New Hampshire’s Top Lawmakers Collaborate on Adult-Use Cannabis Legalization Bill

A bipartisan group of legislators in the state’s House of Representatives plan to introduce legislation to legalize the possession and sale of cannabis for adults 21 and older.

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A bipartisan group of lawmakers in New Hampshire’s House of Representatives has announced plans to introduce an adult-use cannabis legalization bill.

“The House has long stood united in finding a pathway to getting this done for Granite Staters,” House Majority Leader Jason Osborne told NHPR. “With any luck, the Senate will come around to supporting the will of the vast majority of New Hampshire citizens.”

Although the legislation has not yet been formally introduced, it already has the support of the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans for Prosperity, the news outlet reported.

The proposal would allow adults 21 and older to possess or gift up to 4 ounces of cannabis, and it would ultimately set up a commercial adult-use market with state-licensed dispensaries, according to NHPR. The legislation will also include home grow provisions that allow adults 21 and older to grow up to six plants—including three mature plants.

The bill would also levy an 8.5% sales tax on retail cannabis sales, NHPR reported, and the tax revenue generated would be directed to state pensions and substance abuse prevention programs. A portion of the revenue would also be earmarked for law enforcement and municipalities that host dispensaries.

“Legalization of adult possession of small amounts of cannabis is the right thing to do for New Hampshire and we must get it done in 2023,” House Democratic Leader Matt Wilhelm told NHPR, adding that cannabis users in state-legal markets “benefit from safer testing and regulation of the product.”

While the House has repeatedly backed adult-use cannabis legalization measures—most recently approving legislation in March that would have allowed state-run liquor stores to sell cannabis—the Senate has killed these efforts.

Gov. Chris Sununu could also impede cannabis policy reform efforts in the state.

As Cannabis Business Times previously reported, Sununu has supported decriminalization, expungement and New Hampshire’s medical cannabis program, but his voting record is mixed when it comes to patient access.

In 2019, for example, Sununu vetoed legislation that would have ended the requirement for patients to have at least a three-month relationship with a provider before receiving their medical cannabis certification.

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