GONIC - It's a matter of months, not years, till New Hampshire legalizes recreational marijuana.
Speaking on Tuesday to about 100 attendees at a State of the State address at the Rochester Country Club, Gov. Chris Sununu said he would sign legislation to legalize cannabis if it was done according to his model, which would follow the path of the state's liquor stores.
He said this model would ensure that the messaging and marketing would be controlled to protect children, adding that marijuana miles like those in Berwick and Lebanon in Maine give kids the wrong message.
"Maine, Vermont and Massachusetts have done a terrible job regulating it," Sununu said. "Just look at Berwick where there's a pot shop on every corner."
"New Hampshire must avoid marijuana miles - the term for densely concentrated marijuana shops within one city or town," the governor said in an earlier statement.
He also supports avoiding billboards, commercials, and digital ads that bombard kids on a daily basis.
The governor said as a father of three he is against its legalization, but said on Tuesday "the votes are there, so I want to do it the right way."
Sununu, who on Tuesday was as ebullient as ever - perhaps because he's not running for anything for the first time in a long time - hammered away at the overreach of the federal government, saying it has to decentralize and give more power back to the individual states.
"We've got to drain the swamp," he said, echoing the mantra made famous by former President Donald Trump, now a frequent target of Sununu.
While Sununu took no jabs at the former president on Tuesday, in a recent op-ed in the New York Times, he urged Republicans to coalesce behind a solid Republican contender who could successfully challenge Trump for the nomination.
His remarks in the op-ed came just days before tonight's debate in Milwaukee, Wis. He advises they attack Trump, then attack him some more.
"Candidates on the debate stage should not be afraid to attack Donald Trump," he wrote. "While it's true that Mr. Trump has an iron grip on more than 30 percent of the electorate, the other 60 percent or so is open to moving forward with a new nominee."
Sununu predicts that if Trump is the nominee Republicans will lose "up and down the ballot."
He urged Tuesday's audience to take some time to get acquainted with the many presidential hopefuls who are stumping in the Granite State.
Tuesday's State of the State event was sponsored by Eversource.