Rep. Daryl Abbas (lower left) testifies before the New Hampshire Senate’s Ways and Means Committee on April 20, 2022.

New Hampshire’s Senate postponed a vote on a bill that would legalize home growing of cannabis, April 21, one day after killing the state monopoly adult use bill in committee.

“I’ll be voting ITL (Inexpedient to legislate) on this as I have done every other marijuana bill that has come before me in my 12 years in the House and Senate,” said Sen. Bob Giuda, chair of the Senate’s Ways and Means Committee. “There’s a reason the U.S. military prohibits the use of pot or any other drug. It’s because it has an impact on reaction time and it has an impact on behavior.”

The Senate’s Ways and Means Committee voted 5-0 to kill the bill, with concerns from both supporters and opponents of legalization. 

“I would love to be able to fix this bill, but there are just too many questions we’ve received that do not make it fixable,” said Sen. Erin Hennessy before joining her colleagues in voting to kill the bill. 

The committee then voted unanimously to kill HB 1598, which would have created a state-run monopoly on adult use dispensaries similar to how the state currently controls liquor sales. Meanwhile, HB 629, which would legalize possession of up to ¾ oz. of cannabis flower for all adults and allow home growing of up to six plants, is the final cannabis legalization bill still standing in the legislature after several other bills that would have legalized an adult use market failed to survive the State House.

The Senate’s Judiciary Committee previously voted to advance the home grow bill to the Senate floor 3-2, which was supposed to hold a final vote on April 21. The vote was originally postponed until later in the day when Sen. Rebecca Whitley requested more time to finalize a proposed amendment to that bill, though no details were provided of that proposed amendment.

Later in the day, the bill was further postponed to the Senate’s next voting session, which is set for early May.

“Prime ATC strongly supports HB 629, and we are grateful to the three senators on the Judiciary Committee who voted in favor,” wrote Prime ATC spokesperson and longtime cannabis activist Matt Simon.

HB 1598 remained a contentious bill among activists, who worried that if the state were the sole dispensary operator, access for adult use cannabis would remain limited, while the state’s seven medical dispensaries could be undercut by the state’s prices.

As a result many legalization activists were reluctant to offer their full support.

“HB1598 is ultimately a concession,” said state Rep. Daryl Abbas, the bill’s lead sponsor. “I can live with a more controlled state model rather than an overflow model.”

New Hampshire’s House of Representatives narrowly passed the state-run monopoly bill, 169-156 on Mar. 31.Legalization remains a popular idea among New Hampshire residents, with a recent survey from the University of New Hampshire showing 74% of state residents support it. Despite the popularity, the state monopoly bill is the third legalization effort in as many years to pass the House only to fall in the Senate.

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Zack cut his journalistic teeth covering high school sports in the south before spending a decade covering local government, politics and the courts in the Boston, Massachusetts area. He's previously written...