Several longtime cannabis freedom activists at the 2017 Concord smoke-out.
Since 2009, on April 20th at 4:20pm people from across New Hampshire gather in front of the State House in Concord to commit mass civil disobedience by smoking, vaporizing, or otherwise consuming cannabis in public. As has happened in previous years, we were again joined by multiple state representatives including Libertarian Caleb Dyer of Pelham, NH as well as Keene’s Ward One Democrat, Joseph Stallcop, and Republican Glen Aldrich of Gilford.
This year’s event began with speakers at 3pm including representatives Dyer & Stallcop, me explaining the right of Jury Nullification, and Libertarian Party of NH chairman Darryl W Perry. The overcast weather threatened rain which thankfully never materialized and the temperature was cool and pleasant with a couple dozen already in attendance at 3pm by the street, smoking cannabis and chalking messages on the pavement. As we closed in on 4:20pm (the time that cannabis is used in celebration globally) the numbers of attendees swelled to easily over 100 people.
Just a portion of the excellent crowd, photos courtesy Justin Campagnone
Event organizer and executive director of the 420 Foundation, Shire Dude emceed (and live streamed) the event. As the crowd gathered directly in front of the state house close to 4:20, we heard from speakers including Carla Gericke of the Foundation for New Hampshire Independence, the executive director of the NH Cannabis Freedom Festival, Rick Naya, and medical cannabis consultant John Padellaro who told us how cannabis helped him with his inoperable brain growth. Padellaro also said, “I don’t support legalization. I support ending prohibition.” This sentiment was echoed by speakers Perry and Gericke, with Gericke also calling on New Hampshire’s new governor, Chris Sununu, to pardon all peaceful drug offenders and end funding for “Granite Hammer”. Perry and representative Dyer’s speeches focused on the current legal status and future of cannabis reform in New Hampshire while Naya reflected on the previous 420 rallies and people we’ve lost to prohibition. In his off-the-cuff speech, representative Stallcop of Keene told the attendees, “we need to stop looking at each other in terms of left or right. I see, in all honesty, there is right and there is wrong…We will stand together as one people and say that this is our decision, this is our choice.” (more…)
Today Steven and I talked about secession with almost a hundred people at a rally in Portsmouth, NH. The event was inspired by the recent election of Donald Trump. These people united under the message “Not My President.” Since I don’t believe in forced associations, I can get down with that! Everyone should have the president they want — or no president at all. We walked downtown with music blasting from our jackets, a big rainbow flag, and some NHexit signs! We brought propaganda with us, but there was so much to do, talking to people and getting video, that we didn’t hand out any literature! It would have been awesome to have support from other Seacoast activists. If you’re hot and gay and love freedom, you should move here and join us in Portsmouth, NH — the beachhead of liberty! Full hour-plus video below!
One local man in attendance said that he hasn’t seen anything like this since the 70’s. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. Is this the return of the activist left, silent and sleeping for 8 years, and now ready to return with ferocity? I hope so! I’ll criticize any politician in power, but it’s so much more fun to do it with the democrats.
Libertarians Had Major Successes in NH 2016 Elections
The national election is just a sideshow. Nothing of substance in DC will change in the next four years and I predict Trump will ultimately disappoint those who think he’s somehow an “outsider” or “anti-establishment”. Meanwhile, the left is MAD and secession will grow into a serious idea for many of them as they begin to see the value in breaking away from the United States. Indeed, Californians already held a #CalExit rally on the Sacramento statehouse grounds today!
Many watching the libertarian migrations to New Hampshire are probably wondering how the libertarians did here in the Shire, specifically both the Libertarian Party candidates and those libertarians running as Republicans and Democrats for state house and senate.
First, Libertarian candidate for NH governor Max Abramson got a higher vote percentage than every other Libertarian Party candidate for governor across the United States in 2016’s election. He did better than Gary Johnson did in NH, in fact. Beyond the feather in his cap, the 4.3% of the vote he received is significant because it qualifies the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire for equal ballot access with the Republicans and Democrats for the first time in 20 years! That means Libertarian candidates no longer have to worry about petitioning to gain ballot access – a costly and time-consuming process. Now we can pay the same affordable filing fees ($2 for state rep) that the Rs and Ds pay.
Why has it been twenty years since we’ve had this status? In 1990, the LP gained official party recognition for the first time. They held it until 1997 when the state legislature (specifically a group of Republicans) decided to raise the vote threshold from 3% to 4%, disqualifying the LP from official party status. Their candidates for governor since that time were unable to reach the new, raised bar.
Darryl W Perry, Chairman of the Libertarian Party of NH
The news couldn’t come at a better time for the LP of NH, which for many years has been languishing under a do-nothing chairman. That chair was replaced at a special convention called just weeks beforehand, where Free Keene blogger Darryl W Perry was unanimously elected chairman by those attending the convention. In addition, principled former Arkansas LP chair Rodger Paxton was elected vice-chair along with former independent candidate for governor Jilletta Jarvis taking the secretary position – much-needed new blood was transfused into the NH Libertarian Party, just in time for this epic win by Abramson. The gates are now open for libertarians to storm the ballots in 2018 with candidates statewide.
Apparently conspiracy talk show host Alex Jones has offered $5,000 to people who can get on television for shouting “Bill Clinton is a Rapist”. Yesterday, it happened in Keene during the Bill Clinton speech:
Jones’ challenge appears to be working, as the Keene Sentinel, after mentioning the two men who interrupted Clinton’s speech by repeatedly shouting the phrase, went on to discuss some of the sexual assault allegations against him. Kudos to the brave, unknown activists who smartly shouted out near the media riser, so it was easy for the cameramen covering the speech to focus on their interruption.
He voted three times against legalizing, decriminalizing, and reducing penalties for marijuana use and possession. He also voted for increased fines related to breaking alcohol consumption laws…Icing on the cake: Abbott sits on the Transportation Committee.
Thankfully, no one was hurt in the accident allegedly caused by the hypocritical prohibitionist. Clearly though, his precious “get tough” laws didn’t stop him. Interestingly, according to the filings at Keene District Court, he’s entered a not guilty plea and retained an attorney. Trial is set for 10am at Keene District Court on November 22nd. 67-year-old Abbott is out on $2,000 personal recognizance bond.
Of course, there’s no way to totally stop drunk driving, but maybe some different approaches instead of prohibitionist measures can affect the numbers and save lives? Start with eliminating zoning rules preventing neighborhood pubs or running businesses from inside a home and you’ll see fewer people driving to go drink if they can walk there instead. Plus, eliminating regulations restricting the transportation industry like taxis and ride-sharing will increase competition and bring prices down and availability up. When ride-sharing services UBER and Lyft were regulated out of Austin, TX this year, drunk driving went up.
I don’t know who is worth voting for in Cheshire District 1’s house race this November, but it’s definitely not Michael D. Abbott. Stay tuned to Free Keene for the latest on this case.
In 2014’s New Hampshire gubernatorial primary, then-incumbent Maggie Hassan refused to debate me in the Monadnock Debates, put on at Franklin Pierce University. Since I was the only democratic candidate for governor to respond, they graciously gave me ten minutes to speak before the republican debate. I figured this year would be different. I thought for sure that having a full field of non-incumbent candidates would mean there’d be an actual, full debate.
Surprise! Looks like the “big three” candidates Mark Connolly, Steve Marchand, and Colin Van Ostern refused to respond to the invitation to this year’s Monadnock Debates. The only two candidates who did respond are author Derek Dextraze and me, Ian Freeman. As a result, the debate organizers decided to not hold the democratic debate this year, like in 2014.
I spoke with Derek about the development today and he said, “I find it interesting that the two candidates that really aren’t politicians said yes to debate. While the other three candidates that WMUR says are the only three candidates on the Democratic side for governor said no or didn’t respond.”
When Derek inquired with WMUR he says they told him, “because I haven’t sent them my itinerary they did not think that I was running.” Sounds like a lame excuse to me. It’s common for NH media organizations to reach out to all ballot qualified candidates. It’s either pure laziness of these media organizations or a deliberate decision to exclude smaller campaigns, despite the face that both Derek Dextraze and Ian Freeman will be on the primary ballot on September 13th, just like the “big three”. (more…)