In a rather amazing turn of events, the New Hampshire House of Representatives has decided to make a vote later today whether to legalize possession of up to an ounce of marijuana. The vote is surprising for two reasons. One, New Hampshire commissioned a study to research the financial impacts of marijuana last year that is not due to report its findings until November, so the vote has faced a great deal of discouragement urging officials to wait on the findings. The second surprising reason is that U.S. attorneys across the country have been let loose on state legal marijuana operations by the U.S. justice department.
It makes sense that New Hampshire would legalize recreational marijuana considering their motto is “Live Free or Die”. Its neighbors (Maine, Vermont and Massachusetts) have all voted to legalize marijuana, though none of those states are offering it for sale yet and both Vermont and Maine’s governors still have to sign off on the bills. The Massachusetts marijuana market may become quite large, especially considering they have already authorized public lounges for the sale and use of marijuana. The Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling has even stated publicly that he cannot guarantee that the U.S. attorney’s office will not file charges against marijuana businesses in Massachusetts.
The vote is happening even though a special state commission studying the issue is months away from finishing its work.
The commission is examining the financial impact of legalizing recreational marijuana in the Granite State.
A majority of the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety committees is recommending that the bill be killed because the commission will not make its recommendations until November.
The measure would legalize the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and would create a regulatory system for cultivating, transporting, selling and taxing the substance.
The use of marijuana for medical purposes is legal in New Hampshire, while possession of up to 3/4 of an ounce of the substance has been decriminalized in the state.
If the New Hampshire House of Representatives does vote to legalize recreational marijuana, that will only leave the state of Rhode Island in the New England area to not have some sort of adult-use recreational marijuana bill in process. You add in New Jersey, which is likely to legalize marijuana sometime early this year, then some of the most populated areas of the country will now be close to having legalized cannabis. Do you think that the New Hampshire House of Representatives is in part electing to vote on legalizing cannabis today in response to Jeff Sessions decision to rescind the Cole Memo?
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