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New Hampshire Poised To Decriminalize Marijuana

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Legislation passed the state Senate, will soon head to Governors desk.

Today, in a 17-6 vote, the New Hampshire Senate passed HB 640 to eliminate the threat of jail time for a marijuana possession conviction of less than 3/4 of an ounce and reduces the fine from $350 to $100.

Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director, released the following statement:

"New Hampshire remains the only New England state where an adult can be arrested, face up to a year in jail, and suffer a lifelong criminal record simply for possessing a personal use amount of marijuana.

"House Bill 640 is a long overdue, fiscally sensible proposals that is supported by the voters, and that will enable police, prosecutors, and the courts to reallocate their existing resources toward activities that will better serve the public.

"After years of stone walling by former leadership, we commend lawmakers for finally correcting this injustice. Once law, Granite state residents will be one step closer to being able to truly 'Live Free’ and not just 'live free, but potentially be incarcerated."

This measure amends penalties for adults who possess small, personal use quantities of marijuana. This change is supported by a majority of New Hampshire voters — 56 percent of whom now say they support outright legalization of the plant.

This change will save taxpayers money and allow police and the courts to re-prioritize their resources toward addressing more serious crimes.

Minor marijuana possession offenders, many of them young adults, should not be saddled with a criminal record and the lifelong penalties and stigma associated with it.

Sixty-eight percent of New Hampshire adults support “legalizing [the] possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal recreational use,” and seventy-four percent of respondents endorse marijuana being sold at state-licensed outlets and taxed in a manner similar to alcohol.

For more information, please contact Justin Strekal NORML Political Director justin@norml.org 202-483-5500.