New Hampshire Seeks Guidance on Cannabis from New England States

The bills in New Hamshire have bipartisan backing. Their supports include left-veering Democrats alongside libertarian Republicans. One has been pushed through by a Republican chairperson of an effective committee; another by the House Democratic leader.

Despite this, as New Hampshire legislators put forth the newest round of cannabis legalization bills for the 2022 legislative session, the results appear all but anticipated. The measures will move from a House of Representatives committee to the floor, where they’ll assumably acquire a bipartisan majority. They’ll traverse to the U.S. Senate, and probably get voted out. If they move along to Governor Chris Sununu’s (R-NH) desk, they will likely encounter a veto.

It’s been a typical avenue of advancement in Concord for quite some time and one that has confused cannabis promoters in New Hampshire’s bordering states. For example, Massachusetts, Maine, and Vermont have legalized the miracle plant in current years.

“I believe many of us are rubbing our heads over how New Hampshire is [politically] behind Vermont, Massachusetts as well as Maine on this matter, and it’s ironically the ‘Live Free or Die’ state,” stated David Boyer, a Maine advisor. The latter assisted in leading his state’s cannabis legalization campaign back in 2016.

By next year, Granite State cannabis legalization backers believe they might ultimately be able to break through the green curtain with a new measure and a new direction. Rivals, including Gov. Sununu, have stated the state’s opioid problem and the COVID-19 pandemic and demanded a restraint on cannabis. Somehow.

However, while both sides prepare for the next political bout on the plant, cannabis supporters in Maine and Vermont believe efforts in those states deliver one-of-a-kind road maps ahead.

The cannabis legalization procedure in Maine began at the provincial level. Actions began in Portland foremost when nearly 70 percent of the city voted to legalize cannabis back in 2013. South Portland, a different city, voted in popularity of cannabis legalization the next year.

Next, cannabis legalization advocates took the cannabis campaign to the state at large.

In Maine, citizens can enact cannabis legislation via ballot initiative—furnished they gather citizen signatures equating to 10 percent of the ballots cast for governor. Back in 2016, during the governorship of cannabis legalization enemy Paul LePage (R-NH), a statewide campaign appeared to be a considerably more attractive route.

“We were able to push the matter; the constituents choose, let the voters decide,” Boyer stated.

For cannabis legalization campaigners, a direct endeavor can have advantages over a legislative approach, Boyer expressed. It can be more manageable to bring constituents together to support a campaign when the concern is statewide.

Despite this, utilizing a ballot measure bears its obstacles. Among some obstacles: Getting the cannabis legalization advocates to compromise on what the language of the measure should say. In Maine, battling cannabis legalization, advocacy organizations spent months ahead of the ambition determining how wide or strict the text should be and trying to rally up signatures for distinct efforts—a process Boyer expressly referred to as the “pot primary.”

In the future, a trim edge in signature gathering permitted one group to pull through and gather cannabis legalization supporters behind one suggested initiative.

Despite public approval, cannabis had been regarded with some suspicion by Maine lawmakers for quite some time. Boyer believes that to the initial process, and legislators are tying their position to their party’s foundation. Boyer expressed that the ballot measure helped cause a rift between a few lawmakers.

“I believe that’s one of the attractiveness of the initiative process: It sort of forced the lawmakers to forfeit their stance once their members [weighed in]. ‘Oh, my city backed the measure by two-thirds, why would I vote against cannabis legalization?’”

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