Marijuana-legalization legislation dies in N.H. House
Legislation to legalize marijuana in New Hampshire met a swift end yesterday, when the House voted to kill the bill without any debate.
The House, where Democrats hold a majority, voted, 239-112, to kill the bill.
The vote didn’t fall along party lines. Some 135 Democrats and 104 Republicans voted to kill the bill, while 61 Democrats and 51 Republicans voted in support of it.
If it had become law, the legislation would have removed references to marijuana from the state’s drug control laws as of Jan. 1.
Marijuana would still be illegal under federal law. But New Hampshire would have followed in the footsteps of Colorado and Washington state, where voters last year approved ballot initiatives to allow the recreational use of marijuana.
The Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee was divided on the bill, recommending the full House kill it on a 12-8 vote. Opponents noted it would have run counter to federal law, while supporters said prohibition of marijuana isn’t working.
The House will consider two more marijuana bills later this month.
One would decriminalize possession of less than an ounce of marijuana. The Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee voted, 12-6, to recommend the full House kill that bill.
The second bill would legalize the medicinal use of marijuana for seriously ill and terminal patients. The Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee endorsed it on a 14-1 vote.
Also yesterday, the House passed a bill to legalize industrial hemp. Hemp can be used to make rope, fabric and other products – though, like marijuana, it is derived from the cannabis plant.
The legislation was approved on a voice vote. A similar bill passed the House last year but died after the Senate sent it to interim study.
(Ben Leubsdorf can be reached at 369-3307 or
firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BenLeubsdorf.)