New Hampshire GOP state senators oppose marijuana legalizations

 January 9, 2023

While many jurisdictions have moved to legalize marijuana, some New Hampshire Republicans are trying to ensure that their state doesn't join them.

According to the Concord Monitor, GOP members of the state Senate held a press conference last Wednesday during which they pledged to block legalization efforts. 

Legislators point to health and safety concerns

The Republican lawmakers were led by Senate President Jeb Bradley, who argued that legalization would do more harm than good.

"I know that there’s some people that probably want to see it legalized and there’s some like myself that have never wanted to legalize it and don’t intend to for reasons that I think are becoming increasingly clear in terms of safety, in terms of its impact on health," Bradley was quoted as telling reporters.

Also expressing opposition was Senate President Pro Tem James Gray, who pointed to the fact that marijuana remains banned at the federal level.

"Our oath says that I’ll uphold the Constitution and laws of the state of New Hampshire, etcetera, etcetera," he noted, asking, "If I’m ignoring one of the federal laws, am I fulfilling my oath?"

Other marijuana legalization opponents include Republican state Sens. Sharon Carson,Denise Ricciardi, R-Bedford, and Regina Birdsell. The Monitor observed that Democratic state Sen. Lou D’Allesandro is opposed to the idea too.

Marijuana laws vary from state to state

An article published last month by U.S. News & World Report noted that Colorado and Washington became the first two states to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes in 2012.

As of now, 18 additional states along with two other American jurisdictions have since permitted recreational marijuana.

They are Alaska, Oregon, Washington, D.C., California, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Michigan, Vermont, Guam, Illinois, Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, New Mexico, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland, and Missouri.

A Washington Post article pointed out that Washington D.C. legalized recreational marijuana use along with possession of up to two ounces of the drug for anyone aged 21 and up in 2014.

However, Congress passed a budget rider the following year which ensured that the sale and purchase of marijuana would remain prohibited.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden announced this past October that he would pardon federal offenders who had been convicted solely of marijuana possession.

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