The New Hampshire Senate voted Thursday to decriminalize marijuana possession in a 16 – 7 vote. The bill decriminalizing ¾-ounce of marijuana is headed to Governor Chris Sununu’s desk to be signed. He’s expected to sign the bill into law.
Advocates say today is a “major victory for advocates of marijuana reform,” WMUR 9 News reports. Supporters say that marijuana offenses can ruin lives and potentially make it hard to find work. Supporters also say that the police should be spending those resources fighting the opioid crisis.
Similar bills have failed eight times in the last 10 years, all failing the Senate.
Senate Minority Leader Jeb Woodburn commented that, “The times they are a-changing. It’s an idea whose time has come.”
Senator Harold French said, “It’s time that New Hampshire listens to the will of our citizens.”
Senator Jeb Bradley calls compromise an art, not a science. A compromise is what it took for this legislation to pass.
Instead of a class B misdemeanor charge for a first or second offense, a $100 fine will be imposed instead. Criminal charges won’t ensue until the fourth offense.
Representative Renny Cushing said, “For 40 years the House has been talking about decriminalization of marijuana. I think we’re ready to do so. I think the House will go along with the Senate version.”
Gov. Sununu recently said, “I do believe in the decriminalization aspect of marijuana. Obviously not the full legalization. Those are two very different issues.”