CONCORD, NH — A key committee in the New Hampshire House of Representatives will hold a legislative hearing next week on three proposals to legalize marijuana in the Granite State.
The House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee has scheduled public hearings for Tuesday, January 19 to consider House Bills 1610, 1675 and 1694. The hearings begin at 10 am.
House Bill 1610, co-sponsored by Reps. Michael Sylvia (R-Belknap) and Robert Hull (R-Grafton), would allow adults 21 or older to possess up to two ounces of marijuana, grow up to six cannabis plants (three of which may be mature), and give up to one ounce of marijuana to another adult without financial compensation. As written, the bill does not authorize retail marijuana sales, similar to a law passed in Washington DC in 2014.
House Bill 1675, sponsored by Rep. Michael Brewster (R-Merrimack), would legalize the possession of up to 2.2 pounds of marijuana by adults 18 or older and grow up to six cannabis plants (three of which may be mature). Under Brewster’s proposal, retail marijuana sales would be authorized. Marijuana would be subject to a $30 per ounce excise tax.
House Bill 1694, co-sponsored by Reps. Geoffrey Hirsch (D-Merrimack), Joseph Lachance (R-Hillsborough), John O’Connor (R-Rockingham) and Mario Ratzki (D-Merrimack), would legalize the personal possession and use of up to one ounce of marijuana by adults 21 or older, and authorize the cultivation of industrial hemp in New Hampshire. Adults would be allowed to grow up to six cannabis plants (three mature). Retail sales would be authorized and subject to a 15% sales tax charged to the consumer at the time of sale.
Recent polls have found strong support for legalizing marijuana in New Hampshire, including a July 2015 poll that found 60% of Granite State voters in favor of legalization.
New Hampshire remains the only New England state where simple possession of marijuana remains a crime. Possession of any amount of marijuana in New Hampshire is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000. Recent attempts to decriminalize marijuana possession, replacing criminal penalties with a fine-only violation, have passed in the House but were defeated in the Senate, including measures in 2014 and 2015.
By Thomas H. Clarke - The Daily Chronic/Jan. 14, 2016
New Hampshire To Vote on Marijuana Legalization Tomorrow