State-controlled cannabis? NH Governor signs bill to explore possibility

New Hampshire’s Governor, Chris Sununu, recently signed a bill (House Bill 611) to create a commission that will study the possibility of state-controlled marijuana sales. The commission, intended to model for selling marijuana similar to the state’s existing liquor sales system, is in the process of formation, with Senate President Jeb Bradley having appointed five senators last week. House Speaker Sherman Packard, R-Londonderry, is also set to appoint five representatives to the commission, focusing on the feasibility of state-controlled distribution, access, and marketing of cannabis. This model, which previously faced skepticism from both Democrats and Republicans in the state Legislature, will now undergo careful study and analysis, with a report to legislative leaders to be submitted by December 1.

This move marks a significant change in the state’s approach to marijuana regulation and reflects Governor Sununu’s evolving support for a limited approach to legalizing recreational marijuana. Sununu emphasizing the importance of preventing of any negative impacts on children in a statement after signing the bill, saying in part, “By establishing a commission to study state-controlled sales, this bill will bring stakeholders from across New Hampshire together to ensure that preventing negative impacts upon kids remains our number one priority.”

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