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.
101 Reasons Why Liberty-Lovers Like YOU Should Move Here Now!
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.
I had the pleasure of being invited to the third-annual Anarchapulco! It’s a convention that takes place in Acapulco, Mexico and features hundreds of liberty-loving anarchists, voluntarists, and libertarians gathered at the beautiful Mundo Imperial Resort and Expo to discuss all kinds of interesting subjects.
The event was excellent. Besides broadcasting my talk radio show, Free Talk Live from the event for four nights from 2/25-2/28, they also gave me the chance to speak at the event on whatever topic I wanted.
My speech was called, “Why You Should Move to New Hampshire ASAP” and I went over several major reasons why New Hampshire has more liberty-loving people and activists per capita than any other place on earth. I spoke for about a half hour and then took questions from the audience. Here’s a full video of it, which sadly only has room audio. It’s echoy but you can still make out what’s being said. If you think you can handle it, here it is:
Bitcoin fans around the world are celebrating as the price of bitcoin hit a new all time high as of around 10:13pm Eastern time tonight. The price has continued to travel up from there. At the time of this article’s writing, the BitcoinAverage price is over $1,200 US Dollars!
Bitcoin’s previous highest price was all the way back in 2013 on November 29th when according to BitcoinAverage.com, the price peaked at $1,183.59. It then slowly dropped over a year all the way down near $250 and has been going up since, with 2016 being a huge year for bitcoin’s growth. Will the price continue to rise overnight with the Chinese bitcoin traders getting heavily into their day? It’s exciting to watch, now that the previous high that was undefeated for over three years has been vanquished. Onward and upward, bitcoin!
My optimistic message of migrating to NH with the highest concentration of liberty activists in the world stood in stark contrast to the other guests’ opinions. The others were all spread out in other places with no real hope for liberty in their lifetimes. Their positions were understandably critical of getting involved in the system (they don’t know that the system can actually be changed here in NH). Some panelists supported just trying to run away from the state or improve one’s own individual wealth and happiness where they are. (more…)
More than three years after the City of Keene filed suit against Keene’s “Robin Hooders” (the activists who’ve saved motorists from thousands of parking tickets by feeding expired meters), the case has finally come to a close – at least within the New Hampshire court system. In a short four-page order issued just before Christmas, the NH supreme court affirms the Cheshire superior court’s decision to deny the city’s request for an unconstitutional injunction they’ve been begging for since 2013:
taking into consideration the governmental interest that would be served, the trial court weighed the benefits of the requested relief against the effect that relief would have on the respondents’ constitutionally protected speech, and, based upon the factual record before it, exercised its equitable discretion to deny the proposed injunction.
We won! (Again!) Presuming the city gang does not decide to continue lavishing taxpayer dollars on their expensive private attorneys to take the case to federal court, it should end here. We’ve yet to see the total cost of the several court appearances the city has made, but then-city-manager John MacLean admitted in 2013 that the first round (of four) cost about $20,000. Their private attorneys billed them so much, that on this final round at the supreme court they were claiming to have taken the case “pro bono”. Another way to say that is that the city paid tens-of-thousands for the first three rounds in court and got the fourth free.
James Cleaveland, Attorney Jon Meyer, Ian Freeman
All the while free speech attorney Jon Meyer of Manchester truly did take the Robin Hooders’ case pro-bono, the entire time. His talent is legendary and he not only brilliantly defended the peaceful activists but proved without a doubt that the city’s parking enforcers were dishonest and ridiculous. There was never any evidence presented that the accused Robin Hooders had “threatened, intimidated, or harassed” the city employees. As if to prove how ridiculous their claims were, parking enforcer Jane desperately stated that anything Garret said, even talking to her about the weather, she considered to be “taunting”. It was laughable but also very serious – the city gang was lying to try to get the judge to order us to stay 50 feet away from the enforcers. (more…)
Tuesday morning the saga of UBER Grandma came to a close at Portsmouth district court. Stephanie Franz’ trial was scheduled for seven tickets she’s received since October of 2015 for the horrible crime of driving people places without a government permission slip. Rather than thank her for providing the service of getting drunk people home alive (and stopping them from driving themselves home drunk), the “City of Portsmouth” gang decided to ticket her seven times for a total of $6,500! $500 for the first ticket, $1000 each for the rest.
The city’s argument for threatening the sweet grandmother and other UBER drivers with such ridiculous fines was the claim that more stringent background checks than what UBER provides are necessary to keep passengers safe. However, this argument is obvious garbage, as the city only regulates drivers who charge for their services. If a convicted murderer were to offer rides for free, the regulations wouldn’t apply. Portsmouth’s anti-ride-sharing regulations, passed in Summer of 2015, were created to protect the existing taxi oligopoly. That’s what regulations are really for – not to protect consumers as the government claims, but to protect the established businesses from innovative competition.
Despite the constant attacks by both the police and the cabbies, UBER Grandma was not deterred. She kept driving in civil disobedience to the city’s protectionist ordinances, knowing she had harmed no one, and in fact had helped many people get home safely. She’s a hero for continuing to stand up for her right to do business without asking for permission! (more…)