New Hampshire adult-use cannabis legalization effort fails – again

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New Hampshire will remain the lone New England market without a regulated adult-use cannabis program after state lawmakers refused to compromise on a controversial legalization bill.

As expected, Republican Gov. Chris Sununu’s vision for a unique state-run sales model – 14 government-owned marijuana stores throughout the state – failed 178-173 with lawmakers in the libertarian-leaning state House of Representatives, the Associated Press reported.

The latest action eliminates the chance of an adult-use marijuana market passing during this legislative session.

The bill’s failure is considered a mixed bag for marijuana entrepreneurs, as it would have offered limited business opportunities.

The Sununu-supported state-run sales model would have been an outlier in the United States.

Though hard liquor is sold at state-run franchise stores in New Hampshire and several other states, government-run cannabis sales would have been a first.

And though New Hampshire senators ultimately passed the measure – the furthest any marijuana effort has made it in the legislative process – a state monopoly was considered a deal-breaker in the House.

According to the Associated Press, Democratic state Rep. Jared Sullivan called Sununu’s marijuana legalization idea “the most intrusive, big-government marijuana program proposed anywhere in the country, one that ignores free-market principles, will stifle innovation in an emerging industry and tie future generations of Granite Staters to an inferior model indefinitely.”

Regulated adult-use cannabis already is available in nearby Maine and Massachusetts, where towns near the New Hampshire border boast many marijuana stores.

Polling indicates 70% of New Hampshire voters favor marijuana legalization, the AP noted.