A bill that would decriminalize the possession of a quarter-ounce or less of marijuana in New Hampshire appears dead this year after the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 5-0 Tuesday not to recommend it. The bill will still go before the full Senate, where it is expected to be defeated on a voice vote.
"It is now clear the bill will not become law this year, but it is also clear the discussion will continue," Matt Simon, director of the New Hampshire Coalition for Common Sense Marijuana Policy, told the North Andover (Massachusetts) Eagle Tribune after the vote.
The bill, HB 1653, passed the House on a 214-37 vote earlier this year. But Senate Judiciary Committee members said the threat of a gubernatorial veto made it dead on arrival because the Senate has other legislation to which to attend.
Simon said the Senate vote was a minor setback and that medical marijuana and decriminalization bills will be back. The legislature already defeated a marijuana legalization bill this year, but will study the tax benefits of legalizing pot this summer.