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Back for more: Marijuana legalization returns

EDITORIAL
October 10. 2017 8:22PM




The ink is barely dry on New Hampshire’s new law decriminalizing possession of marijuana, but the Legislature is already debating going even further.

A subcommittee of the House Criminal Justice Committee Wednesday morning takes up HB 656, which would legalize and regulate the production, sale, and use of marijuana by people age 21 and over.

The bill is left over from the last legislative session when several competing marijuana bills were debated. Lawmakers compromised on decriminalization. The Criminal Justice Committee held on to the full legalization bill, and must make a recommendation on it by Nov. 16.

Committee members, even those who support legal weed, should kill the bill. The decriminalization law was a big step, though obviously not all that marijuana advocates wanted. But it was a good faith compromise.

To come back for more immediately would undermine the spirit of that compromise. There was never any question that marijuana advocates would continue to push for full legalization. Incrementalism is an effective political strategy, and one that conservatives would be well-advised to adopt more often. The purpose of taking small steps is to learn from the journey, giving skeptics new evidence.

We’ve been highly skeptical that turning marijuana possession into a traffic ticket was a good idea. New Hampshire should take time to digest this change before taking another bite.


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