The New Hampshire House of Representatives [official website] voted without debate Thursday to remove criminal penalties for the possession of small amounts of marijuana. The purpose of the legislation is to reduce time spent on small possession drug cases, allow police and courts to spend more time on serious crime and to reduce penalties for those possessing less than five grams of marijuana. All of the money collected from the fines will go into a fund aimed at alcohol and drug abuse prevention and treatment. The bill [text, PDF] will now go to Republican Governor, Chris Sununu, who has indicated that he will sign it into law.
Countries across the globe have begun to legalize marijuana in recent years. In April Canada announced [JURIST report] a plan [press release] to legalize recreational use of marijuana by July 2018. In February the lower house of the Dutch parliament approved a bill [JURIST report] that would permit the cultivation of cannabis. In January Maine’s governor signed [JURIST report] a moratorium bill that delayed the legal sale of marijuana by retailers for one year, although still allowed the possession of marijuana for personal use by those 21 or older. In April Mexico’s president proposed [JURIST report] a bill relaxing laws on marijuana use. In December 2015 Colombia’s president legalized [JURIST report] medical marijuana. In June 2015 Canada’s top court lifted [JURIST report] a restriction that the only acceptable form of medical marijuana was smoking the dried plant.