The saga of attempted marijuana legalization in New Hampshire is a story of several attempts and an equal number of blocks by Republican votes. With 2019 seeing a Democratic control of New Hampshire governing bodies, the story is expected to change.
On Dec. 27, a bipartisan bill was finalized (sponsored by Republican state Senator John Reagan and Democratic state Senator Martha Hennessy, as well as House Representatives Carol McGuire, John O’Connor and Jim Webb — all Republicans). The bill is set for introduction in January to start 2019 off favourably for marijuana legalization, with plans for the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee to view it first.
This bill outlines a plan to utilize $2 million to create a Cannabis Control Commission, with the funds to come from the projected $33 million in revenue that marijuana legalization would bring in for New Hampshire. The revenue is based on the proposed tax, which is $30 per ounce at the wholesale level.
The bill also outlines a plan to appropriate $100,000 to establish drug monitoring, particularly baseline data. Meanwhile, roughly 33% of the revenue would be added to the state’s general fund, to be used for public education, funding for municipalities that host cannabis establishments, and also funding for training and hiring of experts to handle impaired roadside driving enforcement training.
The proposed legislation will permit adults over the age of 21 to possess one ounce of marijuana and also to grow as many as six plants on their property. The law also will permit shops that sell marijuana products within the state — based on specific guidelines.
Public smoking and the use of cannabis in a moving vehicle will lead to specific penalties, and New Hampshire residents will have to be careful where marijuana plants are grown — as cultivation in an area where the public can see it could lead to legal consequences.
New Hampshire is one of the states that is proposing means to annul arrest or convictions related to marijuana possession. This would be permitted as a related provision to Sept. 16, 2017, which is the date New Hampshire decriminalized marijuana.
Finally, hemp would be permitted in the state through this legislation as well.