Yesterday evening, despite a negative recommendation from the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, the New Hampshire House of Representatives kept its streak of passing marijuana decriminalization bills alive when it overturned the committee and approved HB 1631 in a voice vote. Sponsored by Rep. Adam Schroadter (R-Newmarket), this sensible bill would reduce the penalty for possessing up to one-half ounce of marijuana to a violation punishable only by a fine. The House has now passed decriminalization bills seven times dating back to 2008.
Every other New England state has already decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana. Unfortunately, the Senate has failed to pass any of the six decriminalization proposals that have been approved by the House. Last year, the Senate nearly reached a compromise on a bill similar to HB 1631, but it was tabled on the last day of session.
If you are a New Hampshire resident, please send your senator an email in support of this bill.
It’s been a tough year for marijuana policy reform efforts in New Hampshire. The House has already killed several bills seeking to improve the state’s marijuana laws, including two bills that would have made marijuana legal for adult use.
Fortunately, there is one important bill that still has a reasonable chance of passing into law. Sponsored by Rep. Adam Schroadter (R-Newmarket), HB 1631 would reduce the penalty for possessing up to one-half ounce of marijuana to a violation punishable only by a fine.
If you are a New Hampshire resident, please send your representatives an email in support of this bill today!
Every other New England state has already decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana, and the Vermont Senate recently passed a bill that would make marijuana legal for adults. New Hampshire residents overwhelmingly support legalization, as evidenced by a recent poll that found 62% support and only 30% opposed. However, it should be stressed that HB 1631 does not legalize marijuana — it would merely reduce penalties for possession, putting New Hampshire’s marijuana laws more nearly into line with those found in neighboring states.
On Tuesday, the New Hampshire Senate Judiciary Committee voted 4-1 to recommend against passage of HB 618, Rep. Adam Schroadter’s sensible bill that would decriminalize possession of one-half ounce or less of marijuana.
This isn’t good news, but there is still hope for HB 618. In fact, one senator who voted “no” is already working to negotiate a compromise amendment that will be able to earn majority support when the bill is considered on the Senate floor. The full Senate is expected to vote on HB 618 next Thursday, June 5.
Yesterday, the New Hampshire House passed HB 618, a bill that would reduce the penalty for possessing up to one-half ounce of marijuana to a violation. This was the sixth time the House has approved a marijuana decriminalization bill since 2008, and this time the vote was an overwhelming 297-67!
HB 618, sponsored by Rep. Adam Schroadter (R-Newmarket) and a bipartisan group of seven co-sponsors, would make possession of up to one-half ounce of marijuana punishable by a civil fine of $100 for a first offense, $200 for a second offense, and up to $500 for third or subsequent offenses. Currently, possession of any amount of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000. New Hampshire is the only state in New England that treats simple marijuana possession as a criminal offense with the potential for jail time.
The next step will be the state senate, which has rejected previous efforts to decriminalize marijuana possession.
If you are a New Hampshire resident, please contact your senator today!
On Tuesday, in a 12-5 vote, the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee approved a bill that would decriminalize possession of one ounce or less of marijuana. HB 1625, sponsored by Rep. Adam Schroadter (R-Newmarket), would reduce the possession penalty to a violation punishable by a fine of up to $100. It would also reduce the penalty for possessing up to six plants from a felony to a misdemeanor, and it would reduce the maximum penalties for other marijuana offenses.
Vermont decriminalized marijuana possession in 2013, leaving New Hampshire as the only state in New England that maintains a criminal penalty for possessing small amounts of marijuana. This makes no sense, especially in a state known as the “Live Free or Die” state.