BY: Citizens Count
New Hampshire will now treat possession of three-quarters of an ounce or less of marijuana as a violation, similar to a speeding ticket.
The new law went into effect this weekend, making New Hampshire the 22nd state to end jail time for possession of small amounts of marijuana.
A victory for marijuana law reform
Supporters of the law argue that marijuana is not as harmful as other drugs or even alcohol, so it makes sense to lessen penalties for marijuana possession.
Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project, said:
“There is no good reason to continue arresting and prosecuting people for marijuana possession. Marijuana is objectively less harmful than alcohol, and Granite Staters are ready to see it treated that way. A very strong majority of state residents support ending marijuana prohibition altogether.”
Opponents of lighter drug sentences
Opponents argue New Hampshire is sending the wrong message by decreasing penalties for any drug use in the middle of a drug addiction crisis.
Some police departments also report they felt they did not have enough time to adequately train officers and implement policies for the new law. Gov. Chris Sununu signed the marijuana decriminalization bill in July.
Is marijuana legalization next?
Advocates for marijuana law reform want New Hampshire to go a step further and legalize all recreational marijuana use.
Visit our issue page on marijuana legalization to learn more about the debate.
Do you have an opinion on New Hampshire’s marijuana laws? Let us know in the comments below.