New Hampshire Making Moves for Cannabis Reform in 2022

New Hampshire administrators are getting preparing for an interesting legislative season regarding cannabis reform, with multiple legalization drafts being disclosed in recent weeks—including one from an important New Hampshire Republican Committee Chairperson and additional leaders.

At this time, At least half of a dozen bills to legalize cannabis for recreational adult use have been pre-listed for 2022. A few of those measures look to instill the inquiry of cannabis reform directly before New Hampshire voters on next year’s poll.

One of the more prominent drafts that have already acquired some resistance from advocates is being supported by Representative Daryl Abbas (R-NH), the chairperson of the New Hampshire House Criminal Justice and Public Safety who has competed against past cannabis reform drafts but expresses he’d be receptive to the cannabis policy change if it’s done “accurately” in his sentiment.

That measure, HB 1598, would permit adults 21 and older to buy and privately possess up to four ounces of cannabis from New Hampshire-operated cannabis dispensaries managed by the New Hampshire Liquor Commission. Home growth of cannabis would continue to be illegal—one of the major complaints from cannabis reform activists.

This makes New Hampshire one of the few recent states to neglect private cannabis cultivation in upcoming cannabis reform measures.

Another problem for cannabis reform advocates is the lack of social equity guidelines like expunging old cannabis convictions and having a state or national felony conviction comparable to a controlled substance outlaws citizens from working in the cannabis industry in New Hampshire under the measure.

Giving cannabis within the outlined limit would be allowed under the bill, backed by New Hampshire House Majority Leader Jason Osborne (R-NH). There would also be limitations on public intake and advertising of cannabis in the Granite State.

After discussing administrative fees, revenue from cannabis sales, fees, and fines would be reserved for “evidence-backed, volitional programs for substance abuse-related education, deterrence, treatment, and rehabilitation.” It would also back the public safety department.

In the fiscal investigation connected to the measure, the New Hampshire State Police offered a somewhat mystifying appraisal of the cost of the cannabis reform in New Hampshire for law enforcement.

The department “showcases the influence to law enforcement, in general, would grow” due to the measure“ would assumably result in an upsurge in impaired drivers, toxicology evaluations, illicit market deals and the investigation of crimes related to Cannabis Establishments,” it states.

Cannabis reform advocates would be most excellent against the analysis overall. Still, the thought that creating a regulated cannabis market would ramp up sales on the black market is incredibly counterproductive.

Meanwhile, three legislators—Representative Joshua Adjutant (D-NH), Renny Cushing (D-NH), and Andrew Prout (R-NH)—each prepared distinct bills to put cannabis legalization on the state’s 2022 polls.

It would likely require a supermajority 60 percent passing in both New Hampshire chambers to progress any proposed constitutional revisions. However, while that may be a stiff order in the GOP-controlled Congress, if they’re victorious, it would promote legislators to bypass a likely veto on statutory cannabis reform legislation from anti-legalization Governor Chris Sununu (R-NH)

If lawmakers permit instilling a constitutional revision to make cannabis lawful on the ballot, 67 percent of citizens would then have to choose in favor for the  cannabis reform measure  to be enacted. Polls taken earlier this year suggest that New  Hampshire residents are ready for the cannabis reform, with 75 percent of New Hampshirites favoring cannabis legalization.

Representatives Timothy Egan (D-NH) alongside Stacie-Marie Laughton (D-NH) have pre-filed legalization concerning cannabis reform for next year.

“Reps who back cannabis legalization will have a slew of options to pick from in 2022,” Matt Simon, lead of public and government matters at Prime Alternative Treatment Centers of New Hampshire, expressed to multiple cannabis new outlets. “It will be fascinating which concepts gain traction and which ideas don’t.”

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