A bill to explicitly legalize hemp has been pre-filed for the 2017 legislative session in New Hampshire by a group of Republican lawmakers; the measure will be discussed when the legislature reconvenes next month.
Under the proposed law – House Bill 151 – hemp would be removed from the state’s Controlled Drug Act. This would allow it to be treated like any other agricultural commodity. The proposal was filed by State Representatives. Daniel Itse, J.R. Hoell, and James Spillane; it also has the support of Senators Harold French and John Reagan.
House Bill 151 – which will be formally introduced at the session’s start on January 4th – has been assigned to the House Committee on Environment and Agriculture. To have a chance to move to a vote in the full House of Representatives, it will need to be passed by the committee by March 3rd. If it does pass the committee and House, it will then go to the Senate; if passed by the Senate, it will go to Governor Maggie Hassan for final consideration. Although Hassan is opposed to legalizing cannabis, she has remained neutral on whether or not the state should legalize hemp.
According to congressional research, the United States imports roughly half a billion dollars in hemp from other countries – primarily Canada and China – while retaining the illegality of its cultivation amongst its own farmers. The same research estimates the hemp market to consist of over 25,000 various products.
According to a WMUR Granite State Poll released earlier this year, 61% of voters in New Hampshire support legalizing cannabis for all purposes, not just hemp or medical; just 24% oppose the move.