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New Hampshire Just Decriminalized Cannabis Possession

July 18, 2017
(DenisTangneyJr/iStock)
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu on Tuesday signed a bill to decriminalize cannabis possession, removing criminal penalties for having up to three-quarters of an ounce of cannabis or up to five grams of hash.

With the law’s passage, all of New England has now a decriminalized cannabis, as Marijuana Majority founder Tom Angell noted on Twitter.

But if you’re trying to celebrate with a bit of cannabis, don’t risk it just yet. Decriminalization doesn’t take effect for 60 days.

Supporters argue that the change will ensure young people’s lives aren’t ruined by getting caught with marijuana. Opponents have argued that decriminalization sends the wrong message as the state battles a drug crisis.

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The new law makes possessing the cannabis a violation-level offense with a fine of up to $300 for adults. Minors caught with either would be subject to a delinquency petition. Someone can be charged with a misdemeanor, however, if they are found with marijuana for a fourth time within a three-year period.

It also says police cannot arrest someone for a cannabis violation. Any money collected from fines under the law will go into a fund aimed at alcohol and drug abuse prevention and treatment.

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In May, Vermont Republican Gov. Phil Scott vetoed a bill that would have legalized cannabis possession and cultivation in that state. Maine and Massachusetts voters approved legalization in ballot measures last year.

The Associated Press contributed this report.

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