Jury Nullification Cited as Reason Not to Charge State Rep for Buying Cannabis

Rick Naya, NH Hempfest Organizer and Joe Lachance

Rick Naya, NH Hempfest Organizer and State Rep Joe Lachance

The Attorney General’s office in New Hampshire has released a report regarding their investigation of claims that former state representative Kyle Tasker had sold cannabis at the NH state house in Concord, to other state representatives. Several liberty-oriented state reps including Amanda Bouldin, Joe Lachance, Pam Tucker, Ted Wright, and the late Shem Kellogg were all investigated by the AG’s office but none will be charged.

The report details the investigations of each state rep and though they believed they had a case for “dry conspiracy” charges against both former-cop-turned-LEAP speaker Lachance and Tasker, they used their discretion and decided not to charge them. The report specifically cites jury nullification when giving their explanation as to why they aren’t charging Lachance – that’s great news for activists who’ve been doing jury nullification outreach here in the Shire for years.

Jury nullification is the long-held right of jurors to vote their conscience, regardless of what the law says and the facts in the case are. Though Lachance clearly broke the law, each juror has the right to acquit simply because they believe the law is bad. It’s a powerful right and courts around the country as well as the federal courts will do everything they can to keep jurors from knowing about it. However, here in New Hampshire is established court precedent that not only can jury nullification information be given to jurors outside the court, but even defendants and attorneys can explain nullification during trial!

NH Jury Logo

NH Jury Rights

The NH attorney general doesn’t like jury nullification, as it’s a threat to their power. They appear however to have realized that the changing political tides regarding cannabis legalization plus jurors’ awareness of nullification would likely mean they were wasting their time prosecuting Lachance. They also say in the report that a jury would likely reject “dry conspiracy” charges for Tasker as well (who is facing various felonies for other victimless crimes) and say his other charges will suffice to, “hold him accountable for his drug crimes”. Of course, there are no victims in those “drug crimes” which include possession and sale of cannabis, MDMA, and mushrooms and so Tasker should also not be charged with them, and neither should anyone else.

That’s really the question here – if the NH AG acknowledges that cannabis charges are likely to not pass a jury due to nullification, then why don’t they treat every person caught with cannabis the same way they did the state reps? The reason is they know most people will quietly take a plea deal and further, if they don’t take the deal, they can drop the charge to a class B misdemeanor which means the defendant can’t get a jury trial, virtually guaranteeing a guilty verdict and hundreds of dollars (per victim) flowing to the state’s coffers. Cannabis prohibition means big money for the state gang, so they’ll keep charging the little people until the law is changed. Hopefully that will happen in 2017 if the new governor doesn’t stand in the way, whoever it ends up being.

New Hampshire’s Amazing, Unmatched Bitcoin Community

Manchester, NH Bitcoin Meetup

Manchester, NH Bitcoin Meetup

It’s not a coincidence that New Hampshire has arguably the highest concentration of bitcoin and crypto-friendly people anywhere. For more than a decade there have been active migrations of libertarian, voluntarist, and liberty anarchists moving to New Hampshire. Many of these movers are activists who are into alternative currencies and the bitcoin community here has exploded as a result.

The oldest migration of libertarians to New Hampshire is the Free State Project, which as of September 2016 boasts nearly 2,000 participants already in New Hampshire, with 18,000 more pledged to move by the year 2021. There’s also the more decentralized Shire Society which has been encouraging liberty-loving people to declare their personal independence and move to “The Shire” since 2010.

These early movers are not only users of bitcoin, but are also some of the key developers and creators of the bitcoin world. Liberty migrants to New Hampshire created the iconic, most-installed-in-the-world Lamassu bitcoin vending machine in Manchester. Some are developing the evolutionary “Open Bazaar” and “LBRY” software. Decentralized ride-sharing app “Arcade City” has also sprung up just this year, and within a week of it being announced, signed up 1000 drivers worldwide. Arcade City founder and liberty migrant Christopher David said, “With its libertarian leanings and an influx of free staters, New Hampshire is perfectly positioned to become a major hub for bitcoin and blockchain startups. That’s a big reason why I moved here.”

Cheshire Fair 2015

Bitcoin Outreach Booth at the Cheshire Fair

Here are some more fun facts about the burgeoning bitcoin scene in the Shire: Manchester is home to the world’s longest-running weekly bitcoin meetup, plus regular meetups are being held in Keene and the Seacoast. According to Overstock.com, the highest concentration of their bitcoin orders comes from New Hampshire. Plus, you can actually use bitcoin in real life here, at mom-n-pop businesses like “Corner News”, “Local Burger”, and multiple food trucks in Keene, plus “Pizza 911”, “Dancing Lion Chocolate”, and more in Manchester. It turns out that Keene, the Southwestern NH city of 23,000 people, even outdoes San Francisco in amount of bitcoin-accepting business per capita! Take a look at CoinMap.org to see the dozens of New Hampshire businesses that are taking crypto!

New Hampshire also boasts New England’s only public Bitcoin Vending Machines (BVM), connecting people with bitcoin from as far away as New York and Boston. (more…)

Facebook Discriminates Against, Censors Women

Iimage was eating dinner with my boyfriend in our kitchen watching a Facebook live stream debate about guns on campus at the University of Texas when suddenly the video stopped. A pop up said something like, “Session expired.”

Someone reported a photo of me my friends at the beach as nudity, and Facebook responded by restricting my ability to communicate with you on their platform in two ways. I can not post on my wall or respond to messages using Messenger for the next 3 days.

I feel sad that I can’t use Facebook. It is the primary way I communicate with the world. Especially the Messenger app. An acquaintance I met at a conference asked me a question, and I am not able to respond. I am not even able to explain why I can’t respond. That is embarrassing and frustrating. I want to maintain a good reputation with this new friend, but I can’t respond to him, and he doesn’t know that I can’t. Fortunately I have been using Signal, Telegram, and other messaging apps, so I am still largely able to communicate. (more…)

New Hampshire Ranks Most Free State in 2016 Rankings by Cato Institute

NH is #1 Most Free State

NH #1 Most Free State – 2016

According to the just-released 2016 edition of the “Freedom in the 50 States” study by the Cato Institute, New Hampshire is again at number one most free! Alaska is nipping at NH’s heels, but with thousands of libertarian activists slated to arrive here in the next several years, we’ll hopefully continue to solidify our lead.

At the bottom of the charts, number fifty is New York, which is a long distance below number forty-nine, California. Where did your state rank? You can check out the interactive map or dig into the well-researched nearly 300 page study on their site.

With all the freedoms we have in NH, no wonder so many people who love freedom are moving here. Not only is there the most successful libertarian migration in the world happening here, but before that started there were already over 101 Reasons Liberty Lives in New Hampshire. Originally a persuasive text list, in recent years it was made into an excellent hour-long documentary which you can watch for free.

If you are a libertarian or voluntarist and don’t yet have plans to move here to New Hampshire, why are you waiting? Thanks to migrations like the Shire Society and Free State Project, there are thousands of liberty-minded people who’ve already moved here in the last decade and thousands more pledged to come.

Concentration of libertarian activists into a small, low-population state like New Hampshire makes all the difference in the world for accomplishing our goal of liberty in our lifetime. If you’re tired of the continued failures of the libertarian movement, get to New Hampshire ASAP.

For more on the study, we dug in deep on last night’s Free Talk Live:

Video of Jim Babb’s Epic Rant on Porcfest’s Schism

A few months ago, after more than a decade of promoting the Free State Project on my radio program Free Talk Live, I was unceremoniously kicked to the curb by a unanimous decision of the board of directors. They also decided to prohibit my show from broadcasting live from the Porcupine Freedom Festival (Porcfest), their yearly camping gathering.

I never asked anyone to boycott the event, but they did anyway. Many Porcfest regulars were not in attendance this year, which apparently was exactly what some of the NBC crowd were hoping for. “NBC” are the group of squares that formed years ago – they gathered at Porcfest and all bought identical t-shirts that said “Normal By Comparison”. The following year they had new shirts that said “Not Batshit Crazy”. The shirts were their way of attacking those wacky civil disobedience and outside-the-system activists in Keene as well as the libertines and hedonists who had been attending Porcfest.

Every year the “NBC” people would complain about something they didn’t like about Porcfest, like women being topless, open cannabis use, and parties at night. Ultimately, they got what they wanted, according to those who attended this year. (Here’s a video and an article by two longtime attendees.) Many longtime attendees said Porcfest 2016 was smaller, targeted to square families, and did not have the same vibe as previous years.

It’s not the first schism that has affected the NH liberty community – there have been a bunch over the last decade. The Porcfest schism however was one of the most publicized as it involved the FSP and their biggest recruiter, my radio show. For newer movers and people taking an interest in the FSP, it’s their first schism, so the first one can be the most shocking. Given that the beloved Porcfest was involved, it felt like a big deal to a lot of people, many of whom attended the event anyway.

One of those folks was longtime Porcfest attendee and Philadelphia superactivist Jim Babb who took to the stage during “Soapbox Idol” and went on a fantastic rant that indicted the FSP board and defended me. Thank you for the kind words, Jim and thanks also to the supporters in the audience and to the person who recorded it:

The fun has just begun here in New Hampshire, and regardless what decisions the FSP’s board makes, they have zero impact on the activism that liberty-minded people are doing here. You don’t need to join the FSP to move here and be with the largest community of libertarians and voluntarists on earth. If you want join something, sign the Shire Society declaration. The Shire Society is a liberty migration to NH that has no board of directors, no centralized power, and no membership rolls. You just sign the declaration and start planning your move to the Shire.

Also, if you’re looking for a good camping party this Summer, try NH Hempfest! It’s happening at Rogers Campground August 25th-28th. Free Talk Live will be broadcasting live! Rumors abound about another liberty camping festival being formed to cater to those who feel excluded by the FSP. If it actually materializes, you’ll see the news here on Free Keene, so stay tuned!

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