You’ve got to wonder what members of the New Hampshire House were smoking on Tuesday when they voted 207 to 139 in favor of marijuana cultivation, possession and edibles for recreational use.
Last year, this same House voted to create a marijuana study commission to look into the many complicated issues surrounding recreational marijuana use and sales and that hard-working commission will not release its final report until November. In fact, the House Criminal Justice Committee, which held hearings on the bill, deemed it inexpedient to legislate, to give the study commission time to finish its work.
The vote is especially misguided in light of the early testimony the study commission received from experts from Colorado and Oregon, two legal recreational marijuana states, stating their biggest challenges come from edibles and home cultivation. Washington state experts are up next.
According to Rep. Patrick Abrami, R-Stratham, who chairs the marijuana study commission, representatives from Colorado and Oregon report edibles are a problem because it is difficult to regulate the strength of the THC in the cookies, brownies and candy, that there has been a spike in overdoses among children accidentally consuming spiked goodies and among adults who don’t realize they are consuming too much of the intoxicating chemicals. In fact, he said, Colorado has launched an education program and imposed more stringent labeling requirements to deal with these problems.
Homegrown plants, when cultivated by someone who knows what they’re doing, can produce a lot of marijuana. Because homegrown is untaxed, citizens in Colorado and Washington have been selling their excess, creating a black market and undercutting taxable weed sales.
Speaking of taxes, another bizarre House decision was sending the bill to the Ways and Means Committee, which reviews revenue related legislation, since all taxing authority was removed from the bill. The