House Conferees Say They’ll Agree to Senate Cannabis Bill with Four Changes

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Medical Marijuana in NH

Courtesy photo

Marijuana in a grow house.


CONCORD – House conferees on legalizing adult cannabis sales said Tuesday they would agree to the Senate’s version of the bill with four changes, including the decriminalization level and implementation date for those who possess to be upon passage.

The current law states that those who have more than three-quarters of an ounce of marijuana are in violation but House Bill 1633 would increase that limit to two ounces. 

The Senate version states that it would not take effect until the full implementation date of January 2025 when the state has stores open, but the House wants that implementation date to change with passage of the bill along with increased allowed possession amounts.

There would still be a delay of the implementation of smoking in public and while driving penalties to full implementation date in the House wish list with an exception added for those who are in a car and have a medicinal cannabis license to be able to consume edibles while in a vehicle.

The House conferees also want to see the franchise fee of 15 percent of gross revenues monthly to the state for the stores to be reduced to 12.5 percent.

They also want the existing Alternative Treatment Centers, which provide medicinal cannabis currently, be given preference for operation of the 15 initial stores, perhaps in a way that gives them 15 scoring points above others without New Hampshire experience in a franchise bidding process to be handled by the liquor commission, said state Rep. John Hunt, R-Rindge. 

State Rep. Jason Osborne, R-Auburn, said he identified three voting groups on the subject following the House debate last week and offered an amendment to be considered.

He called them “three buckets of votes that need to be shifted from ‘no’ to ‘yes'” and offered his amendment that addresses those, which was largely the same as those outlined by other House members.

What he said he heard as a large source of objection to the Senate version from House members is that they were looking forward on “day one” for legalizing up to two ounces and the Senate was “pulling the rug out from under that idea really took the wind out of the sails of being able to get it passed in the House.”

He said he likes to ride around on his motorcycle and does not like the smell of burning weed coming from other vehicles and the bill, which makes it a penalty for drivers and passengers to be “keeping the stench off the road.”

Hunt, who chairs the committee, said negotiations started off on the House side to hear what the House members wanted “because we are going to run on the premise that the House is going to accede to the Senate version.” 

After Osborne spoke, Hunt said to Senators, “the ball is in your court.”

Senate President Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro, said it would take more than a few minutes to confer and they recessed the conference committee for the Senate to discuss the offer until Wednesday at 1 p.m.



A measure which would have expanded and encouraged more substance misuse recovery housing across the state, House Bill 1521, failed to find consensus in its meeting Monday with the Senate failing to agree to the House position, though the latter was favored by state Sen. Rebecca Perkins Kwoka, D-Portsmouth, saying the House version eased zoning.

Sen. Keith Murphy, R-Manchester, held the amended Senate’s position in a 14-10 vote for a cap on the number of beds in each municipality and a vote of that body if there was a plan to go over the limit.

Murphy claimed the two cities of Manchester and Nashua have a disproportionate share of such housing now. House Representatives said providing a cap would limit expansion there and look to other communities to help shoulder the needs.

“I guess I am the only one who does not have a locked opinion,” said Sen. James Gray, R-Rochester. “I hear from those who go to jail and other things that the farther they are from their individual family and network that supports them or causes their problem in some cases, that it affects their recovery. So there are competing things here. I guess what I would suggest, if Sen. Murphy is agreeable to it, since he is the most outspoken proponent of the Senate side that you or someone on your group get together and see if you can’t work out a compromise and reconvene the meeting.”

“Is it better to have one of the two or none?” Gray asked.

State Rep. Carol McGuire, R-Epsom, said the cap limit would be “intolerable.”

She said the only thing she would say to Murphy is that if we could clarify zoning issues we might be able to get some of these other municipalities to step up, noting this legislation came from the city of Lebanon. 


Establishing a pilot recruitment and retention program within the Department of Health and Human Services got a concurrence vote with the House ceding to the Senate’s position Tuesday. It also includes income eligibility for “in and out medical assistance” under the state’s Medicaid plan.

Bradley said the joint legislative fiscal committee recently approved $5 million for the community mental health centers and part of it is for the department to try to prevent the problems that came from the Medicaid expansion unwind.

Senators and House members selected for committees of conference have until 4 p.m. on Thursday to come to agreements unanimously on one version or another, or the bills die.

According to, every bill must be passed in identical form by each of the two bodies, Senate and House, before it is sent to the Governor. If a bill has been amended by the non-originating body, it is sent back to the originating body for concurrence. At this point, there are three options:

  • The originating body concurs, or agrees, and the bill is sent to the Governor.
  • The originating body nonconcurs, or does not agree, and requests a Committee of Conference between the two bodies. In this case, the Senate President and the House Speaker normally appoint a conference committee of members of both houses to work out a compromise.
  • The originating body does not concur, no Committee of Conference is requested, and the bill dies.

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