Rocky Road to Legalization: New Hampshire Commission Reaches No Consensus for Recreational Cannabis Recommendations

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The commission appointed to study a state-run cannabis model concluded its final meeting without issuing recommendations on legislation.

On November 27th, 2023, a specially formed commission failed to arrive at a consensus establishing recommendations on the legalization of recreational cannabis in the state of New Hampshire (1). Earlier this year, Governor Sununu had called for the creation of the commission to study a state-run model of cannabis legalization—the only type of model the governor has stated he will sign into law—and gave the commission a December 1 deadline for reporting its recommendations (2).

The commission voted 7-2 to issue the report on its activities and testimonies from the past several months but without recommendations (1). In the proposed state-run model, the Liquor Commission would oversee several aspects of the cannabis retail stores, but stores would be operated by individual owners (3). "So, this is a public-private partnership," said Senator Tim Lang (4). "The state is going to be the regulator and controller, and then the retail side will be a private partnership with another organization." The original number of cannabis stores was set to match the number of current liquor stores, which is 67 stores (3).


On the day of the final meeting, two last-minute conditions for the legalization to pass came from the governor’s office: a limit of 15 stores in the state—with the potential option for more in the future—and banning license holders from lobbying and political contributions (1,3). Despite some criticism of limiting the initial number of stores, the commission accepted the limit, but rejected the proposal to limit licensee political contributions, citing concerns over free speech (1).

Currently, New Hampshire is the only state in New England where recreational cannabis is still illegal (4).

Read our coverage of the formation of New Hampshire’s commission and the bill that would have legalized cannabis in the state earlier this year.


  1. Rogers, J. NH Marijuana Commission fails to find consensus for a legalization policy (accessed Nov 29, 2023).
  2. DeWitt, E. Commission to study state-run cannabis retail model moves ahead (accessed Nov 29, 2023).
  3. Barndollar, H. Sununu Cannabis Non-negotiables? 15-store cap, ban on lobbying by licensees (accessed Nov 29, 2023).
  4. Sexton, A. New Hampshire Cannabis Commission wraps up months of work with no recommendations (accessed Nov 29, 2023).