New Hampshire Poll Finds 74 Percent of Residents Approve of Legalization

A majority of New Hampshire residents want to see the legalization of recreational pot, but there’s still a ways to go.
New Hampshire

Seventy-four percent of New Hampshire survey participants share that they support recreational cannabis legalization, and 68 percent approve of a specific cannabis bill that would place the New Hampshire Liquor Commission in charge of regulating sales.

A recent poll was released on February 25 by the Granite State Poll and published by the University of New Hampshire. Among polled topics such as congressional redistricting, yearly car inspections, and the current job performance of Governor Chris Sununu, poll participants were asked their current stance on cannabis legalization. Results reveal that more than two thirds of residents support cannabis legalization bills that are currently being proposed.

Two cannabis-related polls were presented to participants. One explored the opinion of a recently introduced cannabis legalization bill, and the other asked what if the individual approved or opposed legalization overall.

House Bill 1598 was recently approved in the New Hampshire House of Representatives on February 16. Referencing this, Granite State Poll survey asked participants if they want to see recreational cannabis legalization, and require statewide sales regulation to be managed by the New Hampshire Liquor Commission. “More than two-thirds (68 percent) of respondents are strongly (47 percent) or somewhat (21 percent) in support of this bill, 20 percent are somewhat (five percent) or strongly (15 percent) opposed to it, 11 percent are neutral, and two percent are unsure,” the poll states. Furthermore, the political party breakdown shows that 79 percent of Democrats, 68 percent of Independents and 56 percent Republicans are also in favor of this particular bill.

The legalization poll that was presented to determine the participants’ support or opposition of cannabis legalization also revealed strong support. “Support for legalizing marijuana generally in New Hampshire has increased dramatically in the past decade,” the poll stated. “In 2013, Granite Staters were split nearly evenly, with 49 percent in support of legalizing marijuana and 45 percent opposed. Today, nearly three-quarters (74 percent) support legalizing marijuana and only 15 percent are opposed.”

Previously in poll results, the divide between support and opposition was not as wide. The first differing gap is shown as presented sometime between 2014 and 2015, reflecting a 59 percent approval and 34 percent opposition. Between 2015-2016, the results bounced back slightly with 54 percent approval and 37 percent opposition. However, subsequent polls over the last few years show a significant increase in New Hampshire cannabis support and interest.

Data to create this poll was pulled from 1,081 Granite State Panel Members who completed the survey online, which consists of a varied diversity of people of different genders, age ranges, locations political parties and more. Each individual was tasked to answer questions between February 18-22, 2022. Additionally, 7,500 New Hampshire residents who were contacted through randomly-selected landlines or cell phone numbers.

House Bill 1598 was last discussed nearly two weeks ago, which resulted in a floor vote of 235-119. The bill’s sponsor, Representative Daryl Abbas, believes that the bill is “a compromise by many who favor recreational cannabis and many who like me that have traditionally opposed recreational cannabis. [It] creates a policy like no other state that works for and serves the people of New Hampshire,” Abbas said during the floor discussion. “The time for talking is over. It’s time for us together to take action and to deliver this.” The bill will have its next hearing on March 3, and will need to pass through both the House Finance Committee to reach the Senate for further consideration.

While recreational cannabis is still up in the air for New Hampshire, the state’s medical cannabis received an upgrade last year in May 2021 when Governor Sununu passed House Bill 89. Effective as of July 2021, the law allows physicians to authorize patients who suffer from moderate or severe insomnia, as well as those who have autism, to use medical cannabis.

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