The New Hampshire House pulled an about-face last night, axing a bill they crafted that would have legalized limited amounts of cannabis possession, sales and cultivation for adults 21 and up.
Lawmakers voted 192-140 against the bill, which would have legalized the possession of up to an ounce of herb in public and the cultivation of up to six plants at home. The measure would also have created limited recreational cannabis sales, taxed at $60 per-ounce wholesale.
Apparently though, the bill was too vaguely written for the House tax writing committee to deal with and they recommended killing the bill after a review. Among their chief concerns, they said that it lacked a single agency charged with overseeing all operations.
Or possibly it was just too scary for some of the tax committee members to be a part of.
”I don’t think New Hampshire wants to be known as the East Coast pot state,” Rep. Mark Cooney, a member of the tax committee, told the Boston Herald.
Others, like Republican rep David Hess, voted against the bill because they say legalizing the regulated sales of cannabis and allowing people to grow their own supply at home “breeds tax evasion.” Hess also said his state didn’t need the “cash cow” that is legalized cannabis sales.
Because, you know, a state that is $15 billion in debt doesn’t need all the help it can get.
But as the votes show, the bill still had a lot of bipartisan supporters. Rep. Steve Vaillancourt, a Republican from Manchester said it was the only way to “break the back” of black market sales. Rep. Joel Winters, a Democrat from the same district, agreed with his colleague:
“Drug dealers don’t check IDs,” Winters said.
The bill legalizing limited amounts of pot likely isn’t the only failure. The House did manage to pass a decriminalization bill two weeks ago, but the Senate is expected to reject it like they rejected a similar measure to decriminalize 14 grams of pot last year. Even if the bills did manage to make it through, New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan says she wouldn’t sign it.
Currently, possession of any amount of cannabis is a misdemeanor in New Hampshire, with up to a year in jail and $2,000 in fines. Manufacturing with intent to sell (which is usually what growers get charged with in New Hampshire) can get you anywhere from a year to 20 years in prison.