No Legal Weed This Year in the 603 After House Tables Measure by Five Votes

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The state will have to wait at least another year to legalize adult use of cannabis after the House voted 178-173 to table House Bill 1633.


CONCORD – The state will have to wait at least another year to legalize adult use of cannabis after the House voted 178-173 to table House Bill 1633.

It followed a Senate vote of 14-10 to concur with a committee of conference to pass it.

State Rep. Jared Sullivan, D-Bethlehem, said “literally nobody in this body likes this bill” because it ignores free market principles, among other issues.

He said to just pass it and fix it later would not do as the Liquor Commission will immediately receive $8 million and “does anyone believe they will be able to be reeled back in?”

He encouraged waiting until next year.

Next year, there will be a new House, Senate and governor with the leading Republicans for the corner office saying they would not support legalization while the Democrats would support some measure to legalize. 

State Rep. Erica Layon, R-Derry, the prime sponsor of the bill, spoke in support of concurrence and said the state could make history by voting to support the bill.

If it had passed, the state would have been the 25th state in the union to make cannabis legal. Today the state has decriminalized up to three quarters of an ounce in one’s possession. It also has medicinal cannabis allowed for patients.

If there is a need for revisions, Layon said, “we will know” and make the changes necessary.

Rep. Matt Simon, R-Littleton, offered a motion to table on roll call vote and said there were eight more people signed up to speak and the vote would save time.

A vote to take it off the table failed 162-189.  

House Bill 1633, legalizing adult use of cannabis, would have set up a framework for retail sales and cultivation. A copy of the bill is here 

In the Senate, it passed on a vote of 14-10 with nine Democrats and five Republicans supporting the measure.

Sen. Shannon Chandley, D-Amherst, rose in support of the committee of conference report saying it was a “reasonable compromise” and thanked the House conferees for their work.

There were several changes she said which were important and improved the bill. 

The committee of conference made it clear smoking or vaping in a car is not allowed in the bill but it was silent on the use of edibles by passengers. 

Chandley, who was a member of the conference committee, noted they agreed to a paragraph on giving some preference to the Alternative Treatment Centers for franchise licenses. It also changed the bill to increase from three quarters of an ounce to one ounce of possession though the House bill asked for two ounces, she noted.

But she said the public wants cannabis to be legalized.

Sen. Regina Birdsell, R-Hampstead, said polls don’t show concerns the public has about legal weed.

She said studies on psychiatry and the impacts to children particularly from cannabis.

“The state is going to be liable,” Birdsell said, noting New York is being sued due to legalization.

“So get ready,” she said. “There is only one hospital that deals with mental health issues,” for children and that is in her town.

“Hampstead is going to be impacted,” she said.

Sen. William Gannon, R-Sandown asked if this would make New Hampshire a better state?

“More people are going to die on the road,” he said.

And Gannon said, the police do not have the tools to enforce impairment.

Sen. Lou D’Allesandro, D-Manchester said he opposed legalization and was the only Senate Democrat to do so. He has announced he is not running for re-election.

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