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New Hampshire Lawmakers Defy Jeff Sessions By Approving Marijuana Legalization

Update, 3PM ET: New Hampshire House leaders have decided to send the bill to the Ways and Means Committee instead of moving it along to the Senate. If the committee declines to review the bill, it will advance to the upper chamber. If the committee does hear it, then the bill will require a second floor vote before advancing to the Senate.

New Hampshire just threw down the gauntlet with Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Earlier today, the New Hampshire House passed a marijuana legalization bill by a vote of 207 to 139, which is sure to irk the attorney general, who set the stage for a nationwide crackdown on cannabis last week.

If signed into law, the New Hampshire bill would allow adults 21 or older to possess three-quarters of an ounce of marijuana and grow up to three plants at home. Like a bill recently passed in Vermont, the legislation in New Hampshire doesn't set up a retail market for marijuana, so residents would have to grow their own stash. 

But the bill does send a strong message to Attorney General Sessions, whose hardline stance against marijuana weakens by the day as more and more state lawmakers favor legalization and regulation over cannabis prohibition.

If Governor Chris Sununu (R) signs the bill into law, then New Hampshire would become the 9th state to legalize recreational marijuana, and could soon be followed by New Hampshire as well as New Jersey, Michigan and 5 other states in 2018. That means recreational marijuana would be legal in more than 1/3 of US states.

But first, the legislation will have to make it through the New Hampshire Senate before reaching the desk of Governor Sununu made waves last summer by decriminalizing marijuana. But we'll have to wait and see if he's willing to take cannabis reform another step forward in the Granite State.

However, even if the bill fails to become law, it's clear that Sessions' attempt to crack down on marijuana hasn't slowed down the legalization movement one bit.


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