NH lawmakers to consider legalizing recreational marijuana

Published: Oct. 29, 2021 at 4:24 PM EDT
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LEBANON, N.H.(WCAX) - Lawmakers in New Hampshire have introduced legislation to legalize recreational marijuana. The move comes after surrounding New England states have already legalized the drug.

“As of now, it is kind of an island prohibition when you look at it,” said Mike Freeman of North Sutton.

New legislation in New Hampshire would legalize up to an ounce of pot for personal use as well as allow people to grow up to three mature plants. Many Granite Staters, like Freeman, support the bill. “I don’t smoke marijuana but I think it would be a good thing for the economy,” he said.

Representative Tim Egan, D-Sugar Hill, is sponsoring the legislation. “At the end of the day, if it does become a business -- and it should -- states like New Hampshire, who have struggled to find revenue for education or mental health care, can say, in our taxation of cannabis, a percentage for that is going to go for these issues,” he said.

He says the economic benefits of commercialization down the road are the reason why legalization has bipartisan support in New Hampshire. According to a study by the University of New Hampshire, 75% of residents support it. But Governor Chris Sununu, R-New Hampshire, in the past has been opposed. However, it seems as though he could be softening his stance.

“One thing I’m really trying to do is look at what has worked and what hasn’t worked. We have been very successful with our doorway system and how we address substance misuse in this state. It’s going really well. Again, we just want to collect the data, understand the pushes and pulls, the pros and cons, and work with the Legislature to hopefully find the best solution,” Sununu said.

Advocates say the benefits of cannabis outweigh any potential risks. And others say there are worst things than pot. “I mean, look at alcohol. Basically, that’s the way I see it, you know,” Freeman said.

Legal recreational pot in New Hampshire is still a long way off. The bill would first have to get through the committee process once the Legislature reconvenes in January.

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