New Hampshire Cannabis Laws

Is Cannabis Legal In New Hampshire?
Looking for other state cannabis laws? Click Here!


StateRecreationalMedical MarijuanaCBD
New HampshireNoYesYes

Federal Law:

Recreational Medical MarijuanaCBD

Is recreational cannabis legal in New Hampshire?

No. Recreational adult-use cannabis is illegal in New Hampshire, but possession has been decriminalized for .75 oz

In 2017, New Hampshire House Bill 640 was signed into law by their Governor to decriminalize small amounts of cannabis possession. Under this bill, police are also not allowed to arrest citizens on a cannabis violation, and all fines collected from cannabis offenses are allocated to alcohol and drug abuse prevention programs. 

Aside from decriminalization, New Hampshire has attempted to progress cannabis policies including, their failed legislation in 2014. HB 492 was approved by their legislature but tax issues pertaining to the bill delayed any future progression. HB 492 was based on Colorado’s Amendment 64. If signed into law, it would’ve allowed for the possession and use of 1oz cannabis for adults 21 years or older and established regulations for production and sale. 

Is Medical Marijuana legal in New Hampshire?

Yes. Medical Marijuana has been legal in New Hampshire since the passing of HB 573 in 2013. Under this law, registered patients with qualifying conditions can possess up to 2 oz of cannabis at a time. Patients are forbidden from cultivating their cannabis at home and must purchase products from one of the four operational dispensaries in the state.

New Hampshire has been criticized for its delay in opening more dispensaries and creating a regulatory framework promptly. The first dispensary did not open until three years after the bill passed. 

Are CBD products legal in New Hampshire? 

Yes. Since the passage of the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, hemp-derived CBD products are legal under federal law in the United States, as long as they contain at most 0.3% THC. 

Any and all CBD in food and drink is still federally illegal.

What’s New Hampshire’s medical marijuana sales tax? 

0%. New Hampshire does not have a retail sales tax. 

New Hampshire’s Cannabis Timeline:

1937: The Marihuana (archaic spelling of Marijuana) Tax Act was enacted banning cannabis at the federal level. Medical Marijuana use was still permitted.

1951: The Boggs Act, Sponsored by Hale Boggs and signed into law under President Harry S. Truman, This act set mandatory sentencing and increased punishment for cannabis possession. 

1969: The Marihuana Tax Act is deemed unconstitutional in the landmark Leary v. United States. Timothy Leary, a professor, and activist, was arrested for the possession of marijuana in violation of the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act. Leary then challenged the act because the act required self-incrimination, which violated his Fifth Amendment rights. (The self-incrimination clause provides various protections against self-incrimination, including the right of an individual to not serve as a witness in a criminal case in which they are the defendant, better known as “Pleading the Fifth.”) The court’s unanimous opinion was penned by Justice John Marshall Harlan II and declared the Marihuana Tax Act unconstitutional. Therefore, Leary’s conviction was overturned.

1970: The Controlled Substances Act is enacted (replacing the unconstitutional Marihuana Tax Act). Cannabis is classified as a Schedule I drug, determined to have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use, thereby prohibiting its use for any purpose. This act was signed into law by President Richard Nixon. 

This legislation created five classifications, with specific qualifications for a substance to be included in each. The substances scheduling (classification) are determined by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Yet, Congress does have the power to schedule or de-schedule substances through legislation. Substance scheduling decisions are based on its potential for abuse, accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and international treaties.

Classification of Controlled Substances:

Schedule I: High potential of abuse, not acceptable for medical use

Schedule II: High potential of abuse, sometimes allowed with “severe restrictions” for medical use

Schedule II: Medium potential of abuse, acceptable for medical use

Schedule IV: Moderate potential of abuse, acceptable for medical use

Schedule V: Lowest potential of abuse, acceptable for medical use

1984-1986: Mandatory Sentencing and the three-strikes law were created under the Reagan Administration. This accounts for some of the harshest drug laws designed, including mandatory 25-year imprisonment for certain drug offenses and the death penalty’s promotion to be used against “drug kingpins.”

1998: House Joint Resolution 117, encouraged by the passing of California’s Prop 215, the House of Representatives passed this measure to support the existing Federal legal process for determining the safety and efficacy of certain drugs.  

2013: New Hampshire legalized Medical Marijuana (HB 573) for patients with chronic or terminal diseases and debilitating medical conditions. 

2014: The Rohrabacher–Farr Amendment passed in the U.S. House and signed into law prohibiting the Justice Department from interfering with the implementation of state medical cannabis laws.

2014: Failed HB 492 would’ve allowed for the possession and use of 1oz cannabis for adults 21 years or older and established production and sale regulations. 

2016: New Hampshire’s first medical marijuana dispensary opens, after passing HB 573 in 2013. 

2017: New Hampshire House Bill 640 decriminalized small amounts of possession of cannabis.

2018: Farm bill legalizes low-THC hemp nationwide and effectively de-schedules hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) from the Controlled Substances Act. 

Recent News