New Hampshire House and Senate Agree on Marijuana Legalization Bill, Governor Says He’ll Sign it Into Law

A bicameral conference committee in the New Hampshire Legislature has reached an agreement on the text of a bill to legalize recreational marijuana, with the governor saying he’ll sign it into law.

In March, the House of Representatives passed House Bill 1633 with a vote of 239 to 136. In May, the Senate amended the measure and passed it by a vote of 14 to 10. The House then rejected these changes, leading to the establishment of a conference committee consisting of members from both chambers.

Today, the committee decided to merge the two versions of the bill. The measure will now undergo one final vote in both the House and Senate before being sent to Governor Chris Sununu, who has expressed his intention to sign it into law.

The proposed legislation, if enacted, would permit individuals 21 and older to possess and use up to two ounces of marijuana (down from the four ounces in the House-passed version of the bill), 10 grams of marijuana concentrates, and marijuana products containing up to 2,000 milligrams of THC. Additionally, it would create a system for licensed and regulated marijuana retail outlets, operated by the state, with a cap of 15 stores statewide and no more than one store per municipality. The bill also includes a marijuana sales tax set at 12.5%.

The most contentious change made in the Senate and eventually agreed upon by the conference committee is the creation of a system of state-operated marijuana stores, a departure from the approach taken by other legal marijuana states. Although initially opposed by a large majority of the House, Governor Chris Sununu has indicated that he will only sign the bill into law if it includes state-run marijuana stores, leaving House members with the choice of accepting the change or allowing the bill to fail to meet their standards.

House Bill 1633, once enacted, will make New Hampshire the 25th state to legalize recreational marijuana. The New Hampshire Senate was the first Republican-controlled chamber of any state Senate to approve a recreational marijuana bill.

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