Cannabis legalization is one reform that would certainly improve police-community relations in New Hampshire. To learn more about the commission and how to submit written testimony, visit the commission’s website.
The commission is required to issue its recommendations in early August, so it is important that we act quickly. There are no specific guidelines for testimony, so it can be as brief as a couple of paragraphs or as long as several pages. After you prepare your testimony, email it to the commission.
c. Despite overwhelming support from the public and in the House, legalization bills have been killed by the Senate. In 2020, HB 1648 would have legalized cannabis possession and limited home cultivation for adults 21 and older — it passed the House (236-112) but was tabled without a hearing by the Senate.
a. New Hampshire’s law decriminalizing possession of ¾ ounce or less of cannabis took effect in September 2017. In 2018, according to data reported by the FBI and published by the ACLU, Blacks were still 4.11 times more likely than whites to be arrested for cannabis possession despite using cannabis at nearly identical rates.
b. While these racial disparities persisted in all 50 states, the ACLU found that they were much lower in states that had significant experience with cannabis legalization: Colorado had the lowest racial disparity of any state in 2018 (1.54x), and the other three states that pioneered cannabis legalization in 2012 and 2014 joined Colorado among the seven states with the lowest disparities (Alaska, 1.56x; Oregon, 1.82x; Washington, 2.14x). In addition, the total number of arrests and citations — and unnecessary police-civilian interactions — plummeted in legalization states.
3. Cannabis is legal for adults to grow and possess in all neighboring jurisdictions.
b. There are now more than 45 retail cannabis stores operating in Massachusetts, including seven within 15 miles of the New Hampshire border. A new store recently opened three miles from the border in Haverhill. Under these circumstances, it makes no sense whatsoever for N.H. police to continue punishing adults who choose to grow and consume cannabis.