NH police talk marijuana enforcement on the border with legal-pot states
Police Chief Andy Shagoury’s town of Tuftonboro is nestled on Lake Winnipesaukee and sits about 20 miles from New Hampshire’s border with Maine. Marijuana is legal in Maine, and the reality of people bringing the dried plant into the Granite State doesn’t sit well with the president of New Hampshire’s association of chiefs of police.
“This isn’t the marijuana of the ’80s. This is much stronger,” he said. “We need to make sure everyone realizes that it is not legal here in New Hampshire.”
Changing laws in Vermont, Massachusetts, Maine and Canada – all of which will have legalized marijuana by year’s end – have turned New Hampshire into a political and legal island. Advocates for legalization say it is only a matter of time until New Hampshire allows adults to use cannabis, which would make it the 10th state to legalize and the fourth in New England. The state’s Democratic party has now made it an official part of its platform. Gov. Chris Sununu has repeatedly said he will veto any attempt to legalize.
But as the legal marijuana market rapidly grows along New Hampshire’s borders, law enforcement officials from all over the state insist nothing has changed and they will enforce the laws on the books right now.
“We’re seeing some come over state lines now from other states with supposedly tightly regulated markets that is being distributed here,” Shagoury said.
Currently, Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, and Canada do not have stores that sell cannabis for recreational use. Marijuana bought over state lines is still being carried illegally because a federally taxed and regulated market has not been created.
As New Hampshire law stands right now, three-fourths of an ounce or less of marijuana is decriminalized for people 18 and older. Anyone caught with three-fourths of an ounce or