South Dakota House panel rejects marijuana legalization bill passed by Senate while removing medical cannabis protections

Nearly three out of four New Hampshire voters support legalizing marijuana, according to a new poll. And bipartisan majorities also say they favor selling cannabis through a state-run model, as would be the case under a bill recently passed by the House of Representatives.

The Granite State Poll, released Friday by the University of New Hampshire (UNH), found that 74% of state residents believe the ban should end. In a separate question, sixty-eight percent said they support a bill passed by the House this month to have the state Liquor Commission conduct sales exclusively, a proposal that has raised some concerns. among advocates and stakeholders.

Seventy-nine percent of Democrats, 68% of independents and 56% of Republicans said they support the one-size-fits-all approach to reform.

Through UNH.

Meanwhile, support for legalization as a whole has grown demonstrably in the state over the past decade, rising 25 percentage points since UNH began polling residents on the issue in 2013. .

Through UNH.

Only 15% of Granite Staters now oppose the legalization of cannabis.

But while bipartisan majorities said they supported the state-run legalization proposal, it’s worth noting that respondents weren’t given an alternative regulatory model in the new poll. And when asked about legalization through a traditional, private retail model last year, 78% said they favored the approach.

What both surveys show, however, is that New Hampshire residents are willing to let adults buy cannabis legally one way or another. The latest poll found majority support for basic reform across all demographic groups, including age, gender and education level.

“This poll confirms, once again, that cannabis legalization is very popular with New Hampshire residents,” Matt Simon, director of public and government relations for Prime Alternative Treatment Centers in NH, told Marijuana Moment. “It also tells us something new: the liquor monopoly model is significantly (10%) less popular than the idea of ​​allowing sales through licensed outlets. It will be interesting to see how policymakers choose to interpret these numbers.

The new poll involved interviews with 1,081 New Hampshire residents from February 18-22. The margin of error was +/-3.0 percentage points.

State-centric legislation by Rep. Daryl Abbas (R) cleared the chamber in a 235-119 vote this month, despite resistance from people on both sides of the broader cannabis debate. The action comes about a month after the House passed a separate non-commercial legalization bill that also drew criticism.

Under the proposal, which has yet to go to the House Finance Committee due to its tax components and then receive another floor vote before passing the Senate, adults 21 and older could purchase cannabis in state-run dispensaries operated by New Hampshire. Liquor Commission. They could possess up to four ounces, but home cultivation would continue to be criminalized – one of the main complaints from activists.

State regulators would have until October 1 to pass rules for “the registration and regulation of cannabis establishments and cannabis cultivation facilities.” They would then have two more months to create regulations on issues such as advertising, labeling, civil fines, safety and THC limits.

Some proponents had hoped the legislation would be defeated so lawmakers could consider alternative reform proposals to create a legal marijuana market that aligns more closely with those established in other states.

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In general, many advocates have generally welcomed any reforms they can achieve in the fight to end Prohibition. But in New Hampshire, they’ve grown particularly impatient with the GOP-controlled legislature, especially as it offers controversial legalization options while snubbing their favorite vehicles.

The non-commercial legalization bill that passed the House last month is another example of legislation that fell short of expectations. This would allow adults 21 and older to possess and give away up to three-quarters of an ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants, but it would not allow the cannabis trade.

The bill is virtually identical to an earlier version that also passed the Democratic-controlled House in 2020. The previous bill died in Senate committee.

What made last month’s House vote to pass Rep. Carol McGuire’s (R) domestic cultivation bill all the more frustrating for activists was the fact that it advanced a day after the chamber narrowly rejected a separate, broader legalization proposal that would have regulated trade making and selling.

Meanwhile, three lawmakers—Reps. Joshua Adjutant (D), Renny Cushing (D) and Andrew Prout (R) – each filed separate bills to put marijuana legalization on the state’s 2022 ballot.

It would take a 60% supermajority vote in both houses to advance any of the proposed constitutional amendments. But while that may be a daunting task in the GOP-controlled legislature, if successful, it would allow lawmakers to avoid a likely veto on anti-legalization Gov. Chris Sununu’s (R) statutory reform legislation.

If lawmakers approved placing a constitutional amendment to legalize cannabis on the ballot, then 67% of voters would have to vote in favor of it. A recent poll indicates residents are ready for reform, with three out of four New Hampshire residents supporting legalization.

While the governor remains opposed to legalizing adult use, advocates are encouraged that he signed a bill in August adding opioid use disorder as a qualifying condition for the program. of medical cannabis from the state and also allowing out-of-state patients to access dispensaries.

In 2017, Sununu signed a bill decriminalizing possession of marijuana in Granite State, although he continues to oppose adding an element of legal commercial sale of cannabis.

In 2019, lawmakers sent a bill on home cultivation of medical cannabis to Sununu’s office, but he vetoed it.

Meanwhile, other neighboring northeastern states such as Maine and Vermont have already legalized recreational cannabis.

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