Are you wondering how to open a dispensary in New Hampshire? We will provide the most recent news and details about launching a cannabis dispensary in the state on this page, along with valuable insights about what will happen next.
The state of New Hampshire banned recreational cannabis usage, but since July 18th, 2017, possession of up to three-quarters of an ounce is no longer considered a crime. Meanwhile, legislation approved in 2013 legalized medicinal usage.
On December 12th, 2022, legislative leaders from both parties in New Hampshire’s House of Representatives said that they would be working together to introduce a measure to legalize marijuana in the state during the 2023 session. Republican House Majority Leader Jason Osborne and Democratic House Minority Leader Matt Wilhelm co-sponsored HB 639. If passed, people over 21 would be permitted to possess and gift up to four ounces of cannabis and cultivate up to six plants for personal use.
On February 22nd, 2023, legalization legislation HB 639 was passed by the New Hampshire House of Representatives with a vote of 234-127. This decision followed the approval of an amended version of the bill by the House Commerce and Consumer Affairs Liquor Subcommittee on February 15th. One notable alteration to the original draft is that the bill designates the state’s current Liquor Commission as the regulatory body for the marijuana industry, rather than establishing a new independent commission as initially introduced in HB 639.
On March 16th, 2023, the New Hampshire House of Representatives gave its approval to HB 360. This bill from Kevin Verville (R) seeks to legalize marijuana in the state, however, unlike HB 639, which is a more comprehensive measure sponsored by bipartisan leaders that includes taxation and regulation, HB 360 does not include any regulations or limitations on cannabis. The House voted 210-160 to disagree with the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee’s decision made on February 17th, where they rejected the proposed law as it was deemed unnecessary to be turned into a law. Following this, the bill was passed by members in a voice vote and will now be sent to the Senate. However, on May 10th, the bill failed in the Senate.
On April 6th, 2023, the New Hampshire House of Representatives gave its approval to HB 639 for the second time. The proposal was passed with a vote of 272-109 and sent to the Senate for further consideration. The bill had previously received House approval but underwent amendments in committee before being brought back to the floor for final passage. On May 11th, 2023, HB 639 was rejected by the Senate with a 14-10 vote. However, the following day, Governor Chris Sununu proposed a potential path for legalization, advocating for the regulation of recreational marijuana similar to how the state regulates the sale of alcohol, prioritizing harm reduction over financial gain.
On August 8th, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu (R) signed a bill, HB 611, which establishes a commission responsible for formulating potential laws for the legalization of marijuana sales via a network of state-operated shops. The commission is required to present its proposal by December 1st, to be reviewed by legislators for potential enactment in 2024.
According to the Granite State Poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire (UNH) in February 2022, 74% of state citizens believe that prohibition should be repealed. Overall, the state has seen a 25% increase in pro-legalization sentiment since 2013.
Statistica projects that the revenue of marijuana sales in New Hampshire will rise from 2016 to 2025. According to the prediction, the value of marijuana sales in New Hampshire is expected to reach around $50.8 million in 2025.
Medical marijuana is legal in New Hampshire. HB 573 was signed into law by New Hampshire’s governor, Maggie Hassan, in July 2013 to legalize the medicinal use of cannabis for those with “chronic or terminal illnesses” and “debilitating medical conditions.” Compared to other medical marijuana laws around the country, this one stands out for its stringency since it only permits the use of cannabis when all other therapeutic options have been exhausted.
Patients have had access to cannabis from regulated and licensed alternative treatment centers as of 2016.
In New Hampshire, individuals with certain medical conditions are eligible to use medical marijuana as part of their treatment. The specific qualifying conditions for medical marijuana in New Hampshire include:
The Alternative Treatment Center license is the only type of cannabis license that may be awarded in New Hampshire in line with the state’s cannabis regulations. ATCs are responsible for the cultivation, production, and delivery of medical cannabis to qualifying patients. There are just seven ATC dispensaries in the state now. These ATC dispensaries may be found in:
New Hampshire does not accept applications for ATC dispensaries at this time. When the program is reopened, any new information will be added to this area. For the time being, you may examine the information below on opening a dispensary in the state so that you are prepared to apply when the application period reopens.
In New Hampshire, ATC dispensaries are required to pay fees as part of the state’s Medical Cannabis Program. These fees can include:
Each RFA-selected ATC must provide the following to the department within 90 days of notification.
The use of cannabis for recreational purposes is illegal in New Hampshire. However, on July 18th, 2017, possession of up to three-quarters of an ounce of marijuana was decriminalized.
The state House has repeatedly advanced bills to legalize marijuana, but they have failed to gain traction in the Senate. Despite previous unsuccessful legalization attempts, supporters of marijuana legalization remain persistent in their efforts.
A legalization bill failed in the senate on May 10th, 2023. As it pertains to New Hampshire regulation and licensing of cannabis businesses, HB 639 would have achieved the following:
According to John Hunt, the chairman of the Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee, if HB 639 progresses out of his committee, lawmakers may reconsider a different bill, HB 544, which he believes has a higher likelihood of becoming law.
HB 544, which is sponsored by Rep. Daniel Eaton, proposes a system in which government-run stores would be responsible for the recreational marijuana market, with the Liquor Commission being responsible for overseeing the cultivation, manufacturing, testing, and retail sale of cannabis across the state. As of March 13th, 2023, the bill is retained in committee.
This 2023 session has also seen the introduction of several other legalization bills, including basic proposals to remove cannabis from the state’s controlled substances list and permit limited home cultivation.
In New Hampshire, some of the major advocates pushing for recreational legalization are as follows:
There are likely to be several developments that will impact efforts to legalize cannabis in New Hampshire. Sign up for our New Hampshire Cannabis Mailing List (below), and we’ll ensure you’re always up-to-date on the latest developments, hard-to-find information, and discussion about New Hampshire’s legalization including the answers to questions like:
In addition to learning about the cannabis rules and opportunities in New Hampshire, you can also learn about how to open a dispensary in the country by reading this article.