Today, the New Hampshire House voted 209-147 to pass HB 481, the bill that would legalize, regulate, and tax cannabis for adults' use. Next, the bill will be referred to the House Ways and Means Committee for further consideration of the proposed taxes and regulatory policies. HB 481 will receive a second House vote sometime in March, and if it passes the House a second time, it will proceed to the Senate.
Please take a few moments to find how your state representative(s) voted and send them a message to follow up. It's important that we thank representatives who voted in favor, and for those who did not, this is a critical opportunity to ask them why they voted no.
After you email a follow-up message to your state legislators, please share this message with your family and friends!
We have been expressing concerns about the make-up of New Hampshire’s marijuana legalization study commission since last spring, when the bill creating that commission was rewritten by the Senate to exclude reform supporters. We even asked Gov. Chris Sununu to veto the bill last July rather than create a study commission that would not be viewed as credible by the general public.
Sadly, although we have tried to work with this commission, it has now become clear that our initial concerns were well founded. In particular, it has been very frustrating to watch as the commission’s chairman, Rep. Patrick Abrami, has used his influence as vice-chair of the Ways and Means Committee — including by misleading the committee about testimony presented to the study commission — in an attempt to prevent HB 656 from advancing to the Senate.
We believe the people of New Hampshire deserve better. Please sign our petition now to join us in urging House Speaker Gene Chandler to replace Rep. Abrami with an unbiased legislator.
The New Hampshire House Ways and Means Committee voted to amend HB 492, which would make marijuana legal and regulate it like alcohol, in order to simplify the tax structure and regulatory language. The committee then voted 14-5 to recommend that the House not pass the bill, which would also allow people 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of marijuana. The House is not bound by this recommendation, and will vote on whether the bill should progress to the Senate soon.
The committee’s amended bill taxes and regulates marijuana by imposing a standardized $60 per ounce tax on growers. Advocates claim the tax will generate approximately $25 to $30 million annually.
MPP’s Matt Simon commented that, “Even with a negative recommendation, this thoughtful amendment will make it much more likely that the bill will receive continued support from the rest of the Legislature. We are optimistic that New Hampshire lawmakers will recognize that their constituents do not want to see adults arrested for using a substance that is safer than alcohol.”
When the bill returns to the House, it will have a battle with its new amendments, especially since it passed the House with a 170-162 vote on January 15. Sixty percent of New Hampshire adults support HB 492, according to a WMUR Granite State Poll released in October by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center. Just 36% said they are opposed. The entire poll is available at: http://cola.unh.edu/sites/cola.unh.edu/files/research_publications/gsp2013_fall_gastaxpot102513.pdf.
The New Hampshire House of Representatives took a major step forward today, voting 170-162 to approve a bill that would legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for use by adults in the “Live Free or Die” state.
Unfortunately, Gov. Maggie Hassan has already promised she will veto the bill if it reaches her desk. “I just think it's the wrong message to send to young people,” she explained.
Based on Colorado’s Amendment 64, HB 492 would end New Hampshire’s failed prohibition of marijuana and replace it with a system of sensible regulation. This is the first time any state legislative chamber has approved such a bill, so it’s great to see that New Hampshire legislators have been willing to evolve along with the shift in public opinion!
Next the bill will be referred to the House Ways and Means Committee. A second vote by the House will be held in February or March, and if HB 492 passes a second time, it will head to the Senate.