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…)
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The livestream will be from 3:00 to 4:20pm EST.
Activists gather at the statehouse in Concord, New Hampshire. They convene annually to protest cannabis prohibition. This year’s rally is the first to be hosted by the 420 Foundation‘s new Executive Director, Shire Dude. Hey, that’s me!
After the 420 rally, check the livestream again, at about 10:00pm. The Manchester Police Department has announced a checkpoint. If there is one, I intend to broadcast the response from Manchester activists.
Amazingly, he’s already been offered a one year prison term plea deal, despite the fact that the grand jury has yet to even return an indictment! Now, it’s highly likely that they will hand down an indictment, but regardless – it’s pretty clear that the prosecution doesn’t want to have to take this to trial. While Ademo had said previously he’d accept a plea of six months (he’s already done one awaiting trial), it doesn’t sound like he’s willing to take the year deal without having seen discovery or even the indictment. Otherwise, he’s doing alright in the jail. You can listen to the full interview here – the link jumps you straight to that part of our Saturday show.
Ademo would love to hear from you. Here’s the address at which you can send him mail. Sorry, the backwards-ass jail in Warren County won’t let you send him books.
Warren County Jail
C/O Adam Mueller – 61437
P.O. Box 309
Lebanon, Ohio 45036
Will New Hampshire become a haven for bitcoin and cannabis?
Today was a historic day in the New Hampshire state house. Two very important bills were passed and if they make it through the senate and governor will ensure that New Hampshire is the best place to be a bitcoiner as well as decriminalize cannabis.
In 2015, a bill (HB 666) was passed that spooked many in the international bitcoin community as it added cryptocurrency to the “money transmitter” statutes. This caused at least one bitcoin business to cease doing business with customers in New Hampshire and quite a bit of buzz about New Hampshire losing its vaunted crytpo-friendly status. How did this happen in a state with the largest concentration of bitcoin enthusiasts per capita? Honestly, we were caught off-guard, but now that’s all changed. In 2016 a state house committee to study cryptocurrency was formed, whose meetings I attended and video recorded.
After hearing from multiple NH bitcoiners in the committee meetings, state representative Barbara Biggie stepped up and filed a bill, HB 436, that proposed to repeal NH’s lone statute regulating cryptocurrencies. Here’s video from the public hearing on HB 436. As Darryl and I pointed out at the hearing, the bill as filed wasn’t quite what we’d hoped for. It created a new definition and exemption for “virtual currency” in the statutes, but still left in statutes a definition and regulation for “convertible virtual currency”. We explained to them that this was confusing and they should be striking the regulation for “convertible virtual currency” rather than creating the additional terminology.
You know what? They listened AND did us one better! The commerce committee amended the bill and turned it into the best possible protection for bitcoin businesses in New Hampshire! The amended bill completely exempts from the money transmitter statutes:
Persons who engage in the business of selling or issuing payment instruments or stored value solely in the form of convertible virtual currency; or receive convertible virtual currency for transmission to another location.
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I don’t think anyone expected the language to be that good, but there it is. This is essentially the opposite of what New York did with it’s business-killing “bitlicense” regulations. Today, the full New Hampshire house of representatives passed HB 436 by a vote of 185-170!
In other exciting state house news, the state house outdid their previous record of 81% voting for cannabis decriminalization, which was set in 2015. This time, 89.8% of the state house members that voted today (318-36), voted for HB 640 which would decriminalize possession of up to an ounce of cannabis, up to five grams of hashish, and cannabis-infused products. If this bill makes it through the senate and governor (who allegedly is friendly to decrim), then people over 21 years of age who are caught with these products will only face a violation instead of a misdemeanor, as they do today.
Last week I had the opportunity to share a bit of my journey with folks at Anarchapulco. I subsumed my stories — from a racist phase, to a nationalist phase, to one more aligned with complete liberty — within the integral nature that ideas have in shaping our perception of the world and thus, our actions. And I underscored the role that language plays in communication, and the fact that individuals can change.
Liberty Lobbyist Darryl W Perry and I went to the state house this week to testify on more legislation. However it was another short week and this time I only have one full length hearing video to share, but it’s a good one: Cannabis Legalization! The NH senate judiciary committee heard SB 233 to legalize up to an ounce of cannabis and five grams of hashish. I spoke in favor, with some reservations. Here’s the full hearing video:
Will the tide change this year for cannabis? Stay tuned here to Free Keene for the latest!