Repeated attempts to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana have circulated through the New Hampshire Legislature for a decade. The ninth attempt hopes to be the winning attempt. The Senate has been the deflator of attempts multiple times over.
Governor Sununu tweeted his support for decriminalization, according to New Hampshire Union Leader. He says it’s different from supporting recreational marijuana. He doesn’t support recreational marijuana – at least not right now.
Sununu said via Twitter that, “I want to thank the Legislature for passing common sense marijuana reform. I look forward to signing House Bill 640 into law.”
House Bill 640 would impose a fine of $100 for first and second offenses for possessing ¾ ounce of marijuana or less. The current penalty for possession of ¾ ounce is $2,000 and up to 1-year in jail.
Law enforcement officials in Nashua and Manchester aren’t happy. They don’t support decriminalization at the height of an opioid crisis. The Nashua police chief doesn’t see House Bill 640 as common sense marijuana reform since marijuana is still illegal federally.
Andrew Lavoie said, “It’s a slippery slope. What’s next? They’ll want to legalize it. It’s a bad message to send to the public and especially to young children.”
Lavoie believes that marijuana is a gateway drug. He says those he’s arrested for narcotics started smoking marijuana first.
Some medical professionals disagree and say that marijuana may be an exit drug for opioid addicts. A 2014 study showed that in states where medical marijuana is legal, opioid overdose deaths lowered by 25-percent. A different study showed that marijuana may be a good option for treating chronic pain and other health conditions.
For his 2015 documentary, “Weed”, Dr. Sanjay Gupta said, “With marijuana, I could not find a single, confirmed overdose death.”