May 12 (UPI) -- New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu has ended has opposition to legalizing adult-use marijuana.
In a Medium post Friday, the governor said the majority of state residents support legalization of recreational use, and he said he's ready to sign a bill approving it.
"I stand ready to sign a legalization bill that puts the state of New Hampshire in the drivers seat, focusing on harm reduction -- not profits," Sununu said in a statement. "Similar to our liquor sales, this path helps to keep substances away from kids by ensuring the State of New Hampshire retains control of marketing, sales, and distribution -- eliminating any need for additional taxes."
He said the marijuana legalization bill that was defeated in the current state legislative season was "not the right path for our state."
That bill was blocked by state Senate Republicans, despite several legalization bills passing on bipartisan votes in the New Hampshire House.
But Sununu said he has never vetoed legislation to legalize recreational marijuana and was proud to become the first governor in New Hampshire history to decriminalize small amounts "so that no one would go to jail for simple possession."
"New Hampshire is the only state in New England where recreational use is not legal," Sununu's Friday post said. "Knowing that a majority of our residents support legalization, it is reasonable to assume change is inevitable. To ignore this reality would be shortsighted and harmful."
He said New Hampshire already has expanded access to medical marijuana and provided a pathway to overturn old marijuana possession convictions.
Sununu said the right path for his state to legalize marijuana would include a bill that allows the state to control access and distribution, keeps it tax-free to "undercut the cartels," empowers towns to keep it out if they choose, and keeps marijuana away from kids and schools.
Sununu added that, since he's been governor, marijuana legalization has not garnered enough bipartisan support to send a bill to his desk.