CONCORD, NH — A bill to allow adults 21 or older to legally possess up to two ounces of marijuana in New Hampshire has been pre-filed for the upcoming 2016 legislative session.
House Bill 1610 is sponsored by Reps. Michael Sylvia (R-Belknap) and Robert Hull (R-Grafton).
If passed, the bill would allow adults 21 or older to possess up to two ounces of marijuana, grow up to six cannabis plants (three of which may be mature), and give up to one ounce of marijuana to another adult without financial compensation.
Despite the lack of establishing a retail marijuana industry, this bill is an important piece of legislation in a state who’s motto is “Live Free or Die” but is the only New England state where simple possession of marijuana remains a crime. Police in New Hampshire arrest some 2,900 individuals annually for simple marijuana possession offenses, according to NORML.
Possession of any amount of marijuana in New Hampshire is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000. Recent attempts to decriminalize marijuana possession, replacing criminal penalties with a fine-only violation, have passed in the House but were defeated in the Senate, including measures in 2014 and 2015.
Recent polls have found strong support for legalizing marijuana in New Hampshire, including a July 2015 poll that found 60% of Granite State voters in favor of legalization.
New Hampshire residents are urged to contact their state representatives in advance of the 2016 legislative session and ask them to support this legislation. If you are a registered New Hampshire voter, you can contact your representatives via NORML’s website.
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