New Hampshire Senate Majority Leader Jeff Woodburn plans to introduce new legislation in early 2017 that would legalize recreational marijuana in the state. The regulations are expected to be similar to the regulation and taxation on alcohol. When the state Congress returns to session in 2017, this measure should be ready for their review.
The motivation behind this quick action by Senator Woodburn derives from legalization efforts passing in Maine and Massachusetts, according to IBTimes. Polls released in May show that 60% of New Hampshire residents support legalizing recreational marijuana.
Woodburn said, “I think they have forced us to look at our laws and regulations. What we can’t control is what’s happening around us. We can’t put our heads in the snow.”
Incoming Governor-elect, Chris Sununu wants to look at the programs around New Hampshire first, but is likely to approve Woodburn’s proposal. Sununu supports decriminalization and reducing penalties for marijuana possession. Medical marijuana has been legal in New Hampshire since 2013. Those found in possession of marijuana, one ounce or less and without a medical marijuana card, could receive a sentence up to 3-years and up to a $25,000 fine.
If legislation is approved for recreational marijuana in 2017, it would likely go into effect in 2019 or 2020.