New Hampshire legalization will have to wait for at least one more year. On Nov. 14, 2017, the state House Criminal Justice Committee voted to reject House Bill 656, a bill that aimed to legalize recreational marijuana in the state.
Had it survived the legislative process, HB 656 would have legalized recreational marijuana for adults 21 or older and set up a process to tax and regulate retail marijuana sales.
According to the New Hampshire Union Leader, several members of the Criminal Justice Committee felt given that a legislative commission tasked with studying the effects of legalization had just begun holding meetings, the bill’s introduction was premature.
For its part, the legislative commission has already come under fire from New Hampshire legalization advocates who think that the group has been stacked with those in favor of continued prohibition.
Although many are predicting that the commission will come out against legalization, Matt Simon, New England Political Director for the Marijuana Policy Project, told the New Hampshire Union Leader that the House will revisit the issue and ignore the commission’s recommendations.
“This committee has been overturned many times by the full House on marijuana policy bills,” Simon said. “Now that 68 percent of Granite Staters are on board with legalization, I believe there’s a good chance the House will overturn this committee report and vote to pass the bill.”