Today I dropped off a proposal to the city clerk’s office that the council repeal the paraphernalia ordinance. Unlike state statutes prohibiting drugs, the prohibition on paraphernalia is a city ordinance and the city council has full control over ordinances. Will they actually do something? The first step is for the full council to hear the letter and possibly assign it to a committee. The proposal is to be heard at the next meeting on Thursday 9/5 at 7pm at City Hall. Here’s the proposal:
Ladies and gentlemen of the Keene city council,
There has been recent and previous discussion on the council regarding cannabis decriminalization and legalization. It is certainly true that the Keene city council cannot repeal state statutes, however you can send a resolution to the state legislature encouraging them to do the right thing and legalize cannabis in New Hampshire. In addition, you as a councilor can move to order the police chief to issue a directive to Keene police officers to not enforce cannabis laws in Keene.
Also, there is one other thing that the council can do that I am proposing with this letter, and that is to repeal the drug paraphernalia ordinances. This would send a message that Keene is serious about ending the insane war on drugs, which is really a war on our friends, family, and neighbors.
Specifically, the entirety of Keene ordinance Chapter 66, Article II should be repealed and replaced with nothing.
Drug abuse is a personal tragedy, but the drug war only makes it worse for the abuser. When the person is caught by police, they are loaded up with criminal charges and offered a plea deal. The “deal” usually means hundreds of dollars in fines for the court system, which only further impoverishes the drug user. If their life wasn’t bad already, with the arrest it gets much worse. Previously, the person may have been employed – afterwards they may lose their job due to the time spent in jail. The drug paraphernalia charge is just another way to squeeze more dollars out of the person and put them into the system.
Taking a pipe away from a drug addict doesn’t solve their addiction problem, it merely forces them to buy a new pipe. Of course, if they don’t have the money to do that, they may steal that money – from you.
Please do the right thing and send a real message by repealing this unnecessary and oppressive ordinance. You will at the same time help lessen the burden on the poorest people, which are those most likely to be caught for drug “crimes”.
Thank you for your time and attention to this important matter,
Minister, Shire Free Church