Commission studying legalization of marijuana in NH releases final report

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If put into law, report recommends only people over 21 should possess marijuana.

A new report out Thursday suggests how New Hampshire should move forward if lawmakers were to make recreational marijuana legal in the state.

A commission made up of 17 people worked for the last year on the report.

Commission members spoke with representatives of the eight states that have legalized marijuana, learning what does and doesn’t work.

“Our job was to provide the legislature information to base their decision on, when and if there is going to be a bill,” said Rep. Patrick Abrami, R-Stratham, who served as chair of the Commission to Study the Legalization of Marijuana. “I’ve been told already that there is going to be a House bill.”

Abrami said he expects the bill this winter and said legislators will have a plan to work with.

“I’ve been told by the sponsors of the bill that they’re following our report to the letter,” he said.

The commission’s report recommends recreational users must be 21 years of age or older. It also suggests how much a user can possess and estimates tax revenues up to $58 million for the state.

The report also includes a way for medical marijuana dispensaries to enter the recreational market.

Marijuana advocates were originally skeptical, saying commission members didn’t support legalization, but they now say the report is fair.

“I give the commissioners a lot of credit – they did leave their bias at the door,” said Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “The report is full of good information. I don’t agree with every single recommendation, but overall, it’s well thought out.”

The New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police opposes legalization of marijuana, saying in a statement to News 9: “The experiences of other states which have legalized the recreational use of marijuana have shown the adverse impact it will have on New Hampshire. No information received by the commission has shown any reason to support legalization.”

The report also suggests putting together a cannabis commission to license, regulate, enforce and research the impacts of legalization.

To read the full report, visit this link (.pdf).

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