Bill To Decriminalize Small Amounts Of Marijuana Goes Before Senate Committee

Apr 7, 2015

A bill that would decriminalize small amounts of marijuana in New Hampshire goes before a Senate committee Tuesday.

The proposal cleared the House by a wide margin, 297 to 67, last month, but the bill faces a tougher challenge in the Senate.

Gov. Maggie Hassan has threatened to veto such legislation.

The bill’s sponsor, Representative Adam Schroadter, a Newmarket Republican, says he’s seen more support this year from those who had opposed similar efforts in the past.

"Today, especially with the question of the heroin epidemic that our state is facing, the idea of shifting our valuable time and resources, is something that I think law enforcement and government officials alike are really coming around to," he said. 

The bill would make possession of up to a half ounce of marijuana a violation, as opposed to current law which treats possession as a misdemeanor.

Under the bill, a first offense would carry a $100 fine.

New Hampshire remains the only state in New England not to have relaxed penalties for marijuana possession in recent years.

The bill goes before the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday morning.