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New Hampshire House Passes Marijuana Legalization Bill with Stricter Marketing Rules

New Hampshire House Passes Marijuana Legalization Bill with Stricter Marketing Rules

In a significant move, the New Hampshire House of Representatives has passed a bill to legalize and regulate marijuana in the state, setting strict limits on advertising and marketing practices. The legislation, introduced by Rep. Erica Layon, will now proceed to the Senate, where it is expected to encounter resistance due to its deviation from the state-controlled model preferred by Governor Chris Sununu.

Rep. Layon has worked tirelessly to garner support for the bill, despite warnings from some Senate members, notably Sen. Daryl Abbas, that the proposal may face challenges unless it includes a state-run franchise system for retail stores. However, the House has opted to stick with Layon’s original bill, rejecting a sweeping amendment that would have introduced a franchise model.

The bill, known as HB 1633, passed the full House with a vote of 239–136. It allows for the establishment of 15 retail stores statewide and imposes a 10 percent state charge on adult-use purchases, with medical marijuana exempt from the tax.

Layon’s approach emphasizes an agency store system, where private businesses granted limited licenses by the Liquor Commission would operate under state regulation. She argues that a state-run sales model or a franchise system could expose the state to federal intervention or litigation risks.

Opponents of the bill raised concerns about potential negative impacts on mental health and public safety. However, Layon emphasized the need for regulated, tested products to ensure consumer safety and reduce reliance on the illicit market.

The bill’s journey through the Senate remains uncertain, with the possibility of significant amendments or outright rejection. Nevertheless, Layon remains optimistic about its prospects, emphasizing the importance of providing a legal, regulated cannabis market for New Hampshire residents.

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