NH House Committee Recommends Study of Bill that Would Tax and Regulate Marijuana

Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee votes 16-2 to consider details of H.B. 1652 before moving bill forward

CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE – Yesterday, the New Hampshire House of Representatives Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee voted 16-2 to “refer for interim study” H.B. 1652, a bill that would tax and regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol. If the House concurs with this recommendation, the 20-member committee will proceed with a comprehensive study of the proposal. This vote is a promising sign that New Hampshire’s lawmakers are willing to seriously discuss the possibility of ending marijuana prohibition in the Granite State.

Previously, a vote to recommend that the bill “ought to pass” failed 8-10. Four Democrats and four Republicans voted in favor. Rep. Shannon Chandley (D-Milford), who voted against the first motion, told her colleagues, “I believe we should decriminalize marijuana,” but said she felt the committee should take time to consider all the details of the bill before recommending it to the full House of Representatives.   

“This committee seems to understand that the prohibition of marijuana has been a terrible policy failure,” said Matt Simon, executive director of the NH Coalition for Common Sense Marijuana Policy. “We appreciate the fact that some members want to give this further study and make sure the details are correct before they move this bill forward.”

In 2009, an effort to override Gov. John Lynch’s (D) veto of a medical marijuana bill passed the NH House but fell two votes short in the NH Senate.

HB 1652 is sponsored by Rep. Calvin Pratt (R-Goffstown), Rep. Joel Winters (D-Manchester), Rep. Carla Skinder (D-Cornish), and Rep. Timothy Comerford (R-Fremont).