NH House approves marijuana decriminalization; Gov. Sununu will sign
CONCORD — The New Hampshire House of Representatives voted Thursday to remove criminal penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana.
The bill now heads to the desk of Republican Gov. Chris Sununu who has said he will sign it.
“We’ll let the legislature go through their process and we’ll see where it ends up but I do believe in the decriminalization aspect of marijuana," Sununu told NH1 News back in April. "Obviously not the full legalization. Those are two very different issues.”
This will make New Hampshire the final state in New England to decriminalize the drug.
The House originally approved changing possession of up to an ounce of marijuana from a misdemeanor to a violation-level office. The Senate changed that to three-quarters of an ounce, and the House agreed to the change.
Supporters argue that the change will ensure young people's lives aren't ruined by getting caught with marijuana. Opponents have argued that decriminalization sends the wrong message as the state battles a drug crisis.
Some of the supporters were quick to weigh in on Thursday.
"We applaud the New Hampshire House in voting to concur with the Senate version of the bill and urge the Governor to sign into law without delay," Devon Chaffee, the Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire, wrote in a prepared statement. "It is time for New Hampshire to join the rest of New England in adopting more sensible marijuana possession laws."
Material from The Associated Press contributed to this story.