In a historic move, the New Hampshire Assembly voted to legalize marijuana today, making it the first full state legislative chamber to do so in United States history. At first it looked House Bill 492 would lose on a close vote of 170-168. However, a motion to reconsider was passed resulting in another vote.
On the second vote, after a very lengthy debate, the New Hampshire Assembly approved House Bill 492 by a vote of 170-162. The bill now moves to the New Hampshire Assembly’s Ways and Means Committee to work out tax issues. A second assembly vote to approve or deny the committee’s findings should happen in the next couple of months. If the bill is sent to the Senate, it sounds like there won’t be a warm welcome.
I feel that regardless of what speculations can be made about the bill’s chances in the Senate, sending it there is going to be a great thing, and will hopefully result in a full court press on New Hampshire Senators to do what’s right, to do what New Hampshire’s citizens want, which is pass the bill and send it to the Governor. The Governor has expressed that she will veto the bill, but I would love to see the showdown happen. Either she will do what is right and respect the democratic process, or she will veto the bill and look like a fool. I’m hopeful that the first option will happen.
To paraphrase Dan Riffle’s tweet from earlier today, the lobbyist who made the New Hampshire vote possible was long-time New Hampshire resident and Marijuana Policy Project staffer Matt Simon. I want to thank Matt Simon for his hard work, and thank the rest of the Marijuana Policy Project staff for helping him. I was glued to MPP’s Twitter feed all afternoon, and they did an amazing job at tweeting out updates, as did Dan Riffle. History was made today in the marijuana reform world, and that’s always a great thing!