The New Hampshire House voted 272-109 to advance HB 639, a bill that would legalize and regulate cannabis for adults 21 and older. Next, the bill will proceed to the Senate for further consideration. Governor Chris Sununu has not expressed support for legalization, so the bill’s fate remains uncertain. However, the bipartisan momentum behind this bill appears to be stronger than ever before.

In February and March, Prime ATC worked closely with the two House committees that considered HB 639. We primarily focused on ensuring that the bill protects patients and preserves the Therapeutic Cannabis Program (TCP). As you may recall, last year we had no choice but to oppose another legalization bill, HB 1598, because it presented a serious threat to the TCP.

HB 639: A Much Better Approach

Last year’s legalization bill would have created a state-run retail monopoly for adult-use cannabis without making any effort to preserve the TCP. Fortunately, HB 639 takes a much more sensible approach:

  • Cannabis would be sold by private retailers, not state-run stores.
  • Safe, legal access would be established for adults and expanded for patients.
  • ATCs could serve adult-use consumers if they meet requirements including prioritizing patient access.
  • New businesses could serve patients if they meet requirements for a “therapeutic cannabis endorsement.”
  • The tax rate (12.5% at the wholesale level) would be the lowest in the region.

Unfortunately, the bill is still far from perfect. We testified in favor of the home cultivation and annulment provisions, and we were disappointed when the House Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee removed them. Regardless of what happens with HB 639, we will continue to advocate for those policies. In related news, we expect that the therapeutic cannabis home grow bill (HB 431) will be scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate soon. We will share that information as soon as it becomes available.

Here is an updated summary of HB 639, and you can find the bill itself here.

If you’d like to share your thoughts with your state senator, you can look up their contact info here!

photo of state house
Legalization Bill Advances

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