In an attempt to ensure some retroactive drug war justice, New Hampshire Governor, Chris Sununu, has signed HB 399 into law, which will allow convicts with past marijuana offenses concerning quantities of up to 3 quarters of an ounce to have their conviction annulled.
The legislation will apply to those whose offenses took place before September 16, 2017 – the date sweeping decriminalization measures were enacted in New Hampshire that did not enact retroactive measures for past victims of Drug War policing.
One thing that should be noted here is that these annulments will not be automatic. Individuals will be required to file a petition in the court to get their offense deleted from the records. Prosecutors will get 10 days post the petition to object to the crime’s annulment.
“This measure will help hundreds of people if not thousands,” the bill’s sponsor, Representative Renny Cushing, told Vermont Public Radio. “It’s a positive step in nullifying some of the collateral damage of the war on marijuana.”
A similar bill was proposed in 2018 but it was tabled by the state’s Republican-controlled state Senate.
Medical marijuana was legalized in New Hampshire back in 2013 when Governor Maggie Hassan signed HB 573, better known as the Use of Cannabis for Therapeutic Purposes, into law. Non-profit Alternate Treatment Centers (ATCs) were set up the next year.
As of July 2019, nearly 7,000 patients are registered under the state’s medical marijuana program. Until now, patients could obtain their cannabis medication from only the state’s 4 licensed ATCs; however, that may soon change as only recently the state Senate approved HB 145, which would allow patients to grow up to 3 mature cannabis plants, 3 immature plants, and possess 12 seedlings.
Governor Sununu though isn’t ready to allow for legislation that would open the gateways for for-profit businesses. “Medical marijuana has all my support but allowing for-profit businesses to operate is too huge a step toward the dangerous path of industrial commercialization of the marijuana industry in the state,” Sununu wrote while vetoing a bill that proposed the same last month.
Notably, a bill to legalize adult-use marijuana in New Hampshire stalled out in Senate in May this year.