Cannabis is legal in states around New Hampshire, but it’s not easy to actually get some and consume it legally

  • A marijuana joint is rolled Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, in San Francisco. Prop 64 legalizing marijuana for recreational use passed in California. The number of Americans living in states with recreational marijuana more than tripled after at least three states voted to fully legalize the drug. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) Marcio Jose Sanchez

Monitor staff
Published: 4/20/2019 6:59:17 PM

New Hampshire’s status as an island of cannabis crackdown in a sea of marijuana acceptance continues to be the topic of debate, including an annual 420 smoke-in at the State House in Concord that was rained out on Saturday.

That event was scheduled for the 20th day of the fourth month of the year in reference to a long-standing code in which 420 stands for marijuana, due to reasons that are obscure. Of more importance is House Bill 481 that would legalize cannabis use in the state, with many limitations. It has passed the House and is being pondered by the state Senate, although it seems Gov. Chris Sununu will likely to veto the bill if it passes.

A number of other cannabis-related bills are percolating through the legislature, including some concerning which medical conditions can justify the use of therapeutic marijuana.

As we await decisions, this seems a good time to review the evolving status of marijuana if you cross the state border.

Maine, Massachusetts and Vermont have all legalized recreational marijuana for people age 21 or older but only Massachusetts has any stores that actually sell it. In Maine and Vermont you have to find somebody to give it to you because private sale is illegal.

If every state, by the way, you must consume cannabis there rather than bring it home. It is a federal offense to take marijuana across any state line.

The problem is where to consume it. It’s illegal in all three of our bordering states to consume marijuana in public and none of them have created the cannabis equivalent of cigar lounges. As a result, the only way to smoke, vape or otherwise consume cannabis in those states is if you know somebody who will let you do it in their private home.

So what about going north? Things are more complicated in Quebec.

In October, Canada became the second nation in the world to legalize marijuana across the country. People age 18 and older can possess and share up to 30 grams of marijuana. In Quebec, cannabis is sold by stores owned by the provincial government, known as SQDC or Société Québécoise du cannabis.

In theory, it can be smoked anywhere that tobacco smoking is allowed, which includes most outdoor locations and a few indoor locations. But there are exceptions and they seem to be in flux because a provincial political party that campaigned on tightening cannabis regulations was elected in October. Among other things, it will probably raise the minimum age of consumption to 21 and prohibit consumption anywhere in public.

Canada is also facing an unusual problem: With the entire country legalizing recreational weed at the same time, supply shortages have sprung up and some pundits say they will last for years. At least one cannabis store, in Newfoundland, has shut down because it couldn’t get enough material to sell.

(David Brooks can be reached at 368-3313, or on Twitter @GraniteGeek.)

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