New Hampshire Marijuana Laws

Members of the New Hampshire Senate have approved legislation (HB 1633) establishing a statewide regulated adult-use cannabis market. The vote marks the first time that the chamber has ever endorsed a legislative effort legalizing marijuana.

New Hampshire is the only New England state that prohibits adult-use cannabis sales. Although the possession of up to three-quarters of an ounce of cannabis is decriminalized (punishable by a fine only), possessing greater amounts is misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail. The pending legislation legalizes the possession of up to two ounces of cannabis beginning on January 1, 2026.

Outgoing Republican Governor Chris Sununu has expressed willingness to sign legislation into law if it limits cannabis retailers to no more than 15 state-supervised franchisees. No other adult-use states regulates sales through state-run franchises. Under this plan, the state’s Liquor Commission will oversee the operation of retailers, which will each appear similar in appearance. Liquor is similarly sold in New Hampshire exclusively in state-run establishments.

Although the Senate’s version of the bill endorses the franchise model, the House version does not. Other changes adopted by the Senate, such as those expanding the law enforcement powers of the state’s Liquor Commission and enhancing penalties for certain marijuana-related violations, are also expected to meet resistance by members of the House.

Once the Senate’s version of the bill returns to the House, representatives can choose to approve the measure in its revised form, reject it, or send the proposal to a bicameral conference committee — at which point its fate becomes uncertain.

If enacted, New Hampshire will be the 25th state to regulate adult-use marijuana sales. If lawmakers reject the bill, it’s unclear whether a similar effort will have a viable path forward in the immediate future. Republican Gubernatorial candidates Kelly Ayotte and Chuck Morse have both said that, if elected, they would oppose loosening the state’s cannabis laws.

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