Unfortunately, cannabis is not legal in New Hampshire. Although it is decriminalized, the state continues to put pressure on simple cannabis possession.
Throughout the state’s decades-long fight to end prohibition, it now officially remains the very last state in New England that hasn’t put forth an independent cannabis market. As it is the last state to legalize cannabis, it is also penalizing people. But why? Why do New Hampshire citizens continue to feel the pressures of a lackluster decriminalization program?
New Hampshire Cannabis Vs Alcohol
New Hampshire prides itself on the lack of taxes. One of the largest revenues for the state comes from the sale of hard alcohol. Vodka, Rum, and Whisky can all be purchased at your local (state-owned) liquor store. While even the surrounding states have put together their own plans, for New Hampshire – they like to have that control.
The addition of the cannabis market puts a competitive edge on the (primarily addicted) populace.
New Hampshire ranks as the drunkest state, and many New Hampshirites are looking for an alternative for recreational use to alcohol. While the New Hampshire legalization plan includes the ability to help people get started in the industry, it’s up to the state to decide if that happens – and they’re saying no…at least for now.
New Hampshire Cannabis and The Opioid Crisis
One of the largest reasons why people are looking into the therapeutic properties of cannabis is for pain relief. In New Hampshire, much like alcohol, prescription opioids are a dominant force for manual laborers.
It makes sense when the majority of New Hampshire citizens work in Automotive, Manufacturing, Landscaping, and HVAC.
A normal citizen goes to work, pulls out his back, and goes to his doctor. The doctor gives him a prescription for opioids to help with pain relief. Now this person needs to be put in a place between taking a habit forming medication OR working in pain the rest of their lives.
Unfortunately, New Hampshire still thinks that it’s a better idea to sell people opioids versus letting them buy cannabis.
So we hear about “black market cartridges”. While it was shocking to start seeing what potentially could be the downfall of vape products, was proven to be mostly a farce – although it raised some questions about the quality of what you were purchasing.
This led to many users thinking about more health-minded ways to enjoy themselves. This was also the time when everyone was trying to do backyard extraction in order to make their own oil. it makes sense to do it – and in a state that does not allow the means to learn, many took it upon themselves to learn about cannabis on their own.
This lead to a number of issues with some of the extraction products. Butane and alcohol were totally safe…only if they were extracted from the wax properly. Traces of butane could still be left in the wax and that could cause major health concerns. Since then, though – better and 100% clean cannabis extraction methods have been adopted in most legal states. No more butane and solvent. It’s all just ice water.
This has long since passed. With actual markets and recognizable brands gaining popularity in the US, someone can hop over the border into Maine, Vermont, MA, or even Canada (I don’t know why someone would do that) purchase tested, quality products, and just sell them in New Hampshire.
As far as the “black market” – that’s about it. The only difference between someone having legal cannabis and not is simply the New Hampshire border.
New Hampshire Is The Final Piece In The Puzzle
A big reason for the state’s hesitance toward cannabis legalization is that they are trying to control it. Much like alcohol, the state wants to have exclusive rights to the sale of cannabis. While it may not seem out of the spectrum of possibilities, other states have a full and legal market.
“Final Piece of the puzzle” isn’t just an analogy. new Hampshire sits right in the middle of almost all New England states. If you are a cannabis business in Massachusetts and you want to ship your products to Maine, you would need to either run an illegal run through the 17 miles of New Hampshire that sits between them or take a boat full of products past the state.
That 17 miles is also closely monitored by New Hampshire state police. In fact, it’s one of the most heavily monitored areas in New Hampshire. Now, that could be because Hampton Beach is there, but this increase in enforcement happened immediately after Maine legalized cannabis.
The state is currently blocking almost all legal forms of transportation between every other New England state. Once the prohibition ends, it will be looking at the New England hub of cannabis.
Cannabis Decriminalization In New Hampshire
Cannabis is decriminalized in the granite state. This means that someone with less than 3/4 of an ounce of cannabis will only face a fine. That sounds great – with the exception that most people purchase cannabis in full ounces. This was a deliberate move in order to max out the number of people who could be arrested. While other states had common-sense policies in place, New Hampshire still wanted to be able to punish people.
Do NH Citizens Want Cannabis Legalized?
According to the WMUR survey (which almost feels like an annual survey at this point) – 75% of New Hampshire citizens want full legalization of cannabis. As the surrounding states have shown the industry can flourish – New Hampshire still does not want this to happen.
So the people want it…but the governor and police chief are the only ones who are saying “no”.