NH House committee recommends killing marijuana bill
House Bill 492 is modeled after Colorado and Washington laws that were approved by referendum. The bill would allow possession and transportation of up to one ounce of marijuana and, with a $30 per ounce tax, could produce between $20 million and $30 million for the cash-strapped state, said bill Rep. Steve Vaillancourt, R-Manchester.
Vaillancourt said a recent Granite State Poll indicates New Hampshire has joined the rest of the country in supporting the legalization of marijuana. The poll shows 51 percent support legalization and 41 percent oppose, he said.
But others disagreed saying the bill lacks a mechanism to regulate its use, sales and cultivation at a time when prescription drug addiction is a growing problem. And they said it would do little to end the black market sale of the drug.
But committee vice chair Rep. Robert “Renny” Cushing, D-Hampton, said the war on drugs has been a failure and a waste of resources, people and time.
The bill does not force anyone to use marijuana, Vaillancourt noted, and allows communities to opt out if the choose to do that.
HB 492 also establishes a drug abuse treatment program.
While the committee voted down the bill, Vaillancourt said he would fight the recommendation on the House floor.
New Hampshire is the only state in New England where a person can serve up to a year in jail for possessing a small amount of marijuana.
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