RELEASE: Democrats Lead Senate Passage of Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

CONCORD – Today, the Senate passed HB 640, legislation to decriminalize marijuana in the state of New Hampshire, with a bipartisan vote of 9 Democrats and 8 Republicans. The bill reduces the penalty for possession of up to ¾ of an ounce of marijuana from a criminal penalty to a violation. Legislators and advocates anticipate that this language will address inequalities in the criminal justice system and allow law enforcement to focus resources on combatting the state’s heroin, opioid and fentanyl epidemic. Senate Democratic Leader Jeff Woodburn (D-Whitefield) offered the following comments after passage:

“The decriminalization of marijuana happened today because Democrats pushed marijuana decriminalization through the legislature – it is a proud progressive achievement that moves New Hampshire forward by creating a serious, sensible pathway to marijuana legalization.”

“Given the severity of our state’s opioid, heroin and fentanyl public health crisis, it’s prudent to relieve law enforcement from the burden of processing small marijuana possessions as criminal cases and free up resources to address our most urgent substance misuse cases. I’m very pleased with the outcome of today’s vote; I only wish more of our Republican colleagues could have joined us.”