New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) on Tuesday signed the bill to create a cannabis legalization study commission, the New Hampshire Bulletin reports. The commission will evaluate how, and whether, cannabis could be sold through state-owned shops rather than private retailers.
Cannabis use and possession is currently not legal in New Hampshire. In 2017, the state decriminalized possession of up to three-quarters of an ounce and anyone caught with less than that may be fined but not arrested.
Sununu, who is not running for reelection next year, has long opposed cannabis legalization reforms in the state but in May said he would sign a legalization proposal into law if the bill included government control of sales, like how the state handles liquor sales. Were the state to approve such a system, New Hampshire would be the only state in the country to sell cannabis at state-run shops. Sununu has criticized nearby Maine and Massachusetts for, what he calls, “Marijuana Miles” or high concentrations of cannabis dispensaries.
The commission will include five senators and five House representatives, as well as members representing the Attorney General’s Office; the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police; the New Hampshire Bankers Association; the New Hampshire Liquor Commission; the American Civil Liberties Union; the New Hampshire Medical Society; and Communities for Alcohol and Drug-Free Youth. The commission will be required to consult with the state’s Alternative Treatment Centers, which currently dispense medical cannabis in the state, and the New Hampshire Cannabis Association, which has advocated for broad legalization.
Under the law, the commission must file a report with its findings and recommendations by December 1. (Full Story)