NH Marijuana Legalization Bill Approved by House, Headed to Senate

CONCORD, NH — A bill to end marijuana prohibition and regulate cannabis for adult use in New Hampshire was approved Thursday by the state House of Representatives by a vote of 200-163.

It will now head to the Senate, where it will be scheduled for a public hearing.

House Bill 481 initially passed in the House on February 27, and it received a favorable recommendation from the House Ways and Means Committee last week. Similar bills received initial House approval last year and in 2014, but they were killed after they received negative recommendations from the Ways and Means Committee.

As amended, HB 481 would tax cannabis cultivators at 5% and retailers at 9%. A summary of HB 481 is available here.

More than two-thirds of Granite Staters (68%) support legalization, according to a poll published last month by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center. Only 27% are opposed.

The poll also found four out of five (80%) Granite Staters would approve of cannabis being sold in licensed retail stores and taxed at levels similar to alcohol or tobacco, if it is made legal.

“We applaud the House for advancing this historic legislation with such strong support,” Matt Simon, New England Political Director for the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a statement. “HB 481 would replace New Hampshire’s failed prohibition policy with a more sensible system in which cannabis sales are regulated and taxed. It’s time for the Senate to recognize that regulating cannabis is in our state’s best interest, not just economically, but also in terms of public health and safety. New Hampshire has become an island of marijuana prohibition in the region, and Granite Staters are ready to see that change. It is time to join our neighboring states in adopting a new approach.”

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