We will need two-thirds majorities to overcome Gov. Sununu's veto threat — email your state legislators today!
Rep. Renny Cushing's legalization bill has been introduced in the New Hampshire House with a bipartisan slate of 11 cosponsors, and it has been assigned a number: HB 481.
It's encouraging that new House Speaker Steve Shurtleff believes the bill can pass even though Gov. Chris Sununu has threatened to veto it. However, a veto override will only be possible if legislators hear from large numbers of their constituents in support of such a bill. If you receive a response from a legislator, it would be very helpful if you could share it with us via email.
HB 481 has been referred to the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, and a public hearing has already been scheduled for 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 5, in Room 204 of the Legislative Office Building (33 N State St., Concord). Check out our summary of the bill here, and please plan to attend the hearing, if possible, on February 5.
After you email your state legislators, please forward this message to your family and friends!
Last week, the New Hampshire House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee voted 13-7 to recommend against passage of HB 656, a bill that would legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana for use by adults 21 and older. The committee also voted to defeat a proposed amendment that would simply legalize possession and limited cultivation for adults. The committee’s recommendation is not the end of the road for HB 656: The full House will debate and vote on it in January.
The minority of the committee decided to embrace the home cultivation amendment rather than the comprehensive marijuana regulation bill. This means that if the House overturns the committee’s negative recommendation, it will be expected to vote on the amendment next. You can read the amendment here — it would allow adults to cultivate six plants, three of which could be mature. It would also legalize possession of three-quarters of an ounce, and marijuana in excess of that amount would be legal as long as it is stored along with the plants that produced it.
If you are a New Hampshire resident, please call your representatives today — urge them to vote against this committee recommendation and in favor of HB 656.
The New Hampshire House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee overwhelmingly voted to pass HB 640, a bill that would decriminalize possession of one ounce or less of marijuana. The vote, 14-2, was overwhelming, and it appears very likely that the House will pass HB 640 with a huge margin of support.
The Committee also voted to “retain” HB 656, a bill that would make marijuana legal for adult use. This is a good thing because it means the Committee will be able to study the issue more thoroughly this summer and fall before they vote on the bill in early 2018.
Advocates are welcome to attend and show support for these bills. If you are interested in testifying, please let me know at email@example.com so we can coordinate. If you are a New Hampshire resident, please also send your representatives and senators a message in support of reforming marijuana laws.
WHAT: Public hearings on the decriminalization bill (HB 640) and a bill that would legalize and regulate marijuana (HB 656). (More details are listed on the Facebook event page.)
WHERE: House chamber, New Hampshire State House, 25 Capitol St., Concord
WHEN: Beginning at 1 p.m.
WHO: Marijuana policy reform advocates and members of the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee
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.