N.H. Senate passes legalization!

May 20, 2024

legalization, New Hampshire

N.H. Senate passes legalization!

For the first time ever, the New Hampshire Senate voted to legalize cannabis last week!

The Senate also adopted both positive and concerning amendments to HB 1633. It capped the number of businesses of one type a person could own at one instead of three — a key priority for many NH advocates. But it also turned an advisory board that could be stacked with prohibitions into a binding commission. And it failed to act on an amendment to prioritize ATCs (medical businesses) and to give a shot to other small businesses.

On the bright side, the Senate rejected an amendment with a 15% THC cap on cannabis products, along with other concerning provisions.

More work is needed to improve the bill, but we can't let this chance to legalize slip away. This may be the last window for years. Gov. Chris Sununu is not running for re-election and leading Republican candidates Kelly Ayotte and Chuck Morse are prohibitionists.

HB 1633 now heads to the Senate Finance Committee. From there, it would get a second Senate floor vote before heading back to the House to concur or nonconcur. Amendments are possible both in committee and on the second floor vote.

If you live in New Hampshire, ask your state senator to improve HB 1633 and make this the year NH stops being an island of prohibition.

The news was bleaker for the other bills to advance cannabis justice and freedom. Three important bills were referred to interim study:

  • HB 1539, an MPP-backed bill which would annul cannabis convictions and create a process for re-sentencing cannabis offenders if doing so is in the interests of justice.
  • HB 1231, which would allow qualifying patients and designated caregivers to cultivate therapeutic cannabis, and
  • HB 82, which codifies employment protections for therapeutic cannabis patients.

Meanwhile, HB 1278, which allows prescribers to certify adult patients for therapeutic cannabis for any debilitating medical condition, was pushed back. It is now scheduled for a floor vote on Wednesday. Consider calling your senator in support of HB 1278. All prescriptions can be prescribed off-label, for conditions other than the ones they are approved for. Prescribers should also be allowed discretion to recommend cannabis for other debilitating medical conditions.

Make your voice heard! And stay tuned for updates.