New Hampshire: Senate Republicans Once Again Reject House-Backed Legalization Bill

1.4 min readPublished On: May 24th, 2023By

CONCORD, NH – In a recent decision, New Hampshire Senators thwarted a House-backed initiative that aimed to legalize the use and sale of cannabis for adults. With a vote of 14 to 10, the Senators opposed the progression of House Bill 639, which sought to permit adults to possess up to four ounces of the plant and establish regulatory frameworks for marijuana product sales through state-licensed retailers. Notably, the bill had received support from the House, passing with a vote of 272 to 109.

The majority of Senate Republicans voted against the bill, while Senate Democrats showed overwhelming support. This marked another instance where Senate members have either rejected or declined to consider House-approved bills that would eliminate penalties for adult cannabis possession.

Recent statewide polls, conducted earlier this year, indicated that 71 percent of New Hampshire residents, including 62 percent of Republicans, are in favor of legalizing the adult use of cannabis. These numbers reflect a growing acceptance of cannabis reform across party lines.

Interestingly, just one day after the Senate’s decision, Republican Governor Chris Sununu, who has traditionally opposed marijuana legalization efforts, made an unexpected announcement. He stated that he would sign the legislation into law, allowing for the sale of cannabis products in state-regulated retail outlets, much like the existing regulations for alcohol.

Meanwhile, another separate legislation, HB 431, which aims to authorize patients to cultivate limited quantities of cannabis for personal use at home, remains pending in the Senate.

This report first appeared in NORML. For more information on pending legislation, interested individuals can refer to the NORML Action Center, which provides detailed insights into the ongoing developments in cannabis policy reform. Main image: A New Hampshire lake scene.

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