New Hampshire House endorses adult-use marijuana, but major hurdle remains

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New Hampshire’s House gave preliminary approval on Wednesday to a bill legalizing a recreational marijuana industry that would allow an unlimited number of licenses statewide.

A similar bill passed the House last year before dying in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Democrats, who added legalization to their party platform last year, now control the Senate as well.

But the measure still faces a huge hurdle: Republican Gov. Chris Sununu has said he would “absolutely” veto the bill if it passes both chambers.

House lawmakers voted 209-147 to refer the bill to the House Ways and Means Committee for further consideration of the proposed regulatory system and tax structure.

New Hampshire, like many states across New England and the Northeast, is feeling pressure to legalize in wake of Massachusetts’ recreational marijuana program launch.

According to a summary prepared by the Marijuana Policy Project, the proposed measure includes:

  • No statewide limit on the number of licensees.
  • Communities could ban or restrict the number of cannabis establishments in their jurisdictions.
  • Cannabis would be subject to a $30/ounce tax at the wholesale level (or $15/ounce for trim). Medical cannabis would not be taxed.
  • A governor-appointed body – the Cannabis Control Commission – would regulate and license adult-use cannabis businesses. The commission would license marijuana retailers, cultivators, processors, transporters and independent labs. It also could authorize additional types of businesses.
  • The first retail store licenses would be issued by Nov. 30, 2020.

Associated Press and Marijuana Business Daily