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New Hampshire Passes Adult-Use Legalization Bill Through Senate

New Hampshire has moved one step closer to becoming the next US state to legalize adult-use cannabis, following a historic vote last week.

Repeated attempts to push through cannabis reform finally came to fruition last Thursday (May 23) as bipartisan support saw House Bill 1633 pass through the Senate, which voted 14-9 in favour.

HB 1633 will now need to pass through the House, which despite being historically supportive of cannabis liberalization bills, could become a major obstacle to this latest effort.

This is due to a number of key changes made to the original bill aimed at ensuring New Hamshire’s Governor, Chris Sununu, will refrain from vetoing.

These changes include limiting the number of cannabis dispensaries to 15, giving local voters final approval before a cannabis store is opened in their area, dropping legal possession limits from 4 ounces to 2 ounces, pushing back the rollout until 2026, and enforcing strict regulatory control by the New Hampshire Liquor Commission.

Cannabis would also be sold under a franchise model, granting the state complete oversight over business operations.

Now even the bill’s creator and lead sponsor, Representative Erica Layon, says she is planning to vote against this version of the bill, despite it making it further than any previous attempt at legalization.

The House is scheduled to vote on the Senate’s version of the bill next week, and if passed it will go to Sununu’s desk for final approval, potentially seeing New Hampshire become the final state in New England to legalize adult-use cannabis.

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