After Lengthy Floor Debate, New Hampshire House of Representatives Approves Marijuana Legalization

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director January 15, 2014

    After a heated and lengthy debate on the floor of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, the lower chamber of New Hampshire’s legislature today voted 170 to 162 in favor of House Bill 492, which seeks to legalize under state law the personal use and home cultivation of marijuana by persons 21 years of age or older and establish regulations for the retail production and sale of cannabis.

    The historic vote makes the New Hampshire House the first state legislative chamber to ever vote in favor of regulating cannabis.

    House Bill 492 had initially received a “Ought Not to Pass” report from the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. However, in New Hampshire legislative rules permit all House measures to receive floor votes by the full House. This afternoon, House lawmakers debated the measure for more than three hours before voting 170 to 168 to accept the committee report. But this was just the beginning.

    Members of the House of Representatives voted 173 to 165 to reconsider their actions and hold a revote. On their second vote, a majority 170 members voted to reject the “Ought Not to Pass” report. House lawmakers then voted to adopt amendments to adjust minor details of the bill. More debate ensued, but when the final vote was held 170 voted in favor of approving HB492 as amended and sending it to and 162 voted in opposition.

    “This vote is historic,” stated NORML Communications Director Erik Altieri, “Today’s vote approving House Bill 492 is the first time a chamber of a state legislature has ever approved of legislation to legalize and regulate marijuana for all adults. Fifty-eight percent of Americans support ending our prohibition on marijuana and the New Hampshire House of Representatives’ actions today signal that politicians are finally beginning to acknowledge the will of their constituents.”

    Tax issues pertaining to the bill will now be debated by the House Ways and Means Committee. A second House floor vote is anticipated in the coming months. However, Democrat Governor Maggie Hassan has already stated her opposition to this measure.

    NORML will keep you updated on this evolving situation.

    73 Responses to “After Lengthy Floor Debate, New Hampshire House of Representatives Approves Marijuana Legalization”

    1. Ray Walker says:

      @Demonhype, Yeah I’m with you on that. Thats why the next sentence was:
      “And now I’m sounding like someone who might believe they would listen to their own studies or for that matter do something logical.”
      One thing is for sure, that if we stay strong and hold the momentum we now have, and not allow them to divide us, we will win and win big! The loss that has already been paid will not be in vain. There will be a price you me and countless others will pay. Just like what we do here, right now using our voice is part of the price. New Hampshire might not be the next, but they will get their day in the sun.
      @ Initiative and Referendum, I could not agree more sir. Direct Democracy should be an equal right to all. It blows me away that it isn’t the same for all americans. Everyone should read how these processes came to be and not just what they are. Knowledge is indeed a powerful weapon against an ignorant foe.

    2. mlc harris says:

      Psycho-Pharmacological McCarthyism. ….legalize cannabis and stop using our citizens as commodity in For Profit Prisons system. Take the the tax dollars and fund our schools

    3. bobwv says:

      CNN is definately our friend. They’re kickimg ass. Just heard a great report on hemp from industrial to medicine to food.

    4. I found this informative and interesting blog so I think so it’s very useful and knowledge able.I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this blog. Keep posting like this I really enjoyed it and the rest of your site Great find.

    5. OldColoradoGirl says:

      It has been interesting to witness thus far, to say the least. Everyone keeps hollering about taxing it and bailing this country, or your state out. You really need to pay attention to this: the greed of the government and the taxes they have placed on recreational weed is going to cause a problem. You see, before they passed the law, an 1/8 on the street was about $25-$30, and dispensary was about $5-$10 more. When they opened for recreational sales on January 1, the price was $50-$75 for an 1/8. It doesn’t take much figuring to realize that if a person still has a street connection, that is where they will go. It also stands to reason that it won’t take long for street prices to climb to just below what the stores sell it for. So you see, not only will your state lose out on its taxes, the black market stands to make a lot more. Recreational purchases will be made by those not interested in making or maintaining an underground connection, and those actually coming here for a small marijuana purchase and a weekend of fine skiing or other outdoor activity, or a concert perhaps. Everybody still wants their piece of the pie, and the government wants their slice from the middle. They’re going to tax themselves out of something really good. They’re still going to get a huge amount of money from it, don’t get me wrong, but it has the potential to be so much more.

    6. Green thumb says:

      25 bucks an eighth? In the south it’s 50 an eighth. I miss the west coast. Louisiana passed a medical law in 1991 for the use of marijuana for glaucoma and chemo treatment . Never been put into effect. C mon louisiana

    7. Bob Constantine says:

      New Hampshire sells alcohol and jails for weed.
      Yet they maintain the tragic comedy by forcing people to buy a license plate emblazoned with
      the state motto, “live free or die”.

      It doesn’t get more hypocritical than that.

      [Editor's note: Regrettably it can get more hypocritical...check out image from NH governor's FaceBook page.]

    8. OH says:

      Poor people have been paying $50 an eighth since the 80s. Poor people do not buy ounces. To say “legalization will lead to $400 an ounce”, ignores the facts.

    9. Russ Hudson says:

      I’m a marijuana activist and supporter who lives in Vermont, directly on the border with New Hampshire. While I applaud this step, I can tell you from experience that attitudes towards marijuana in New Hampshire and attitudes in Vermont are very different. In Vermont I don’t fear persecution, and most of the people I know here smoke marijuana anyway, or don’t have a problem with it. But this is a very rural area and so to do anything – go to the grocery store, go out for the night, etc., I have to go across the border into New Hampshire. This means that I have to be much more careful because I am subject to persecution.

      It’s not just about the difference in laws between the two states. Long before Vermont decriminalized small-time possession, the situation was the same; in Vermont you could largely expect to be left alone, while in NH you had to fear harassment, arrest and imprisonment.

      So I think New Hampshire still has a long way to go. Passing this through the Senate is a long shot, but if we keep pushing it just might work. I continually hear about precedent being the cause for hesitation among lawmakers, but we have plenty of precedent to follow and learn from in the Netherlands and in Spain. I’ve been researching and studying the cannabis club scenes there extensively and you can read about it here: http://www.marijuanagames.org. I’m currently back in the States supporting legislation here and hope that I get the chance to speak to NH lawmakers on behalf of marijuana supporters. If you’d like to get involved, please contact me at the above referenced site.

      -Russ Hudson

    10. Anonymous says:

      The prices will eventually fall. The shops selling it simply didn’t have enough. The first day that they began selling there were only 18 stores open in Denver that could could sell to anybody and a handful of others across the state. A bunch of shops didn’t get the ok to sell to anyone yet. Jan 1 was probably the busiest marijuana selling day there will ever be unless the Feds legalize it. Once there are more stores open prices will fall.

    11. D says:

      The prices will eventually fall. The shops selling it simply didn’t have enough. The first day that they began selling there were only 18 stores open in Denver that could could sell to anybody and a handful of others across the state. A bunch of shops didn’t get the ok to sell to anyone yet. Jan 1 was probably the busiest marijuana selling day there will ever be unless the Feds legalize it. Once there are more stores open prices will fall.

    12. If it is approved so be it, all we can do is support for the betterment of the many… If argument and debate will get longer, this will not end because many minds are powerful. Now that it was already issued and approved, then will go for it and follow the rules.

    13. vickia52 says:

      thanks jullian. here’s another thought, what about the absent tax $, when everyone goes to where it’s legal? and the ones where it’s legal gets flooded with people, and those that stay will have to pay higher taxes. a lot of little ghost towns! look at detroit! the only thing that ever gets attacked is the fridge.

    14. Ken says:

      Well New Hampshire everything seems to be going well! but what is going to be the next move when Governor Maggie Hassan throws her monkey wrench into the hard work by her dirty VETO to the bill that she says will be done, my suggestion would be to vote her out of office as soon as possible!!! Good Luck.

    15. NYS resident says:

      I live in New York State where our politicians, including the governor, are dragging their feet. Recently, the governor has stated that an executive order (no legislative action required) will allow for targeted hospitals to use cannabis in life-threatening situations only. This obviously is a far cry from where we as a State should be.

      I personally have been convicted of having grown an armful of cannabis in my house for my arthritis, being convicted of a felony and everything that goes along with it. I was afforded some consideration and avoided serving State time, however, it was not without much cost and pain not only to me, but to my family and friends.

      I hope in the near future, all states make the positive change in their posture and position regarding not only cannabis use (both medically and recreationally) but also the cultivation of a specified amount for personal use.

      Prohibition has shown in the past to be a failure and there are only a handful of individuals/politicians that would still hold the posture that it has worked with cannabis. Their posture is not one of fact, but only one of denial of the facts.

      I look forward to the day when not only New York State but all states allow each individual to make a personal choice around the use and cultivation as it pertains to how they want to live their life. When we do not victimize, impede, impinge upon or even threaten another individual’s right to life and freedom of choice, we should be able to make our own personal choice. Until then, we are still being oppressed by the very people that we entrust to allow us to live as such — the people that are supposed to be acting on the voice of the majority…

      Ilion, New York

    16. EJ Walker says:

      It’s 4:20 Somewhere! Give a listen and tell me what you think


    17. Smj442 says:

      A democracy is ruled by the majority. In a Rebublic, the minority is protected from the majority. We are free do do what we want with our bodies, and any laws that prevent it are treason to our Republic. Politicians who dont defend those rights are criminals.

    18. Ray says:

      From the Concord Monitor “Hassan does not support marijuana legalization. She has faced criticism for that stance; more than 1,344 comments were left on the governor’s Facebook post about her position on the bill, in what could be a sign of changing public opinion.”

      The Bill is in the House Ways and Means for public hearing. Make your voice count NH, lead the way for the East Coast.

    19. Sean says:

      Yeah too bad their still putting people in jail for possessing it

    20. Andy Dinh says:

      What will happen? If you would like to learn more information about the ongoing marijuana debate, check out this website! http://thenebula.org/the-marijuana-debate-legal-or-illegal/

    21. pua mana says:

      So does this Include The Right to Grow Your Own Medicine ? Or will it force to be a Slave to Gov.-Tax-Pot ???????
      Don’t trade your God-Given Right to Grow a Plant for the Servitude of Paying Tax on a Plant that was Created FREE !

    22. Ray Walker Jr. says:


      First of all I’ve used the link NORML provided:
      Go there and do the patriotic thing and voice yourselves and then read the whole document as I did:

      @pau hana
      I googled the name, and it came back with this:
      The time after work. It is considered a time for relaxation, informal socializing with friends and family, and enjoyment.
      That really cool. and I hope this helps you and anyone else in New Hampshire.

      Below is a partial copy of HB 492 that has been cherry picked to only include those sections that pertaining to Personal Use and Personal Cultivation.

      Give thanks to these guys and always remember who they are. They worked hard on this.

      Rep. Vaillancourt, Hills 15
      Rep. Warden, Hills 39
      Rep. Winters, Hills 18
      Rep. Lambert, Hills 44
      Rep. Robertson, Ches 6

      COMMITTEE: Criminal Justice and Public Safety

      This bill among other things Legalizes the personal use of up to one ounce of marijuana by persons 21 years of age or older.

      Personal Use of Marijuana. If you’re 21 years of age or older, the following acts will be legal under New Hampshire law. And the following also won’t be a basis for seizure or forfeiture of assets.
      (I’ve put my two cents in where I think needed in parenthesis.)

      I. Possessing, consuming, using, displaying, obtaining, purchasing, or transporting marijuana accessories, or marijuana in the amount of one ounce or less including up to 5 grams of hashish.
      (Pretty simple, no more than an ounce.)

      II. Possessing, growing, processing, or transporting no more than 6 marijuana plants, with 3 or fewer being mature, flowering plants, and possession of the marijuana produced by the plants on the premises where the plants were grown.
      (This one seems to be open for interpretation because it doesn’t speak about quantity. I can see 6 immature plants quickly getting over an ounce.)

      III. Transferring one ounce or less of marijuana and up to 6 immature marijuana plants to a person who is 21 years of age or older without remuneration.
      (Simple, NO MONEY involved. Pay it forward.)

      IV. Transferring or selling marijuana seeds or up to 6 marijuana seedlings to marijuana cultivation facilities.
      (I understand this to say its ok to sell seeds and 6 small plants to a licensed grower.)

      V. Assisting another person who is 21 years of age or older in any of the acts described in this section.
      (We should all teach each other to be good farmers)

      318-F:3 Restrictions on Personal Cultivation; Penalty.

      I. No person who is 21 years of age or older shall cultivate marijuana plants except as provided in this section.
      (These are the rules.)

      II. Marijuana plants shall not be cultivated in a location where the plants are subject to public view without the use of binoculars, aircraft, or other optical aids.
      (Anther not so clear one. Greenhouses even with frosted glass might be detectable with satellite multispectral or hyper-spectral imaging which is an “optical aid”. I’d just grow indoors.)

      III. A person who cultivates marijuana shall take reasonable precautions to ensure the plants are secure from unauthorized access. Cultivating marijuana in an enclosed, locked space to which unauthorized persons do not have access, or other similar security precautions, shall be prima facie evidence of reasonable precautions.
      (Lock it all up so that its a pain to deal with and thus a pain for all else.)

      IV. Marijuana cultivation shall only occur on property the cultivator legally owns, leases, or controls, or with the consent of the person who legally owns, leases, or controls the property.
      (Once again, simple.)

      V. A person who violates this section shall be guilty of a violation and may be fined not more than $750.

      318-F:4 Public Smoking of Marijuana Prohibited; Penalty.

      I. No person shall smoke marijuana in a public place.

      II. A person who violates this section shall be guilty of a violation and may be punished by a fine of not more than $100.

      Well, other than the one ounce restriction its pretty fair and clear. Like I’ve said before, they could just start by throwing all the laws about it in the trash, but thats not going to happen anytime soon.

    23. Mike Seewald says:

      Being from the “Great State of New York” we are under the rule of His Highness King Cuomo who is now dragging his feet on the medical marijuana bill. Being close to retirement age I have looked to New Hampshire for my golden years. If it should come to pass then, being an occasional user , I would enjoy making New Hampshire my home. I wish there was something I could do to help you folks out. It’s about time that we all should have freedom of choice.

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