Marijuana Legalization Bill Defeated in New Hampshire
Senate Marijuana Legalization Proposal Dies in 19-4 Vote
Contact: Anisha Gianchandani
+1 (703) 828-8182
[Alexandria, VA, March 17, 2017] – Yesterday, a coalition of public health experts, elected officials, educators, and concerned citizens soundly defeated Senate Bill 233 in a 19-4 vote in New Hampshire, which would have legalized the possession of up to 60 joints’ worth of marijuana as well as six marijuana plants. The bill also would have created a study committee comprised of nine pro-marijuana legislators who would devise commercial marijuana sale and taxation proposals. SAM’s New Hampshire affiliate New Futures was the primary coalition organizer and SB233 opponent. Another bill removing criminal penalties is currently in the legislature.
“This is a big victory in the effort to put common sense and public health before industry profit,” said SAM President and CEO Kevin A. Sabet. “New Hampshire legislators were right to reject Big Marijuana, especially in light of the opioid epidemic. Since Colorado legalized marijuana, there have been more kids getting high, more stoned drivers on the roads, and costly headaches for employers. And the state is increasingly in debt. Today was a bad day for the marijuana special interests in New Hampshire.”
“New Futures applauds the NH Senate for listening to their constituents and voting down SB 233 yesterday, which would have legalized marijuana in New Hampshire. The Senate and their constituents have sent a clear message: Big Marijuana CEO’s and pot lobbyists are not welcome in our state. Legalizing a harmful substance in the midst of New Hampshire’s current public health crisis is irresponsible and lacks sound judgement,” said Kate Frey, VP of Advocacy at New Futures, a local SAM affiliate which is supporting a bill to remove criminal penalties but not legalize the drug. “Together, our coalition and grassroots advocate community will continue to stand up to Big Marijuana interests by focusing on reducing all drug problems associated with alcohol and other drugs through prevention, treatment, and recovery initiatives for the sake of New Hampshire’s public health, quality of life, and overall economy.”
Evidence shows that marijuana – which has skyrocketed in average potency over the past decades – is addictive and harmful to the human brain, especially when used by adolescents. In states that have already legalized the drug, there has been an increase in drugged driving crashes, youth marijuana use, and rising debt. These states have seen a black market that continues to thrive, sustained marijuana arrest rates, and a consistent rise in alcohol sales.
Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) is a nonpartisan, non-profit alliance of physicians, policy makers, prevention workers, treatment and recovery professionals, scientists, and other concerned citizens opposed to marijuana legalization who want health and scientific evidence to guide marijuana policies. SAM has affiliates in more than 30 states. For more information about marijuana use and its effects, visit http://www.learnaboutsam.org.