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Could marijuana legalization go up in smoke? N.H. political leaders say it’s possible.

Brett Levin

Leaders in the New Hampshire Senate say they have doubts about a House plan to legalize marijuana and empower the state liquor commission to sell it.

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Among other measures, this bill would allow adults to possess up to a quarter-pound of marijuana, and cleared the House by 13 votes this week. The vote came after a push from Republican House leaders and earlier legislative scrambling to craft a plan Gov. Chris Sununu might be game to support.

A longtime opponent of legalization, Sununu has praised this bill but hasn’t said he’d sign it. But before it gets to Sununu, the proposal needs to pass the Senate – which no legalization bill ever has.

“I think the Senate has always opposed legalizing marijuana and I think that’s still the same right now,” said Senate President Chuck Morse of Salem. “I think there is a concept here that people want to try to understand,” Morse, who is also running in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, said.

But the Senate’s top Democrat, Donna Soucy of Manchester, meanwhile, says this bill’s core concept – allowing the liquor commission to sell marijuana – is a problem.

“Whether the state should be in the business of marijuana is something a lot of us have hesitancy about,” she said.

A separate plan to legalize the possession and home cultivation of marijuana, but not allow for retail sales, is also before the Senate after passing the House in January.

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