On September 16, New Hampshire’s decriminalization of marijuana law goes into effect. Possession of small amounts will be ticketed rather than an arrest being made. Police will still confiscate marijuana, regardless of the amount. Charges may still be filed.
The main difference will be how the charges are handled, according to The Laconia Daily Sun. Possession of over the allowed amount, underlying circumstances, possession of hashish or possession of any item not included in the decriminalization bill can still result in an arrest. Edibles must be in the original packaging and must be sealed. Any edibles not from a state-licensed program dispensary are still illegal.
The Association of Chiefs of Police says that they are facing challenges in creating a new system to deal with this change in law within the court system. New complaint forms, policies and procedures must all be ready when decriminalization takes effect. Training officers in this short amount of time also poses an issue.
Chief Andrew Shaguory, the association’s president, reminds New Hampshire residents that recreational marijuana remains illegal.
The New Hampshire Legislature intends to fine offenders so that a criminal record is not established. A major concern for the Association of Chiefs of Police is impaired (stoned) drivers and the potential for that to increase. Strict enforcement should be expected.