There are many states in the United States who have been contemplating new bills to decriminalize the use of cannabis products. One of these states is New Hampshire, which has joined the rest of New England area, in terms of decriminalization of possessing small amounts of marijuana. This story is reported by the Associated Press (AP), which is one of the best sources for gathering news reports.
They have reported that the New Hampshire House has just voted on removing the severe criminal penalties that were previously attached with marijuana possessions. They have especially stressed on removing criminal punishment on the account of having small loads of cannabis.
As the New Hampshire House has now approved of this cannabis decriminalization bill, it now moves to the Republic Governor Chris Sununu for approval. This bill in fact, passed the House without any opposition or debate. The Governor has shown his intention of signing it since it has been approved by the representatives.
Originally, the NH House was planning to approve the changing of marijuana misconduct. They wanted to change the possession of one ounce of marijuana into a violation offence. This change will occur from the current position of a misdemeanor. The Senate however has changed the quantity from one ounce to three quarters of an ounce, which is not a major change. This change is also approved by the house.
The supports of the decriminalization bill argued that they want to ensure that young people are not destroyed, when they are caught with just a few grams of marijuana. On the other hand, opponents of this decriminalization bill argue that as the New Hampshire state is battling a serious drug crisis, this bill will send a wrong message to the illegal drug syndicates.
The language of this legislation suggests that now the possession of cannabis or hashish will be a considered as a violation and only punishable with a maximum fine of 300 dollars for adults. The quantity of cannabis is three quarter of an ounce while that of hashish is five grams. If minors are caught with this amount, they will be allowed to file for a delinquency petition.
However, a person caught with this amount can be charged with a misdemeanor if caught for the fourth time, within a maximum period of three years. As this will now become a violation, the police will not be able to interfere aggressively and make arrests for this minor violation.
The money collected from these fines is designed under this particular law to go in a specific fund. This fund will then be used to run programs for drug and alcohol abuse prevention and treatment in the state.
The New Hampshire House has taken this action after the Vermont Republican Governor Phil Scott has vetoes a similar bill. Governor Scott however has argued that although he has vetoed the legalization of marijuana, there is still the possibility of the bill passing in Vermont. He has mentioned that he has some concerns and steps have been underway that may alleviate his concerns regarding the legislation.
Marijuana legalization has already been approved by the voters through balloting last year, in both Maine and Massachusetts states.