A bill to legalize the recreational use and commercial sale of marijuana in New Hampshire by adults passed its first test in the New Hampshire House of Representatives on Wednesday, in a bipartisan 209-147 vote.
The bill now moves to the House Ways and Means Committee, given its financial implications, and will return to the House for a second vote after that committee files its recommendation.
The House passed a legalization bill last year on the first vote, but it died in Ways and Means. Gov. Chris Sununu has promised a veto of the bill, HB 481. A two-thirds vote in House and Senate would be needed to override, and Wednesday’s vote did not come close to those numbers.
The bill came to the House floor with a 10-9 vote of “ought to pass” by the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. That close vote, with Republicans and Democrats on both sides of the issue, was a preview of Wednesday’s floor debate.
“Despite our centuries of experience with marijuana we have a dearth of hard data regarding long-term effects of marijuana on the human body,” said Rep. Skip Berrien, D-Exeter. [Read more at New Hampshire Union Leader]