After Lengthy Floor Debate, New Hampshire House of Representatives Approves Marijuana Legalization

After a heated and lengthy debate on the floor of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, the lower chamber of New Hampshire’s legislature today voted 170 to 162 in favor of House Bill 492, which seeks to legalize under state law the personal use and home cultivation of marijuana by persons 21 years of age or older and establish regulations for the retail production and sale of cannabis.

The historic vote makes the New Hampshire House the first state legislative chamber to ever vote in favor of regulating cannabis.

House Bill 492 had initially received a “Ought Not to Pass” report from the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. However, in New Hampshire legislative rules permit all House measures to receive floor votes by the full House. This afternoon, House lawmakers debated the measure for more than three hours before voting 170 to 168 to accept the committee report. But this was just the beginning.

Members of the House of Representatives voted 173 to 165 to reconsider their actions and hold a revote. On their second vote, a majority 170 members voted to reject the “Ought Not to Pass” report. House lawmakers then voted to adopt amendments to adjust minor details of the bill. More debate ensued, but when the final vote was held 170 voted in favor of approving HB492 as amended and sending it to and 162 voted in opposition.

“This vote is historic,” stated NORML Communications Director Erik Altieri, “Today’s vote approving House Bill 492 is the first time a chamber of a state legislature has ever approved of legislation to legalize and regulate marijuana for all adults. Fifty-eight percent of Americans support ending our prohibition on marijuana and the New Hampshire House of Representatives’ actions today signal that politicians are finally beginning to acknowledge the will of their constituents.”

Tax issues pertaining to the bill will now be debated by the House Ways and Means Committee. A second House floor vote is anticipated in the coming months. However, Democrat Governor Maggie Hassan has already stated her opposition to this measure.

NORML will keep you updated on this evolving situation.

74 thoughts

  1. The snowball just keeps rolling, getting bigger as it goes. I’m really delighted that I lived to witness this transformation in our country.

  2. Once the NH Senate see how much money will be made on a yearly basis, they might hold back their opposition.
    Colorado made $6 million its first week.
    Now they have to make HEMP legal as well. With Hemp production (foods, fabric and fuel) this nation would be out of debt in 10 years or less.

  3. More and More of these so-called “Legalization” Bills are appearing. BUT, THEY KEEP PERSONAL GROWING ILLEGAL !!!!!!!!
    How is it OK to go to the State and buy Commercially grown crap weed, but I can’t grow my own ORGANIC MEDICINE ???????

    [Paul Armentano responds: HB 492 allows for personal cultivation.]

  4. what would this mean for commercial drivers who hold a medical card through the state of new hampshire?

    [Paul Armentano responds: New Hampshire’s nascent medical marijuana law is neither up and running nor would it offer protection for commercially licensed drivers who are under federal regulations.]

  5. Now thats the United States we love.
    Going to have to change your name to New Hempshire.
    I was having a bad day and now its not so bad.
    Thanks New Hampshire.

  6. 20 years ago my Mom had terminal cancer she would never thought of taking weed. The Doctor gave her less than a year to live, she wouldnt eat she was dwindling like they said , My Brother worried told her to smoke this she did she lived 11 more years in no pain stunned the Doctors , And all it takes is one Governor with the wrong Idea ABOUT ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING,To ruin a chance for the Miracle plant that God gave us, Leaders are supposed to know the way show the way and Lead the way Maggie ARE YOU A lEADER OR IS YOUR Pride All you care about not the People do the math

  7. Well Friends, lets all enjoy this time.
    We’re all in the front row watching history
    being made. € And I salute N.H. for having the seeds
    to give us another thrilling boost to our Liberty
    & Freedom !
    This is All Good ?

  8. I believe all states should legalize weed, this way we have less to spend on prisons. The dealers now would have to report how much they made from weed and the people who buy it would have to pay sales tax, these taxes would help the crisis we are in today. Trillions od dollars are made and saved.

  9. Dear pua mana,
    To answer your question; the same reason why owning a home distillery is illegal, because the state has the right to collect taxes on such things. Can’t argue and I would gladly pay my duty on legal marijuana.

  10. @Mike. Sources say Colorado made 5 million in the first week of sales which equals roughly 1 million in tax revenue. I live in Philadelphia and that tax revenue is enough to fully fund every school that was forced to close in Philadelphia this past year. … not to mention the drastic effects the hemp plant (which contains extremely limited amounts of thc) could have on industries such as medical, textile, health based foods, and many many others. If the US wants its people to spend more money to fix the economy, marijuana is the answer.

  11. I applaud all of you who voted yes to this great change that is going to happen in our state. I am hoping Maggie Hassan will think twice before vetoing this bill. I do have petition started on addressed to this situation please take some time to read and sign it. We can over throw a veto if there is enough support.

  12. This is great news, but until banks and credit cards are given the “green” light to do business with cannabis cash it still sets up a very ugly and violent situation. Who wants to walk around with thousands of dollars in a paper bag?

    The lack of our governments response to the cash money only makes them lose more of it to products like bitcoin and the very criminals we are trying to avoid.

    It’s time to remove marijuana from schedule 1! Protect dispensary owners and growers who are complying with state law. Are we not the “United States?”

    Where is our Congress? Where is our President? The people and the state’s are speaking, why then are you not listening?

    Go CO! Go WA! Go DC! GO NH! Go NORML!

  13. Jimmy: You are right about the dog and pony show, but wrong about the passage. The governor has stated her intent to veto. They don’t usually take it back after that. It required two-thirds of each chamber to overturn a gubernatorial veto. Since the GA only got a 170-165 passage, they obviously can’t get two-thirds.

  14. The narrow margin is disappointing, but at least it’s a good first step.

    I would like to point out that many seem to be delusional about the financial benefits of taxing the plant. I mean, taxing a friggen plant even sounds ridiculous – but, then again, this is government we’re talking about. NH even taxes mountain views. Absurd.

    Anyway, my point is that people are claiming taxing the plant will relief our deficit. This is delusional because it assumes our government has any fiscal responsibility at all. My experience tells another story. Taxing the plant will only give them more money to WASTE. I wish I could have faith that government would do the right thing, but they never have.

    [Paul Armentano responds: To clarify, taxes are on retail and commercial sales of products from the plant — no different than taxes one already pays on retail sales of other products, including vegetable products. If you want to grow vegetable in your garden for your own use there is no tax. If you want to be a commercial producer and retail seller of said products you pay taxes on those transactions. Simple.]

  15. @Skyler
    Any vetoing on this subject would be political suicide. Just remember she is no more than a puppet for the controlling powers. She has something else in mind after she gets out of office.

  16. Okay, we had the House pass it. Now, that only leaves the Senate and the Governor. I really don’t understand something, Alcohol, tobacco, and prescription meds cause more deaths yearly then any other three narcotics combined, however, they are all legal. The amount of money that big Pharma makes on prescription meds, the government and states make on tobacco and alcohol, you would think the obvious answer would be to sell marijuana in a retail stores. People worry about children under 21 getting a hold of marijuana but yet it is like alcohol and tobacco, if they want it, they will get it. I would rather my children smoke marijuana than to light up a stoge, that causes cancer, or to drink alcohol, which leads to alcoholism and severe liver damage, or to get snort prescription medications that have a Russian roulette chance of killing them each time they do it. As long as marijuana is left in it’s natural state, meaning don’t add any bullshit to it, like tobacco companies do to cigarettes, then there is not any harm in legalizing, selling, and taxing marijuana. God put this plant on earth for a reason and it wasn’t to grow and look pretty, however, I must admit, there are a lot of hot looking cannabis plants in this world, but I digress. The amount of money that the government and states can make on Marijuana is disgusting. Most people don’t realize that a pack of stoges sells for about 2.65 retail, the other 4 to 5 dollars we are paying, some states a little more than that, is all taxes. TAX, TAX, TAX, it’s the American way. Make weed legal and tax the shit out of it and you will not only be helping people that truly need this beautiful plant for their ails but our national debt could be wiped out in the next 15 to 20 years, and that’s being generous. LEGALIZE IT, SEL IT, TAX IT, and live free and die !!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. The governor will listen to her state, give her a some credit. She might be serious about it, but if 60% of the people want it, it is going to happen. She can be a hero or follow the decrepit and neurotic drug war bullshit.

  18. Haha marijuana prohibition is falling apart so fast not even the Feds will be able to pick up the pieces. This is it folks this is the end game. The last days of prohibition and we are witnissing it.

  19. Celebrate americans for the genie of calous indifference and punitive intolerance will never be put back into the bottle of control made through psudo-science. Remove from or reschedule cannabis to release the hounds of american creativity.

  20. If Hassan vetoes, then the people of NH need to veto her job. We need to make it hazardous to the employment health of our elected officials to support prohibition. We need to make our elected officials TERRIFIED to oppose our will on this! We need to make it clear that supporting prohibition and opposing legalization is political suicide!

  21. It is amazing how a majority of a state government will try to enact legalization and a jerk water governor can block the will of the people’s representatives. I am both in N.H. and florida another state who has a governor and AG that want to reject putting mj on the ballot even though over a million signatures have been collected. Lets hope this monumental step is not in vain. Vote out these clown dictator governors in government! RICK SCOTT of FLORIDA and MAGIE HASSAN of N.H need to go..

  22. “Prohibition only drives drunkenness behind doors and into dark places, and does not cure it, or even diminish it.?”
    I promised myself I’d be good today
    I think I can walk today, hit the bases and instead I flew away what a beautiful skeleton. Who put you together i should of asked.I brought the uke I can fill the wind putting me out. finally I’m in mothers hands my hairs past my eyes. For fear had taught me how to stand it will teach us all how to fall but away from all of y’all so fucking far from y’all. I’m sorry officer I wasn’t good today… I’m so scared you’ll lock me away. I’m so sorry but I was born this way plz don’t point your gun that really stings my face. I’m not a criminal I was born this way. I’m a fucking shaman and I love my Mary Jane. Now i will lose my job I can’t help but sing about everything you All D.A.R.E.D me too be.
    I don’t care I’m not scared ill set all my heads free.

  23. @ Paul Armentano
    Yes, I understand the taxation is on the commercial production. I was merely trying to illustrate the absurdity of government wanting to tax everything they possibly can. If they could figure out a way to tax individuals on their private growth of the plant, they would. And no matter what they tax and how much revenue they create, they ALWAYS cry for more because they ALWAYS overspend. Reducing their spending is almost never seriously debated when it comes to fiscal policy. The extra revenue generated by MJ taxation will only fund further attacks on our liberties, as has been proven time and time again.

  24. @ some guy in NH
    I agree. While I support legalization in the fullest, the increased tax revenues have me worried. That money will be eaten up all too soon, and, instead of cutting spending, the government will get used to having all that extra pork.

  25. I’m glad the taxation issue is being addressed here. It’s something I need more understanding of to say the least. In short my understanding is that the 25% of the taxes collected in Colorado for instance are for a variety of reasons. The excise tax(sin tax) is sometime used for programs to warn or educate the public of dangers of the product much like alcohol or cigarettes. I guess what I’m getting to here is given what we know about the lack of danger to the consumer of cannabis doesn’t it stand to reason that as time passes that these taxes aren’t going to be applicable to cannabis. It surely doesn’t make sense for my tax dollar to be collected for a program or purpose that doesn’t need to exist. It also would look very ridiculous for the government to carry on with such a line of logic that is contradicted by their own studies. And now I’m sounding like someone who might believe they would listen to their own studies or for that matter do something logical. All of this brings me to the idea that while writing these legalization laws that they need to include provision for the reduction or removal of certain taxes based on their applicability to the assumed or stated dangers. I for one have yet to find that if consumed correctly by adults that their is no danger concerning cannabis. I would like this subject to be introduced in a blog by itself with an educating article.

  26. Residents of states without initiative or referendum processes, have no direct say in the laws over them. This is why despite overwhelming majority support for cannabis, these residents are still treated with disdain by their governors. It is time to take steps toward enacting referendum and initiative processes in all states.

    Look at the map on and compare it to Norml’s map of medical/recreational laws.
    You’ll see that the states with the best forms of cannabis freedom, already had both an initiative and referendum process. It is the only way possible to have the best laws. Take the power away from these Governors and give it to the residents!

  27. @Ray Walker: “It also would look very ridiculous for the government to carry on with such a line of logic that is contradicted by their own studies”

    Why on earth would that look ridiculous? Sounds like business as usual for the government. Nixon commissioned a study on MJ in the seventies, with the purpose of trying to prove, for once and for all, that MJ was dangerous and evil and should be illegal. The commission returned the opposite opinion, based on the facts, and he threw it straight in the trash and started the Drug War that we’re all suffering under right now.

    Why would it be any different thirty years later, with a government that isn’t likely to want to lose face and admit that for thirty years they’ve been fighting a losing war they never needed to fight, at the expense of our tax money, our freedoms, and our good name?


    Please send some representatives to help drum up support! We are on the verge here.

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