New Hampshire: House Passes Pot Decriminalization Proposal

Concord, NH: Members of the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted 193 to 141 on Tuesday in favor of legislation seeking to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of cannabis.

As passed, House Bill 1623 would replace criminal sanctions outlawing the possession of up to one-quarter ounce of marijuana with civil penalties, punishable by a fine only.

Under current state law, the possession or use of any amount of cannabis is a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine.

Currently, twelve states have enacted versions of marijuana decriminalization – replacing criminal sanctions with the imposition of fine-only penalties for minor pot violators.

In February, members of the Vermont Senate approved a similar proposal decriminalizing up to one ounce of marijuana. That measure is now before the House Judiciary Committee.

If enacted into law, New Hampshire would be the first state to approve the decriminalization of marijuana since Nevada’s legislature did so in 2001.

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