New Hampshire’s full House of Representatives has overwhelmingly approved legislation to legalize recreational marijuana.
The House’s approval of House Bill 639, sponsored by Majority Leader Jason Osborne (Republican) and Minority Leader Matthew Wilhelm (Democrat), sends it to the Senate for consideration. The proposal would legalize the possession of up to four ounces of marijuana for everyone 21 and older while establishing a licensed and regulated system of marijuana stores.
The measure was passed last month through its first reading by the House of Representatives 234 to 127. This sent it to the House Ways and Means Committee, which voted 16 to 4 last week to pass the measure with some minor amendments back to the full House. During that period the measure gained considerable support, with 38 additional representatives voting in favor to bring the total “Yes” votes to 272, and bringing the “No” votes down to 109, on its final reading.
If House Bill 639 can pass the Senate, it will be sent to Governor Chris Sununu for consideration.
Under the proposed law the Liquor Commission would be renamed to the Liquor and Cannabis Commission and would be put in charge of overseeing regulations for the marijuana industry. Marijuana would be taxed at 12.5%, with funding going to education, substance abuse programs and children’s behavioral health services.
If House Bill 639 becomes law, New Hampshire would become the 22nd state to legalize recreational marijuana, all since 2012.
More information on House Bill 639 can be found by clicking here.
Earlier this month the New Hampshire House voted 210 to 160 to pass House Bill 360, which would legalize marijuana without restrictions by fully repeal the laws that criminalize it. The measure has thus far remained stalled in the Senate Judiciary Committee, with some proponents of legalization believing House Bill 639 to be the more politically viable option.