New Hampshire: Senate Republicans Once Again Reject House-Backed Legalization Bill

Concord, NH: Senators have once again rejected a House-backed effort to legalize marijuana use and sales for adults. 

By a vote of 14 to 10 last week, Senators opposed further advancement of House Bill 639, which sought to allow adults to possess up to four ounces of cannabis and establish regulations for the sale of marijuana products by state-licensed retailers. The measure had passed the House by a vote of 272 to 109.

All but one Senate Republican voted against the bill. Senate Democrats overwhelmingly supported it. 

On several prior occasions, members of the Senate have either rejected or refused to consider House-backed bills to eliminate marijuana possession penalties for adults.

Statewide polling compiled earlier this year reports that 71 percent of New Hampshire residents, including 62 percent of Republicans, support legalizing the adult use of marijuana. 

One day following the Senate vote, Republican Gov. Chris Sununu – who has historically opposed efforts to legalize marijuana – issued a statement indicating that he would sign the legislation into law permitting the sale of cannabis products in state-run retail outlets, similar to how the state regulates alcohol.

Separate legislation (HB 431) allowing authorized patients to home-cultivate personal use quantities of cannabis remains pending in the Senate.

Additional information on pending legislation is available from NORML’s Action Center.