The New Hampshire Senate has taken a significant step toward cannabis legalization by approving the creation of a commission to study the matter. Governor Chris Sununu has expressed his support for cannabis reforms on the condition that sales occur exclusively in state-run dispensaries. The decision to establish the commission was made as part of a bill aimed at expanding the eligibility criteria for the state’s medical cannabis program.
While the New Hampshire House had previously passed a comprehensive cannabis legalization bill, it was rejected by the Senate. However, Governor Sununu’s recent comments on a television program indicated his willingness to sign a cannabis legalization bill that incorporates a sales structure through state-operated shops, drawing a parallel to how liquor is currently sold in the state. He acknowledged that cannabis legalization in some form was likely inevitable for New Hampshire.
The commission’s primary task will be to conduct a thorough study on the feasibility of implementing a state-controlled system for the sale of cannabis. It will examine various aspects such as preventing access to cannabis by minors and keeping it out of schools, regulating marketing and messaging related to cannabis sales, granting local control, and addressing concerns regarding multi-drug use.
In addition, the commission will explore how to allow adult-use cannabis sales without imposing additional taxes. The commission’s work will begin promptly, with the first meeting scheduled within 45 days of the bill’s passage. The commission is expected to submit its final report by December 1, 2023.
However, before the commission can commence its study, the bill still needs to receive approval from the New Hampshire House. If it successfully passes through the House, it will then move to Governor Sununu for final approval. This development signifies the state’s growing momentum toward cannabis legalization and reflects the ongoing deliberations to shape a potential regulatory framework for the industry in New Hampshire