After decades of hard work from activists in Concord and across the state, New Hampshire is now becoming the newest state to decriminalize marijuana.
According to Cannabis Now, Chris Sununu, the state’s governor, is making good on his campaign promise and signed a decriminalization bill into law. HB 640 will go into effect in 60 days and makes the Granite State the 22nd in the U.S. to decriminalize marijuana. It also becomes the last in New England to eliminate jail sentencing for recreational marijuana possession.
New Hampshire’s legislature was for decriminalization for some time, however, they never had a compliant governor to sign off on a proposed bill. This year’s bill was the eighth since 2008.
“The governor deserves credit for his steadfast support of this common-sense reform,” said Matt Simon, who led the weed reform effort in his state. “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.”
HB 640 will reduce the penalty for possession of up to three-quarters of an ounce from a criminal misdemeanor — currently punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000 — to a civil violation punishable by a $100 fine for a first or second offense. For a third offense, a $300 fine within three years of the first offense, and a fourth offense could be charged as a class B misdemeanor if within three years of the first offense, but there would be no arrest or possibility of jail time.
Looks like New England is finally moving out of the dark age. Hopefully, the Midwest can be next.