What is the VISION of HB1633?

What is the VISION of HB1633?

HB1633, the bipartisan ‘Live Free’ cannabis legalization bill, passed another big hurdle last week by passing its first full House vote 239-141. It will now make its way to the House Finance committee for a discussion on the fees and revenue allocations.

A Huge congratulations to Representatives Erica Layon (R) and Anita Burroughs (D). They are two fearless and determined legislators that never blink in the face of adversity.  Their combination of skills is perfect for the moment, and the results of the vote in House Commerce and the full House is a testament to that fact.

For the past couple of months most of the conversation has been centered around the minutia of all the statues and rules in the bill. We thought it might be good to take a step back and discuss what the Vision of HB1633 actually looks like.


In short, HB1633 Establishes the vision of a classy, conservative and constrained responsible adult use market. 

To set the stage, it is important to understand how the ‘Agency Store’ concept is very different from traditional licensing formats.

Unlike traditional licensing structures where the State is the legislative body that creates an independent commission (the regulatory body) that does not report directly to the State. The vision of HB1633 provides a higher level of direct regulatory control by the State via the Liquor Commission, since the liquor commission reports directly to the State. This is a very important distinction to understand.

HB1633 provides this increased direct regulatory control by the state while avoiding the operational control issues that turn the State into a plant touching cannabis company regulated by the FTC and all the perils that come with the state run or franchise concepts.

This results in higher standards and increased oversight by the State as the regulatory body via the Liquor Commission to create a classier, more conservative and constrained cannabis industry for New Hampshire.


With that said, let’s paint the picture of what HB1633 establishes for New Hampshire.

Cannabis will be legal to purchase, possess and consume as you can imaging. Rather than reviewing the obvious aspects of what the bill accomplishes, we want to focus on what makes it a more constrained version of legalization.

We want to be sure to protect the viability of our important medical cannabis industry and patients. This bill provides clear legislative intent for those ATCs looking to participate in the recreational space to ensure their viability. 

We don’t want minors thinking it is a good idea to consume cannabis at a young age. This bill will keep businesses away from schools, and there will be educational collateral and programs to educate our youth to prevent use by minors. 

Last year I visited Portland Maine. While dining downtown with my wife we were in an area where restaurants have outside dining along the streets, much like in places like Manchester during the summer.

Couples and families were out dining, trying to enjoy their evening, but the thick scent of cannabis was everywhere. At a bar nearby, people were outside smoking joints like they were cigarettes. This was too much, even for me, and it won’t be allowed in NH. Cannabis will be legal to consume, but residents will be required to practice discretion.

Consumers won’t be able to walk down the street or sit in front of a kindergarten and smoke cannabis without recourse. And for those that thumb their nose at the State and smoke cannabis in public repeatedly there will be increasing consequences. We don’t want that type of behavior, and this bill will prevent it.

We don’t want marketing messages accidentally getting in front of minors. So marketing will be very limited to start, with mostly Google search results, location listings and Weedmap type directories allowed. This bill sets very tight guardrails for that.

We don’t want the Wild West, with too much, too quick. A hard cap of 15 retail stores and throttled ramp up of cultivation and manufacturing to start is in this bill. Although we’d prefer a freer market solution, we understand the desire to use a phased in approach that sets certain limits to start and eyes expansion as we iron out all the wrinkles.

In addition, municipalities will decide if cannabis businesses are allowed, where they can be located and what hours they can operate. There will also be limitations on density for cannabis businesses. We don’t want the Starbucks across the street from a Starbucks problem, and this bill prevents that.

Dispensaries won’t be allowed to have outlandish or low quality exteriors. There will be uniform standards of presentation, fit and finish required. Perhaps even color schemes will be incorporated for a more consistent overall brand associated with NH retail stores. And there will be standards and restrictions on outdoor signage. 

There won’t be logos containing outrageous names or cartoon characters with bloodshot eyes smoking a blunt allowed. The Liquor Commission will be tightly restricting these types of designs to keep things classy and dignified.

We want to ensure that consumers understand any risks associated with over consumption of cannabis. There will be in-store and mass market educational efforts to prevent this. For those that may abuse cannabis, there will be programs for treatment and recovery to help them.  Protecting children and adults through regulation will enhance public saafety. 

Driving while under the influence of cannabis is certainly something we do not want in our state. New Hampshire has a shortage of drug recognition experts, this bill will address that shortage with funds for training more DRE officers to provide more coverage over more of the State.

We don’t want residents with previous possession only convictions of the amounts of cannabis that will be legal to have no path to annulment of their records. HB1633 takes the first step in providing legal aid services for people affected.


There is some of the vision of the industry HB1633 looks to create in New Hampshire. But there are a few more important things to note.

We have significant challenges in our state that have been ongoing for quite some time. There is a lack of available housing, and those that are lucky enough to purchase a home are being squeezed by ever increasing property taxes and sale prices. 

Our education system is under funded affecting parents and children and we have an enormous brain drain from our State as the next generation of labor and entrepreneurs leave for opportunities elsewhere.

This bill envisions funding for education with the side benefit of potential property tax reduction. It allocates funds for water and sewer expansion projects, the precursor to additional housing builds. It brings an exciting new industry to the state that will hopefully attract and retain the next generation of talent. 

It also envisions NH as more than a cultivator, extractor and retailer of cannabis, setting the stage for research and development of cannabis related technologies.

And it supports farmers in our rural countryside, potentially attracting more residents that don’t enjoy city living but want to participate in the cannabis industry.

HB1633 is a Great Bill and there is a lot more to it that we’ll be talking about at hearings and some upcoming events. In the meantime we hope this will help you visualize what HB1633 actually aims to accomplish for all the residents of our great state.

In the meantime, below are two links to bill Sponsor Representative Erica Layon’s interviews on WFEA.


What can you do to help?

Contact your State Representative in support of HB1633

Contact your Senator in support of HB1633


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