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N.H. House Votes In Favor Of Legalizing Marijuana, Bill Goes To Ways & Means

Ryan Lessard
House members gather for roll call vote to kill the bill. That vote passed but was later overturned.

After hours of debate and despite a promised veto from Governor Maggie Hassan, the New Hampshire House voted in favor of a bill to legalize marijuana 170 to 162 Wednesday night.

The arguments were familiar.

Hindsdale Democrat, Representative William Butynksi spoke against the bill.

“This is not an innocuous drug. There are negative health impacts. Dependence. Today, about 1 in 11 adults who use marijuana become dependent.”

But Republican Representative from Nottingham, Romeo Danais said using cannabis should be no different from taking a drink.

“Smoking a joint in your home and not doing anything certainly is a victimless crime. If it was legal, it wouldn’t be a crime at all and it wouldn’t hurt anybody at all.”

The House was split down the middle on the issue. And it’ll have another chance to vote on the bill once it clears the Ways and Means Committee.

If it survives the second vote in the House, it moves to the Senate where it’s expected to face an uphill battle. And Governor Maggie Hassan has promised to veto it if it reaches her. 

Before becoming a reporter for NHPR, Ryan devoted many months interning with The Exchange team, helping to produce their daily talk show. He graduated from the University of New Hampshire in Manchester with a major in Politics and Society and a minor in Communication Arts. While in school, he also interned for a DC-based think tank. His interests include science fiction and international relations. Ryan is a life-long Manchester resident.

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