Legal Status of Recreational Cannabis in New Hampshire
In 2017, New Hampshire decriminalized possession of cannabis products within limited amounts. See Title XXX Occupations and Professions Chapter 318-B Controlled Drug Act Section 318-B:2-c. People found in possession of cannabis products are still subject to fines and or a substance abuse assessment by a licensed drug and alcohol counselor. Cannabis consumption is still a criminal offense while operating a vehicle everywhere in the United States, whether recreational use is legalized in your state or not. Marijuana impairs one’s ability to safely operate a vehicle and can cause car crashes.
Canada and the states surrounding New Hampshire; Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont, have all legalized recreational marijuana. Both Maine and Massachusetts already have legal recreational cannabis dispensaries open and Vermont legalized the regulated sale of marijuana October of 2020. New Hampshire residents are subject to federal criminal prosecutions for transporting legally purchased cannabis products from out of state back into New Hampshire.
January 27th, 2021 the New Hampshire House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee recently retained HB629 which would legalize home cultivation of marijuana and HB237 which would, “establish procedures for the legalization, regulation and taxation of cannabis”. The Chairman held a vote immediately following the hearing and recognized motions to retain both bills, delaying them from receiving a House vote for another year.
Economic Impact of Reed Recreational Cannabis
The legal cannabis industry has experienced rapid growth in Washington state greatly boosting the economy and tax revenue of the state as retail sales have increased by 605% between 2015 and 2020 according to the “2020 Contributions of the Washington Cannabis Sector” report by Washington State University. Since its legalization in December of 2012, the cannabis industry has produced over $602.3 million in gross state product (GSP). GSP represents dollars that otherwise would not have existed in the state without that sector’s activity. Those dollars retained in the state then circulate in the economy supporting nearly another $286 million in indirect value-added transactions. Washington State University also estimates that employees in the Washington marijuana industry spending their income generated approximately $960 million in additional value-added activity. The entire sector in Washington is responsible for just under $1.85 billion dollars in economic activity and supports over 18,697 full time equivalent jobs.
Marijuana excise tax is the fastest growing tax revenue source in the state, and while it lags behind Colorado by 10%, it is possible that a proposed bill allowing individuals to grow up to 6 marijuana plants per person and 15 per household will provide the extra stimulus Washington needs to reach Colorado’s revenue. It is anticipated that legalizing home growth would allow the cannabis industry to grow like the craft beer industry and bolster tax revenues.
Impaired Driving and Legalized Recreational Cannabis
The National Highway Traffic Administration reports marijuana impairs driver’s motor skills, lane tracking, cognitive functions, and ability to multitask. The Washington Traffic Safety Commission has found that drivers impaired by multiple substances are over three times as likely to be involved in a fatal crash. A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that the proportion of marijuana impaired drivers in fatal car crashes approximately doubled several months after Washington State legalized recreational marijuana in 2012. This proportion remained the same on average through 2017. In 2017, 21% of drivers involved in fatal crashes in Washington State were THC-positive. The Washington Traffic Safety Commission reports that traffic fatalities involving drivers impaired by any substances have been on a slow decline between 2005 and 2016.
I was in an auto accident caused by impaired driving – what should I do?
If you or a loved one have been involved in a car accident caused by impaired driving be sure to contact an automobile accident attorney. Auto crashes cause personal injury and property damage that can be emotionally, physically, and financially devastating. Car crash lawyers and personal injury attorneys such as Attorney Charlie Donahue can help you navigate the difficult conversations and paperwork with insurance companies so that you receive the best possible outcome.
If you need assistance after a car crash, please call Attorney Charlie Donahue of Donahue Law at (603) 357- 2363 or send him a message here for a free consultation.