The New Hampshire House voted 162-161 yesterday to decriminalize less than a half-ounce of marijuana, with House Speaker Bill O’Brien choosing not to cast a potentially decisive vote.
Under House Bill 1526, the first two times a person is caught with up to a half-ounce of the drug, he or she would be charged with a violation and fined. The first fine would be up to $250 and the second fine up to $500.
On the third violation, the person would be charged with a misdemeanor crime, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
“This is a calculated, measured reduction in the penalties for possession,” said Rep. Kyle Tasker, a Nottingham Republican.
The House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee had recommended passage of the bill in a 9-7 vote last month. The vote yesterday on the House floor was equally close.
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