New Hampshire’s cannabis decriminalization bill took effect on Saturday, making the state the 22nd to eliminate criminal penalties for low-level possession, according to a Forbes report. New Hampshire was New England’s remaining holdout providing jail time for cannabis possession.
The measure, which eliminates criminal penalties for possession up to three-quarters of an ounce until the fourth such offense in three years, was signed by Gov. Chris Sununu in July. Individuals convicted of possessing up to the threshold will be subjected to a $100 fine for the first and second offense, a $300 for a third offense within a three-year window, and a class B misdemeanor on the fourth offense within three years.
Previously, the New Hampshire statute called for first-time possession charges of a criminal misdemeanor punishable by a $2,000 fine and up to one year in jail. The new law, which the governor described as “common sense” reform, specifically prohibits police from making arrests for a cannabis possession violation.
In May, a Granite State Poll found that 68 percent of New Hampshire adults supported recreational cannabis legalization, with another 74 percent supporting a tax-and-regulate regime. Last year, the House voted down a measure that would have implemented a taxed-and-regulated cannabis market in the state.