Feb 15, 2022
cannabis legalization, conflict, federal Controlled Substances Act, federal law, HB 1598, legalization, Matt Simon, medical cannabis, New Hampshire, NH, poison pill, private businesses, Rep. Daryl Abbas, state employees, state monopoly, state-run stores, Utah
The N.H. House of Representatives has voted to legalize cannabis three times since 2019. Sadly, the Senate has killed every attempt so far. Tomorrow, the House will vote on legalization once again, but this time there’s a twist. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Daryl Abbas (R), an opponent of previous legalization bills, and it includes a poison pill: state-run stores.
While there are several policy reasons why some might support or oppose a state monopoly on cannabis sales, as long as federal law prohibits cannabis, it’s a non-starter. We need your help to talk reps out of this wayward approach.
Under the federal Controlled Substances Act, medical cannabis and legalization laws aren’t preempted unless there’s a direct and positive conflict. Requiring state employees to sell cannabis creates that direct conflict: An employee cannot comply with both state law (requiring them to sell cannabis) and federal law (prohibiting it).
Utah abandoned a similar plan to have the state distribute medical cannabis after county attorneys advised it would require staff to commit federal felonies. Licensing and regulating private businesses doesn’t create the same legal issue, and Utah, New Hampshire, and 35 other medical cannabis states are doing just that.
Let your legislators know you support legalization, but you want them to pass a law that actually works.
You can also check out former MPP New England Political Director Matt Simon’s op-ed with other arguments against state-run stores.
Please let your state reps know you want them to legalize cannabis the right way. Then, spread the word to others in New Hampshire.