(RepublicanNews.org) – Legal marijuana may soon be available in the ‘Live Free or Die State.’
While the bill to legalize recreational marijuana has not passed either chamber of the New Hampshire General Court (that state’s name for its legislature), the House voted 234-127 to advance the bill to its Ways and Means Committee.
Bill supporters point to the 21 other states that have legalized recreational cannabis, and these include all the New England states.
Laws in recent decades have treated marijuana differently, seeing the drug through one of two lenses: medicinal, and recreational. The usual path to complete legalization is for a state to first permit marijuana to be sold to patients with prescriptions who use it to control pain or nausea.
Then, as the culture changes, states usually advance to proposing to legalize cannabis outright and drop the legal distinctions between “medicinal” and “recreational” weed.
Legalizing marijuana usually results in the free market and state tax-collectors sharing a common goal. Vermont legalized the retail sale of recreational marijuana in October 2022. Now, in February 2023, shops have popped up seemingly everywhere, in cities and small towns alike.
New Hampshire’s interest in legalizing cannabis appears to be no different. And New Hampshire appears to be following the same pattern set by other states – by proposing to give control over the sale and tax collecting to the state’s liquor board. Current proposals in New Hampshire would award the state a hefty 15% tax on marijuana sales. State liquor boards and commissions are widely seen to be tax-collection machines hiding behind the fig leaf of “health and safety.”
Weed legalization has had a rocky road in the state. The Senate has blocked several attempts to legalize it in recent years even when the House has passed bills. Republican Governor Chris Sununu has consistently stood against recreational legalization.
Legalization proponents claim that their efforts will make sure cannabis is “safe” and regulated, while opponents cite the danger of teen drug use and resistance to legalization from police.
We will see how this debate unfolds as the bill passes through the New Hampshire legislature.
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