New Hampshire has become the latest state to decriminalize cannabis, after almost ten years of hard work by cannabis proponents there.
Governor Chris Sununu just announced that he would sign into law the Granite State bill, known as ‘HB 640,’ which is all set to go into effect in 60 days. This essentially means that there will no longer be jail time for cannabis possession, even if it isn’t strictly legal.
The early part of this year saw the New Hampshire House of Representatives pass a decriminalization bill for the the eighth time since 2008. However, this is the first time that a decriminalization proposal was put forward that actually garnered proper support.
Matt Simon, who led efforts in the past for such a move, and works as a legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project, promised constituents that “This year the result will be different,” adding, “The governor deserves credit for his steadfast support of this commonsense reform. 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.”
Simon also praised the numerous lawmakers who have made this happen, noting that, “A lot of credit also goes to the House, which has been passing decriminalization bills since 2008. It is refreshing to see the Senate finally come to an agreement with the House on this issue. This is a big step toward a more sensible marijuana policy for New Hampshire.”
The bottom line with HB 640 is that the penalty for possession of 3/4 of an ounce or more will become a civil violation only and not a criminal one. That means that punishments will be handed out in fines of $100 a time, but there will be no possibility of jail time at all for simple possession.
The new bill will change the face of law enforcement in New Hampshire to a degree. Considering that back in 2012, 3,000 people from the state were arrested for possession, the new bill will free the police up to handle more serious crimes.
As it stands, roughly 68 percent of New Hampshire voters support full legalization of cannabis, so this bill will be seen as extremely positive by a large chunk of the community there.