chamber of a state legislature has ever approved of legislation to legalize and regulate marijuana for all adults. Fifty-eight percent of Americans support ending our prohibition on marijuana and the New Hampshire General Assembly’s actions today signal that politicians are finally beginning to acknowledge the will of their constituents.”
If passed into law, HB 492 would allow adults to grow up to six plants, with fewer than three mature flowing plants at a time, in enclosed, locked spaces. In addition, adults could possess and transfer up to an ounce to others 21 and older “without remuneration.” The bill’s passage would also allow the state to excise taxes on retail cannabis at a rate of 15 percent of the sales price.