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N.H. Votes (Again) to Decriminalize Pot

PROBartolomej Jahoda via Flickr CC

 The New Hampshire House has again voted decriminalize marijuana. This proposal would make first offense possession of a 1/4 ounce or less a violation.

The 289-58 vote marked the seventh time house lawmakers have tried to make marijuana possession a violation.

Backers of this proposal, like Hampton Democrat Renny Cushing pitched it as a middle ground.

"This is a compromise that will allow us to have first time offenders who have a small amount of marijuana escape a lifetime of draconian punishment for that and have a second chance."

First offenders caught for marijuana would be fined $300. Subsequent violation could be charged as misdemeanors. The bill now heads back to the senate. That chamber has has never supported decriminalization, but has backed making marijuana possession a non-specific misdemeanor.

Supporters of that change -- including police chiefs -- think that will treating giving judge more flexibility to treat marijuana crimes as violations if circumstances warrant it.

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