Cannabis legalization has emerged as a hot topic of discussion at the N.H. State House in 2023, but how would legalization impact patients if it passes? This is an important question, and the answer depends entirely on the details. There are actually five different bills in the New Hampshire House that would legalize adult-use cannabis, and each takes a different approach to policy. All five bills are scheduled for public committee hearings next Wednesday and Thursday.
If you’d like to weigh in on any or all of these bills, the easiest way to do so is to use the House’s remote testimony form. You can use this form to indicate whether you support or oppose a bill, and you can (optionally) submit written comments or testimony for the committee. Members of the public are also welcome to attend the hearings and testify in person. If you choose to testify or submit written comments, we ask that you please be courteous and respectful.
Two legalization bills are scheduled for back-to-back hearings on Wednesday afternoon, January 25, in the House Committee on Commerce and Consumer Affairs:
HB 639 (Osborne) – this bill would legalize home cultivation (6 plants, of which 3 could be mature) for adults 21 and older. It would also authorize a new, stand-alone Cannabis Commission to regulate production and sales, with oversight from an independent advisory board. Sales to adults would be subjected to the 8.5% Meals and Rooms Tax. The bill was drafted by a broad coalition of organizations and based on lessons learned from other states.
Prime ATC contributed to the process of drafting HB 639, and we believe it is the most thoughtful and comprehensive approach to cannabis legalization that has ever been considered in New Hampshire. The bill provides for a slow, deliberate transition of the Therapeutic Cannabis Program from D.H.H.S to the new Cannabis Commission, and it prioritizes the ongoing needs of patients. A summary of the bill is available here, and the full text is available here.
This public hearing is scheduled to begin at 1:15 p.m. Wednesday in the Legislative Office Building (behind the State House), Rooms 302-204.
HB 544 (Eaton) – this bill would authorize the Liquor Commission to regulate cannabis and administer sales to adults and patients. Home cultivation would remain prohibited. 50% of revenue would be distributed to cities and towns, and 50% would go to the general fund.
Prime ATC does not support this bill, in part because we believe it presents a serious threat to the Therapeutic Cannabis Program. The full text is available here. The public hearing will take place immediately following the hearing on HB 639 in the Legislative Office Building, Rooms 302-204.
If you’d like to share your opinions on one or both of these bills using the House’s remote testimony form, follow these simple steps:
- Enter your name and address
- Select the hearing date (1/25)
- Select “Commerce and Consumer Affairs” as the committee and select HB 639 or HB 544 as the bill number, then indicate whether you support or oppose the bill
- (Optional) Type your comments into the box or upload your written testimony
- Submit the form
Three additional legalization bills are scheduled for hearings on Thursday, January 26, in the House Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety. These hearings will take place in Representatives’ Hall at the State House:
HB 643 (Damon) – this bill would authorize the Liquor Commission to regulate cannabis and administer sales to adults and patients. Home cultivation would remain prohibited. 50% of revenue would go to the education trust fund, and 50% would go to D.H.H.S. to develop programs for increased mental health services. Prime ATC does not support this bill for the same reasons we do not support HB 544. The full text is available here. The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m.
HB 360 (Verville) – this bill would legalize cannabis for adults 21 and older with no limits. It would not establish a regulated market. Prime ATC is not taking a position on HB 360, and we do not expect it to advance. The full text is available here. The hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.
HB 344 (McGuire) – this bill would legalize home cultivation (6 plants, of which 3 could be mature) for adults 21 and older. It would not establish a regulated market. Prime ATC supports HB 344. The full text is available here. The hearing is scheduled for 2:15 p.m.
Again, it is easy to share your opinions on these bills with the relevant committee using the House’s remote testimony form, as described above. If you’d like, you can also write or call your own representatives directly (look them up here).
We will update you on bills impacting the therapeutic cannabis program in a subsequent blog post. Thanks for reading, and stay tuned!