A bill to legalize recreational cannabis for adults in New Hampshire has advanced in the state’s House of Representatives. Narrowly approved by the House committee of Criminal Justice and Public Safety in a vote of 10 to 9, House Bill 481 now advances to the states’s full House of Representatives for consideration.
The main sponsor of House Bill 481, Rep. Renny Cushing, is also the chairman of the House Criminal Justice committee.
“It was a historic vote,” said Rep. Renny Cushing in an interview with NHPR. “For the first time in history the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee voted to recommend that we put an end to the prohibition of cannabis and enact a law to provide for the legalization, regulation and taxation.”
The legislation aims to legalize the possesion and use of up to one ounce of marijuana for adults 21 and older for recreational purposes. It also establishes a framework for regulating and taxing a commercial cannabis market through licensing manufacturers and dispensaries. A cannabis control commission would be selected, and members would be responsible for regulating and licensing the commercial market.
The bill dictates that every one ounce of dried cannabis flowers sold by a state-licensed dispensary would be taxed $30. Consuming cannabis in public would remain illegal, and those caught for the first time would be fined up to $100.
If House Bill 481 were to become law, any adult 21 and older would also be permitted to cultivate up to six mature plants at home at one time. The number of plants per household would increase to 12 if multiple adults reside in one home.
Never before recommended by a committie, similar legislation has not made it this far in the New Hampshire House before. The close vote by the committee may foreshadow how the vote will go when it is considered by the full New Hampshire House of Representatives. If it miraculously reaches his desk, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu has reportedly said that he would not sign the bill into law.