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New Hampshire House Committee Votes To Decriminalize Cannabis

CONCORD, NH — Just one day after cannabis was decriminalized in Washington, DC, the New Hampshire House of Representatives Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee voted 12-5 Tuesday in favor of passing similar legislation in The Granite State.

“There is no good reason to continue criminalizing people for possessing marijuana.” – Matt Simon

With bipartisan support from eight co-sponsors including Rep. Adam Schroadter (R-Newmarket) and Sen. Jeff Woodburn (D-Dalton), House Bill 1625 would remove criminal penalties for possessing small amounts of cannabis.

“There is no good reason to continue criminalizing people for possessing marijuana,” said Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Nobody should be saddled with a criminal record simply for possessing a substance that is objectively less harmful than alcohol.

New Hampshire Legislators Push For Marijuana Decriminalization

new hampshire decriminalizeAs written, House Bill 1625 would make the possession of up to one ounce of cannabis punishable by a civil fine of up to $100. Currently, possessing any amount of cannabis is a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000.

According to a Public Policy Poll released last year, a majority (62%) of New Hampshire voters would support replacing the state’s current criminal penalties for marijuana possession with a fine of up to $100 and no jail time.

Also included in the measure is language that would lessen the penalties for limited cannabis cultivation. If passed, it would make the cultivation of up to six plants a Class A misdemeanor instead of a felony offense.

HB 1625 will be put to a vote in the New Hampshire House of Representatives later this month, and recent events suggest it will advance. The House passed a measure last month to allow home cultivation of medical marijuana, and an initiative to regulate cannabis like alcohol was passed in January.

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Matt Simon Legislative Analyst of Marijuana Policy Project (MPP)

Matt Simon is a Legislative Analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). He has been working since 2007 to reform marijuana laws in New Hampshire, lobbying and organizing in support …