Senate passes marijuana decriminalization

May 12, 2017

BY: CCNH-LFDA Highlights

After rejecting several bills over the past decade, the New Hampshire Senate has voted to decriminalize marijuana.

The bill now heads to the House for final approval.  Gov. Chris Sununu said he will sign the bill.  The law would go into effect this summer. 

Supporters of marijuana decriminalization argue that marijuana is much less harmful than other drugs, so someone caught with a small amount shouldn’t face the severe consequences of a criminal conviction.

Responding to arguments that marijuana is a gateway drug, Sen. Jeff Woodburn said, “Marijuana conviction is a gateway to a record and a record is a gateway to job loss and a record is a gateway to college loan rejection.” 

New Hampshire is also the only state in New England that has not decriminalized or legalized marijuana.

Bill opponents argued that decriminalizing any drug sends the wrong message to citizens in the middle of an addiction crisis.

Sen. Bob Giuda argued that making it easier to use marijuana, this law will make it harder for companies to find employees that pass a drug test.

“We've compromised the future of our workforce and we've compromised the future of our children,” said Giuda. 

When we asked our community about decriminalizing marijuana this April, an overwhelming majority supported it.  Click here to read a summary of the discussion. 

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