Last week, New Hampshire’s bill to legalize cannabis possession for adults and create a state-run monopoly narrowly passed out of the Ways & Means Committee (12-10). Now, it’s headed to the House floor again. While the committee made some amendments to the bill, it did not address our biggest concerns — HB 1598 would continue to re-criminalize edibles, and it doesn’t even include a Plan B in the likely event that state-run stores fail to get up and running.
States can license and regulate private cannabis businesses, but they cannot direct their own workers to break federal law by selling cannabis. Doing so creates a “direct and positive conflict” and is preempted.
As an organization committed to legalization, it feels odd to oppose a legalization bill. But New Hampshire has several other bills pending that would actually work, and the House already passed one to legalize possession and cultivation earlier this year (HB 629).
We know that cannabis policy reform has a long history of failed attempts, whether by accident or by design. In the 1970s, 1980s, and even in the past decade, dozens of states passed medical cannabis bills that failed to become operational because they weren’t written in a way that considered federal policy. These approaches create false hope and delayed progress on workable bills. We don’t want to see the same thing happen with legalization.
If you agree that HB 1598 is the wrong way to legalize, you can send your state representatives a message here.
You can also check out our updated summary of the bill here, and our testimony on the bill here.
Thanks for your commitment to sensible cannabis policy! Stay tuned for updates.