Recreational Cannabis Petition Comes To New Hampshire, And Early Polls Look Promising

Support for cannabis legalization is starting to grow in New Hampshire. After the legalization movement stalled earlier this year, Senate Minority Leader Jeff Woodburn (D) has introduced a petition he hopes will put cannabis on the state's November ballot.

"We're in the business of listening to what the people want," Woodburn told the Concord Monitor. "And we need to get our heads out of the sand and recognize the reality that all of our neighbors are moving towards."

And that's no exaggeration. New Hampshire will be surrounded on all sides by cannabis-legal jurisdictions once the Canadian system comes online in October. All of the states it shares a border with—Maine, Massachusetts and Vermont—have already moved to legalized recreational use.

Woodburn hopes he will be able to submit 5,000 signatures to Governor Chris Sununu (R) on 1 August, and 10,000 by October. The early polls look like Woodburn should be able to achieve this, too. A survey conducted by the University of New Hampshire in February showed 56 percent of voters support cannabis legalization. The issue splits fairly evenly across party lines, so this is one issue where most of New Hampshire's Republicans and Democrats agree.

The New Hampshire Democrats have also adopted cannabis legalization as part of their platform just last month—though not all members are in on board.

"If the vote was today, I would probably be voting 'no' simply because there is a legislative commission that’s meeting to look at the impact of legalization on the state of New Hampshire," said House Minority Leader Steve Shurtleff (D).

The report referenced by Shurtleff is the result of the previously failed attempt at legalization and expected to be released in November.

Meanwhile, Governor Sununu has also voiced his opposition to cannabis legalization.

"To go to full recreational marijuana when other states are seeing all the problems it has in other states, the issues it’s bearing—it’s definitely not something that I'm supportive of right now."

Still, if the polls are right, the people of New Hampshire may see the Granite State turning green this fall.

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