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New Hampshire House passes recreational marijuana legalization

New Hampshire State House file photo Harry McClard
New Hampshire State House file photo Harry McClard
Harry McClard

After failing to pass on its first vote, in a rare parliamentary procedure involving motions to reconsider, the New Hampshire House of Representatives today passed a controversial bill that would legalize small amounts of marijuana for recreational purposes. The final vote was 170 in favor and 162 opposed to the bill.

New Hampshire is generally considered a "purple state" meaning it leans about half liberal and half conservative on most issues but the marijuana issue has surprisingly increased in favorable ratings in recent years. The increasing trend has had a strong uptick in recent months that is widely believed to be related to the passage of similar laws in several other states. Just last year, the New Hampshire House and Senate passed a medical marijuana bill that was approved by Governor Maggie Hassan.

The bill now goes to the New Hampshire Senate where it is believed to stand a reasonable chance of passage.

What is surprising in these developments is the wide coalition of bipartisan that came together to pass the marijuana bill. In recent years the vast differences in political opinions has led to a tremendous strain on relations in the state house but this is one case in which cordial relations were noted between politicians of vastly differing political stances.

Governor Maggie Hassan vowed in a statement to veto the bill if it does pass the state Senate. But, even though that may happen, just the cooperation across party lines on such a controversial issue is something to behold. Perhaps the politicians can learn something from this experience and move toward more frequent cooperation.