Marijuana Legalization | New Hampshire Public Radio

Marijuana Legalization

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Efforts to loosen New Hampshire's marijuana laws appear to be losing momentum at the State House, as separate Senate committees took action this week against bills that would make marijuana more accessible.


When states legalize pot for all adults, long-standing medical marijuana programs take a big hit, in some cases losing more than half their registered patients in just a few years, according to a data analysis by The Associated Press.


Marijuana legalization efforts at the State House were put on hold Thursday, as the Senate referred the bill back to committee.

 “Although we may disagree on whether the prohibition of marijuana has been a success, or whether we should remain an island within New England, we all agree that this decision cannot be made lightly and without further consideration," Sen. Martha Hennessey, D-Hanover, said in motioning the bill back to the Judiciary Committee. 

A committee is holding off action on a bill to legalize recreational marijuana in New Hampshire.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has voted unanimously to hold it in committee. The recommendation means it is unlikely a legalization effort will move forward in the Legislature this year.

The House passed the bill in April.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR


Critics of marijuana are trying to derail a legalization bill in New Hampshire by questioning the costs of legalization in other states.


They spoke out today as a Senate committee held its first hearing on the bill. Sen. Bob Giuda, a Warren Republican, rallied opponents before promising he would lead the opposition in the Senate.

Marijuana legalization cleared another legislative hurdle Thursday at the New Hampshire State House.

The House of Representatives voted 200-163 to pass a marijuana legalization bill, as amended by the Ways and Means Committee.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

A bill to legalize marijuana in New Hampshire has cleared another step in the State House, but not before a rewrite of how the state would tax it.

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: March 1, 2019

Feb 28, 2019

The New Hampshire House takes a big step toward legalizing recreational marijuana in the state, but Gov. Chris Sununu has already promised to veto. The New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon gets clearance to host a country music festival. And a Sig Sauer executive goes to court in Germany over a weapons deal. This and other stories from the week in news.

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New Hampshire legislators on Wednesday voted to move forward a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana in the state. The House voted 209-147 to pass a measure that would allow possession of up to an ounce of marijuana.

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, one of half a dozen Democratic senators running for the White House, is reintroducing a bill on Thursday that would fundamentally end the federal government's prohibition on marijuana.

The Hype - And The Many Unknowns - Around CBD

Feb 26, 2019

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a non-intoxicating compound derived from marijuana plants. In New Hampshire, CBD is available for purchase online and in stores, and has seen a recent boom lately. Many users say it helps with a range of health issues, from insomnia to anxiety to pain. However, clinical research remains limited. We look at what we know about CBD, and what we don't. 

A bill to legalize recreational marijuana in New Hampshire has won the backing of a House committee, but the narrow vote foretells a floor fight when the full House of Representatives considers it.

The House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee voted 10-9 to recommend passage of House Bill 481.

The marijuana legalization debate returns to the Granite State.  Advocates have been trying to legalize pot here for years, and this session, lawmakers are again taking up the issue.  On Tuesday, we examine the arguments. Advocates say legalization could lead to a decline in the use of more dangerous drugs.  But opponents warn of unintended consequences, including the impact on babies born to mothers who consume cannabis while pregnant. We'll also examine the broader context, as New Hampshire's three neighboring states have all legalized.   

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: February 8, 2019

Feb 8, 2019

A bill to legalize recreational marijuana gets a hearing in Concord.  A seemingly routine request for a pay raise at the Executive Council became a tense discussion of the financial management of the state's Liquor Commission.  And Dover school officials stand by their decision to NOT fire a teacher at the center of a controversy over racist song lyrics. 

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Opponents of legalizing recreational marijuana made a pre-emptive strike against a bill that would do just that in New Hampshire.

Health advocates joined police chiefs at a news conference Thursday—ahead of the legalization bill’s first public hearing next week—to highlight what they say are dangers for young people and the public at large.

Dan Tuohy for NHPR

New Hampshire state lawmakers have a dozen marijuana-related bills on their plate in 2019. Most  of them involve proposed updates and expansions for the state's therapeutic cannabis program.

There are two bills calling for legalization of recreational marijuana for adults:


A state commission created to reduce alcohol and drug problems in New Hampshire expressed opposition Friday to a bill to legalize recreational marijuana use.

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: January 18, 2019

Jan 17, 2019

The State's Office of the Child Advocate releases its first annual report on the state of DCYF. Director Moira O'Neill says lots more needs to be done to keep kids safe. Julian Castro comes to New Hampshire in his bid to win over Democrats in the 2020 presidential primary. And democrats have made legal marijuana a part of its platform, so why do some leading democrats seem reluctant to back legalization bills? 


Lawmakers will hear testimony Tuesday on a bill to add opioid addiction as a qualifying condition for access to the state's medical marijuana program.

It's the first time for the bill in New Hampshire, though it's been discussed in the past.

NHPR File Photo


Massachusetts is inching closer to licensing so-called "cannabis cafes" where individuals could smoke the drug in a communal setting, while also allowing for the home delivery of marijuana.

A panel studying both issues made several recommendations Wednesday on regulations which must still be approved by the full Cannabis Control Commission before any pot cafes or home delivery businesses can open.

A bill to legalize marijuana in New Hampshire in 2019 would raise $33 million a year and regulate cannabis in a way similar to alcohol in New Hampshire.

In a first preview of his bipartisan bill, State Representative Renny Cushing says it builds upon the work of a recent marijuana study commission. He provided NHPR a draft copy of the legislation, which has yet to be made public, for review.



Two stores in Massachusetts began selling recreational marijuana today, but police are reminding people in New Hampshire to be careful.

State law says someone can be arrested if they have more than three quarters of an ounce of marijuana and charged with a felony if they have over an ounce with intent to distribute.

The commission studying marijuana legalization in New Hampshire released its 264-page report with 54 recommendations that form a potential blueprint should state legislators pursue bills to legalize cannabis for adult, recreational use.

Read the final report here.

Though it takes no position on legalization, the commission produced a framework for marijuana legalization, starting with recommending lawmakers refer to it as cannabis.

The final report of the marijuana study commission, which is due out Thursday, will feature something of a disclaimer: Some members want it known neither they nor their organization are staking out any position on recreational pot.

State Rep. Patrick Abrami, the chairman, says the qualifying language will be on the second or third page of the report. "Disclaimer" is his word.

"They're concerned about it being construed as an up or down vote, or even being construed as a consensus," he said in an interview.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

New Hampshire Police Chiefs say a forthcoming report on marijuana legalization shows that now is a bad time to legalize recreational pot here.

The Association of Chiefs of Police gathered in Concord on Monday to repeat its opposition.

It comes as the legislative commission tasked with studying legalization, taxation and regulation of cannabis is wrapping up its report.


Mat Beren and his friends used to drive by the vast greenhouses of southern British Columbia and joke about how much weed they could grow there.

Years later, it's no joke. The tomato and pepper plants that once filled some of those greenhouses have been replaced with a new cash crop: marijuana. Beren and other formerly illicit growers are helping cultivate it. The buyers no longer are unlawful dealers or dubious medical dispensaries; it's the Canadian government.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

The commission studying marijuana legalization in New Hampshire will be making up to 50 recommendations in its report due November 1st

Just don’t expect an up-or-down vote to recommend recreational pot.

Or oppose it.

State Representative Patrick Abrami, chairman of the commission, says the report will outline the potential pitfalls and the best way for legislators to go about it—should New Hampshire follow neighboring states and legalize it for adults.


Last week, the city of Dover became the first New Hampshire municipality to raise their smoking age from 18 to 21. The new city ordinance prohibits anyone under 21 from buying, using or possessing tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and vaping devices. We look at what kind of impact this law may have on the Dover community, and the state as a whole, and look at similar legislation in Maine and Massachusetts. 

Later in the hour, an update on marijuana legalization across New England. 

NHPR File Photo


New England may still be the next U.S. frontier for legal cannabis; just don't try shopping for it quite yet.

After early successes for the cannabis industry in western states, the region seemed the next logical foothold. But while its famous independent streak, liberal politics and ample supply of college activism all made for fertile ground, the legalization movement has often collided with old-fashioned Yankee sensibilities — particularly in towns weary of the stigma around pot.

NHPR File Photo

It’s the summer of weed for neighboring states that have legalized recreational marijuana. The road to New Hampshire, though, remains one big “pot” hole.

Pot is still illegal here.

It’s a point underscored in an interview with Tuftonborough Police Chief Andrew Shagoury, president of the N.H. Association of Chiefs of Police.