Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Passes New Hampshire House

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The New Hampshire House of Representatives on Wednesday overwhelmingly passed a bill to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana. | Debra Wiseberg via Getty Images

A bill that would significantly reduce penalties for possessing and growing marijuana was overwhelmingly approved by the New Hampshire House of Representatives on Wednesday.

The measure (HB 1625), which passed by a margin of 215-92, would make the possession of under an ounce of cannabis a civil offense punishable by a fine of up to $100 and would make the growing of up to six plants a misdemeanor instead of a felony.

New Hampshire is the last state in New England that still puts people in jail for minor weed possession offenses, according to the Marijuana Policy Project, a D.C.-based organization that advocates for legalization. Currently in New Hampshire, having even a crumb of cannabis in your pocket can land you in jail for a year and get you fined $2,000.

Even if the bill can pass the Senate, it remains to be seen how Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) would act. Although a majority of New Hampshire voters favors such a measure, and Hassan signed a medical marijuana bill into law this past summer, she has said she doesn't support decriminalizing weed any further because it sends "the wrong message" to kids.

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