More than two-thirds of New Hampshire adults (68%) support making marijuana legal, according to a Granite State Poll released last month by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center.
The bill specifically forbids police officers from arresting anyone for a marijuana possession violation.
New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu yesterday signed a bill into law that legalises and regulates daily fantasy sports in the state, making it the 13th U.S. state to do so.
Bipartisan-backed, the new law converts a possession case of no more than three-quarters of an ounce into a simple civil violation.
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"The governor deserves credit for his steadfast support of this commonsense reform", said Matt Simon, the Manchester-based New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. "Unlike his predecessors, who opposed similar proposals, Gov. Sununu appears to understand that "Live Free or Die" is more than just a motto on a license plate". A fourth offense would be treated as a class B misdemeanor, and minors would be subject to a delinquency petition. Prior to Sununu's term as governor, his precursor-former governor Maggie Hassan-was strongly opposed to downgrading possession as a non-criminal offense.
The law is set to take effect in 60 days. If New Hampshire takes up that possibility, it would join the eight other states that have already legalized cannabis. But New Hampshire held out despite numerous attempts to reform its marijuana laws. No longer wasting their time on recreational smokers, New Hampshire's law enforcement and court system will finally be able to allocate more assets to cracking down on real crime. While the state's House of Representatives traditionally voted in favor of decriminalization, the state Senate was not as open to a new brand of legislation.
While decriminalization is an important step forward, advocates like Simon and supportive legislators note that the laws are catching up with strong public support for both legalization.
It was no surprise that the bill got speedy support from Sununu.