New Hampshire Inches Closer to Recreational Marijuana Legalization

Lawmakers in New Hampshire have taken a significant step towards legalizing adult-use cannabis statewide. Last week, the state House of Representatives approved House Bill 1633, a bipartisan measure that would end marijuana prohibition and establish a tightly regulated legal market.

In a 239-136 vote on April 27th, representatives advanced the legislation for the second time this session as required for bills with budgetary implications under state law. The previous 239-14 vote in February had sent HB 1633 to the House Financial Committee for fiscal review before returning for final passage.

Republican sponsor Rep. Erica Layon championed legalizing and regulating marijuana, arguing it would displace the unsafe illicit market with tested, contaminant-free products. “New Hampshire is the only remaining New England state clinging to outdated cannabis criminalization,” she stated ahead of the vote.

If ultimately enacted into law, the bill permits adults 21 and over to legally possess up to 4 ounces and creates a licensed cannabis industry overseen by the New Hampshire Liquor Commission. However, only 15 retail dispensaries would initially be allowed to serve the state’s population of nearly 1.4 million.

Opponents cited typical concerns around youth access and impaired driving, which advocates countered have not materialized in other legalized states. Rep. Kenneth Weyler questioned whether legalization generates substantial tax revenues or reduces crime rates.

With House approval secured, HB 1633 now advances to the state Senate amid an uncertain future. Governor Chris Sununu, a Republican, has signaled a willingness to sign tightly regulated legalization legislation, though not necessarily this specific model with privately licensed sellers.

Cannabis policy experts praised the House’s dedication to modernizing New Hampshire’s marijuana laws while acknowledging more revisions may occur. As the last remaining prohibition state in New England, mounting pressure could propel lawmakers to join the regional embrace of legalizing a multibillion-dollar adult-use cannabis industry.


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