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NH House panel mulls marijuana decriminalization, allowing nano-brewers at farmers' markets

January 30. 2012 10:42PM

CONCORD - The issue of marijuana decriminalization will return to the State House later this week, when the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee considers a pair of bills on Thursday.

House Bill 1526 would make possession of up to an ounce of marijuana punishable only by a fine of up to $100. Pot possession would no longer be considered a misdemeanor offense, as is the case in Massachusetts after voters there passed a ballot measure.

Similar measures were passed by the Legislature is past sessions, but were vetoed by Gov. John Lynch.

One of the bill's primary backers, freshman Rep. Kyle Tasker, R-Northwood, hoped a compromise could be struck that would give the bill veto-proof support in both chambers.

'This is a bipartisan issue. Everyone agrees there's a need for change,' Tasker said, adding that law enforcement officials acknowledge marijuana violations are almost always pleaded out, while still saddling those arrested with criminal records.

Another bill to be discussed at the hearing, HB 1527, would go even further, exempting the cultivation of marijuana under the controlled drug act.

Nano-brewers eye farmers markets

After voting to grant special licenses to small brewers last year, the Legislature is now looking at allowing them to sell their product at farmers markets.

House Bill 1172 would allow nano-brewers, those that produce fewer than 2,000 barrels annually, to set up and sell their brews at stands at local produce markets.

The bill is set to be discussed at a House Commerce and Consumer Affairs hearing today.


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