The New Hampshire House and Senate have both approved a bill to decriminalize the possession of ¾-ounce of marijuana or less. The bill is awaiting Governor Sununu’s signature, which he’s expected to sign.
New Hampshire is the last New England state to pass a decriminalization bill, NECN reports.
House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff said, “I know New Hampshire is late compared to other states, but we finally did the right thing. I spent my working career in law enforcement. I hate to see anyone end up with a criminal conviction because they had a couple joints on them.”
Resident Naomi Fitzgibbons said, “I think it was time for New Hampshire to do it.”
Resident Evelyn Richard feels otherwise, she said, “Could be leading toward legalizing larger amount. When is enough enough?”
New Futures President of Advocacy Kate Frey said, “When you use terms like ‘decriminalization,’ it makes it sound like, well, it’s OK.”
New Futures did not oppose the bill, they worked with lawmakers to impose fines and make sure that those fines are put into the state’s substance abuse programs instead.
Frey said, “We understand that this doesn’t need to be a criminal offense, but at the same time, we need to have prevention measures in place.”
In terms of law enforcement, some agencies say it isn’t much of a change. Captain Brett Morgan said, “People get misinformed with what decriminalization means. It’s not legalization. At the end of the day, it is still illegal to possess it.”