New Hampshire Lawmakers Screw Up Marijuana Legalization—Again

The get high or die tryin’ state strikes again

Today started off sort of promising for Granite State legalization advocates. As the New Hampshire Cannabis Association, an advocacy group pushing to end prohibition in the state, posted on social media this morning, “While the agenda for today’s Senate Judiciary Executive Session has not been posted on its website, we are of the understanding that HB 639 (and maybe other cannabis bills?) will be voted on by the committee today.”

As we said, it was only sort of promising. Which is apparently as good as things get in New Hampshire on this issue, because the state’s Senate Judiciary Committee then voted against the measure. The vote was along party lines, with Democrats losing out to prohibitionist Republicans across the aisle.

The disappointment was basically expected.

As the Conway Daily Sun and other local outlets there explained it last month, despite that state’s “Act relative to the legalization and regulation of cannabis” being co-sponsored by House Republican and Democrat leaders “and supported by a broad coalition of marijuana industry and civil rights and policy groups,” the bill faced a potential wall in the state Senate.

“Nearly three-quarters of the House voted for passage, and this was reflective of public opinion,” New Hampshire state Rep. David Paige Paige told the Sun at the time. “Bottom line: Ending prohibition will make a product that is already widespread in our community safer. Prohibition is a futile enterprise and a waste of resources when any adult in Conway can drive 10 minutes over the border to Maine to purchase the product. I hope the Senate follows suit.”

WCAX and other New Hampshire outlets are reporting that a full vote could come as soon as this Thursday, and that prospects aren’t any better.

“We are hearing that Governor Sununu has been calling senators and calling them into his office and telling them that now is not the time for legalizing or regulating cannabis because the bill is incomplete,” Tim Egan of the New Hampshire Cannabis Association told reporters.

“I think that is a bit of a farce.”