March 30, 2023


New Hampshire legalizes weed

A bipartisan bill is set to be on the way from lawmakers in the New Hampshire House of Representatives for cannabis legalization. However, it is expected that this bill will face some level of push-back in the NH Senate. There is also expectations of opposition from Republican Gov. Chris Sunnu. What then is the fate of the new bill the lawmakers are proposing? Is there a way for the cannabis legalization bill to still be achieved amidst these opposing forces? Read on as we shed light on these questions and much more.

Bipartisan support for cannabis legalization in New Hampshire

A New Hampshire Public Radio report has stated that a bipartisan bill for cannabis legalization should be expected before the House of Representatives soon. The bill for the legalization of cannabis possession and sales is said to be in the works from top Republican and Democrat lawmakers. The proposal is yet to be submitted at the floor of the house but its mere suggestion has raised enquiries and many in the cannabis industry are rightly interested.

The bill is expected to border on the legalization of cannabis possession for adults aged 21 and above. The limit for this possession is also expected to be set at up to 4 ounces for sharing of cannabis among adults. This new introduction will open up the door for regulated retail sales of cannabis and also see the inclusion of a tax rate of 8.5 % according to the report. Another new introduction expected with the bill is legislation for the home cultivation of up to six cannabis plants. This will confirm the ability of the adults to be in possession of cannabis from plants that are grown at home.

The new bill when moved has been touted to be the will and desire of the voters. House Majority Leader Jason Osborne (R) echoed this while commenting on the subject matter. He explained that the House has always been united in trying to get such a bill passed for the people of New Hampshire. He also believes that the Senate will also have no choice but to concede to the desire of the vast majority of New Hampshire citizens.  

The benefits of legalizing and regulating the cannabis market are very evident for any who wishes to see it. House Democratic leader Matt Wilhelm echoed this while commenting on how legalization will help the state in protecting the consumers. Wilhelm said in the report that the legalization of adult possession of specified amounts of marijuana is a feat that the House must achieve in 2023. He believes this is the right thing to do for people in New Hampshire and it must be done speedily. It is expected to help curb the illicit activities of the grey market and provide access for patients who are in need of it. 

New Hampshire and its prohibitory factors against cannabis legalization

New Hampshire is in a rather precarious position in terms of its attitude towards cannabis and its laws. This is because it is the only state in New England still with a prohibitory approach to cannabis. This makes it a bit of an outlier as most of its neighbouring states are more welcoming. Some of its neighbouring states have adopted legal medical marijuana programs while others have legalized the recreational use of the natural herb. This is why calls for the setting up of an acceptable program have grown considerably over the years and lawmakers are taking notice.

This is not the first time that calls for legalization have grown and gotten the ears of the House. The major obstacle has remained the Senate which has already voted down a cannabis legalization proposal this year. This is despite the fact that the proposal had bipartisan support and was duly approved by the House. The Senate has also rejected another cannabis legalization proposal that had been passed in the House earlier this year. The second proposal was to create room for a non-commercial cannabis program yet it couldn’t make it through the Senate. This means that considering influence will be required to sway the Senate in the direction of the majority in New Hampshire to see the bill come to life.

Gov. Sunnu has also proven to be a stumbling block for cannabis legalization in New Hampshire as of late. He spoke publicly on the matter in March when he commented that he doesn’t think this is the right time to legalize cannabis in the state. He based this view on the issue of the ongoing opioid crisis in the state. Cannabis advocates on the other hand have publicly spoken about the possible use of cannabis to end the stated opioid crisis. Cannabis has a lower dependence potential and is effective in promoting pain relief and dealing with inflammation.

Positive news on the horizon

Thankfully the recent election has changed things a bit and there are some happenings that look set to help the cause for cannabis legalization. Slight shifts in the senate have mostly been to the tune for cannabis reform which spells good news for all. A Democrat senator who was opposed to legalization has been replaced by a Republican who voted for ending prohibition while in the House. The developing dynamics are also encouraging as the bipartisan leadership of the house is seeing cannabis legalization as a priority. This momentum might be all that is needed to push through the bill in the Senate come 2023. While the Senate has proven to be an immovable object on the matter over the years, the next bill might just be an irresistible force that cannot be stooped.

The year 2023 is expected to be the year for cannabis legalization in New Hampshire and all factors are aligning for it. The bipartisan support for the cannabis legalization bill is very key to that and it could very well see the light of day sooner than expected. Till then, cannabis reform advocates are unrelenting in their push for better laws around cannabis use and possession in the state.

 

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