Statewide polls conducted in 2017 and 2019 have found that 68% of Granite Staters support ending cannabis prohibition. With public support now overwhelmingly in favor of reform, there has never been a more important opportunity to move New Hampshire forward on cannabis policy than this year’s primary and general elections.
Green = supports legalizing cannabis for adults’ use
Orange = unknown, uncertain, or less supportive
Red = opposed or much less supportive
Voter Guide Highlights:
Republican Gov. Chris Sununu signed the decriminalization bill into law in 2017, and he also signed bills adding chronic pain and PTSD as qualifying conditions for medical cannabis. However, he vetoed a medical cannabis home cultivation bill in 2019, and he has opposed adult-use legalization. Sununu will be challenged in the primary by Karen Testerman, who has not supported cannabis policy reforms and does not support adult-use legalization.
Both candidates vying for the Democratic nomination for governor, state Sen. Dan FeltesandExecutive Councilor Andru Volinsky, support legalizing, regulating, and taxing cannabis for adults’ use. According to an article in The Concord Monitor, Feltes says he supports legalization and regulation under certain “eminently achievable conditions,” such as “no gummies,” while Volinsky says he supports legalization and regulation “without caveating it to death.”
Two senators who support legalization are facing rematches from the prohibitionists they narrowly defeated in 2018: Sen. Melanie Levesque (D-Brookline) is being challenged by former Sen. Kevin Avard(R-Nashua), and Sen. Jon Morgan (D-Brentwood) is being challenged by former Sen. Bill Gannon (R-Sandown) (assuming Gannon wins his primary over Allen Cook).
In Senate District 1, Sen. David Starr (R-Franconia) indicated support for legalization on a candidate survey in 2018 but betrayed that promise after being elected. He faces a primary challenge from Rep. Erin Hennessey (R-Littleton), who voted for the bill to legalize adult-use possession and cultivation in 2020 but voted against the bill to legalize, regulate, and tax cannabis in 2019. The winner will face Rep. Susan Ford (D-Easton), who voted for both recent legalization bills, in November.
Several other incumbents who have opposed cannabis policy reforms are also being challenged in the general election by Democrats who support legalization: Christopher Rice (D-Rochester) will face Sen. Jim Gray (R-Rochester), Jenn Alford-Teaster (D-Bradford) will take on Sen. Ruth Ward (R-Stoddard), and Bill Bolton (D-Plymouth) will attempt to win the seat currently held by Sen. Bob Giuda (R-Warren).
Although the New Hampshire Democratic Party’s platform calls for legalization and regulation of cannabis, the three Democratic senators who represent Manchester and neighboring towns have not supported legalization bills, and they even voted in 2019 to maintain criminal penalties against home cultivation by registered patients and caregivers. Notably, both Republican candidates seeking to unseat Senate President Donna Soucy (D-Manchester) are former state representatives who are longtime supporters of legalization: George Lambert and Ross Terrio.
Voters: The information in this voter guide is based on responses to survey questions, public statements, and votes cast by incumbent legislators. Please take time to become informed about the candidates who will appear on your ballot for the September 8 primary and do what you can to become an active participant in the election.
If you are registered to vote as a member of the Republican or Democratic Party, you may only vote in your party’s primary. If you are registered as an undeclared voter, you may choose to vote in either party’s primary.
If you speak to a candidate and learn their positions on cannabis policy issues, or if you see a news link or audio/video clip with a relevant quote we haven’t included, please share the information with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Click here to view the candidates for state Senate and their positions on cannabis policy.
Click here for a list of key roll call votes in the state House of Representatives so you can see how incumbents and former representatives voted.