N.H. Lawmakers Approve Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

The New Hampshire House of Representatives has voted 214-137 in favor of decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana, but the bill still faces a veto threat from Gov. John Lynch.


The Lawrence Eagle-Tribune reported March 11 that the bill would drop criminal penalties against individuals found in possession of a quarter-ounce or less of marijuana, reducing the crime to a misdemeanor and imposing a maximum fine of $200. Currently, possession of this amount of marijuana can trigger a fine of up to $2,000 and a year in jail.


The measure now goes to the state Senate; the House fell 17 votes short of the number needed to override an expected veto by Lynch if the Senate approves the bill.


Last year, the House voted to approve the governor's veto of a medical-marijuana bill but the Senate fell two votes short of an override. 

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N.H. Lawmakers Approve Medical Marijuana Bill

The New Hampshire House of Representatives passed legislation that would allow medical use of marijuana, leaving the final word to Gov. John Lynch, the Nashua Telegraph reported June 25. 

Lynch said his biggest concern was whether or not the bill would make it easy for residents to cultivate marijuana, as possession of the drug is still considered illegal under federal law. During the legislative session, he told reporters that he would not support a bill that would enable residents or designated caregivers to grow their own marijuana.

“I will be reading it very carefully with that as my guide,” Lynch said.

Legislators addressed Lynch’s concerns by including a provision that would establish three nonprofit “compassion centers” where marijuana would be available to patients and caregivers.

Lynch also raised concerns over whether the definition of patients eligible to receive the drug was too broad, and suggested that caregivers undergo criminal background checks. Lynch and his staff also brought up the issue of whether approving such legislation would force landlords to rent to patients or caregivers who grow or use marijuana.

The bill holds that a person with a “debilitating medical condition” or designated caregiver may obtain up to two ounces of the drug, and restricts people who are under the influence of marijuana from operating a car or boat. Patients are also not permitted to smoke marijuana in public places.

“We have constructed the most restrictive law in the land,” said Sen. Peggy Gilmour (D-Hollis). “Our committee worked very hard to take every concern the governor had and try to ameliorate them.”

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N.H. Lawmakers Approve Medical Marijuana Bill

The New Hampshire House of Representatives passed legislation that would allow medical use of marijuana, leaving the final word to Gov. John Lynch, the Nashua Telegraph reported June 25. 


Lynch said his biggest concern was whether or not the bill would make it easy for residents to cultivate marijuana, as possession of the drug is still considered illegal under federal law. During the legislative session, he told reporters that he would not support a bill that would enable residents or designated caregivers to grow their own marijuana.


“I will be reading it very carefully with that as my guide,” Lynch said.


Legislators addressed Lynch's concerns by including a provision that would establish three nonprofit “compassion centers” where marijuana would be available to patients and caregivers.


Lynch also raised concerns over whether the definition of patients eligible to receive the drug was too broad, and suggested that caregivers undergo criminal background checks. Lynch and his staff also brought up the issue of whether approving such legislation would force landlords to rent to patients or caregivers who grow or use marijuana.


The bill holds that a person with a “debilitating medical condition” or designated caregiver may obtain up to two ounces of the drug, and restricts people who are under the influence of marijuana from operating a car or boat. Patients are also not permitted to smoke marijuana in public places.


“We have constructed the most restrictive law in the land,” said Sen. Peggy Gilmour (D-Hollis). “Our committee worked very hard to take every concern the governor had and try to ameliorate them.”

Leave a Reply

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