Thu March 8, 2012
Marijuana Decriminalization Clears House
The New Hampshire House has moved to decriminalize a person’s first two possessions of less than a half ounce of marijuana.
It passed by a single vote.
“162 members having voted in the affirmative, 161 in the negative. The chair declines to vote."
Republican Speaker Bill O'Brien decision to not vote against the bill sends it to the senate, where its prospects are unclear.
Under the proposal, a first offense would carry a $250 fine; a second would cost $500. Subsequent offenses would be misdemeanors, which could land a violator in jail for a year and carry a $1000 fine.
Current law treats all violations as misdemeanors, punishable by up to a $2,000 fine and a year in jail.
But the house also strongly rejected a separate marijuana bill that would have legalized it for adults.
More than a dozen other states have decriminalized small amounts of marijuana, including Massachusetts, Maine and Connecticut.
Governor John Lynch has long opposed loosening marijuana laws – including for medical use.