The New Hampshire legislature has new strategies that will help them overcome the challenges they experienced in 2019 as they reintroduce the issue of marijuana legalization during the 2020 legislative session.
A legislation seeking to allow individuals who are aged 21 and above to possess and give marijuana gifts containing a maximum of ¾ ounces of cannabis, as well as grow a maximum of six marijuana plants, was filed last week. The bill intentionally omitted the provision of commercial sales to increase the chances of its approval.
The New Hampshire proposal would be the same as that of their neighboring state Vermont. Vermont was the first state to legalize recreational marijuana through the legislature in 2018. Although there are no retail marijuana outlets in Vermont, adults older than 21 are permitted to cultivate their weed and possess marijuana for recreational purposes.
The new legislation has eight sponsors; three of them are Republicans. The bill has been referred to the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, and its hearing is set for January 23.
Speaking to an industry publication in a phone interview on Monday, Rep. Renny Cushing said that the bill is bipartisan and that they are hoping that it will be approved in the House and Senate since the legislation would help in ending the criminalization of people found cultivating or possessing marijuana in New Hampshire. Cushing further said that legalization would be a step towards the commercialization of the crop.
According to the legislation text, the residents of New Hampshire are in favor of marijuana legalization. It also states that other states have legalized marijuana and allowed adults to grow weed to provide themselves with a supply of cannabis, which is a better alternative to buying marijuana from the black market.
It also highlights the penalties for violating the initiative. For instance, individuals possessing more than the permitted amount of marijuana would be subject to a misdemeanor charge.
Marijuana advocates are hoping that the legislators who initially opposed the legislation would support the new bill since it does not have a provision for commercialization; thus, no tax rates on retail marijuana.
The New England political director at the Marijuana Policy Project, Matt Simon, said that they wanted legislation that resonated with the residents of New Hampshire. The measure’s end goal is to end prohibition. The legislation’s goal is also to protect the adults in New Hampshire from being punished for a behavior that is legal in all their bordering states.
In 2017, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu signed a decriminalization bill into law, but he said that he would oppose any proposal commercializing marijuana. The legislators are hoping that the governor will be more agreeable to this new draft legislation.
Cushing said that the legislators are not sure how the Governor will react, but they are hoping that he would sign it into law if the bill lands on his desk. However, there is a possibility of him vetoing the bill since he opposed the medical marijuana home grow legislation in 2019.
Analysts think the chances of this bill becoming law are still too close to call and they think industry actors like ChineseInvestors.com Inc. (OTCQB: CIIX) will be hoping that the people of New Hampshire get the choice to enjoy recreational weed like people in many other states.
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