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…)
On this date ten years ago, two artsy Boston residents faced down a militarized police bomb disposal unit, who were accusing them of faux terrorism, and took the opportunity to shift a discourse dominated by paranoia into one revolving around hairstyles of the 1970s.
The United States was in a transitional period in the years following the September 11th attacks. The military industry, both at home and abroad, had found its justification for massive expansion through the impending fear of another devastating attack on civilians by a malicious, and presumably foreign, entity.
Following a morning of alerts, warnings, and hyperbolic reactions to glorified lite-brite displays in Boston, the media prepared to depict the first public images of the mysterious humans allegedly responsible for the panic. As the youths emerged from the courthouse with a lawyer in tow and graciously opened up a press conference, it was clear that journalists had expected different personas from the “suspects”, as one perceived a failure on their part to be, “taking this seriously”.
Former Free State Project President Carla Gericke Calls Out the Haters
In their 2016 blog expose, Granite State Progress outs dozens of alleged “Free Staters”, but as with the previous year they miss some and misidentify others. Technically, a Free Stater should be defined as someone who moved to New Hampshire as a participant in the Free State Project, but over the years the people who want to protect the status quo have turned it into a pejorative meaning anyone active at reducing government. No matter. The candidates who were named should thank GSP for the free publicity for their campaigns. They’ve effectively published a handy voter’s guide for liberty! (more…)
The world has changed since then. Recording law enforcers is now commonplace. Enforcers in a dozen more states now leave peaceful pot smokers alone. The top series on Netflix is a show about prison overpopulation. Everyone knows that the people calling themselves “the government” spy on their computers, emails, phone calls, and texts, but digital privacy is now possible for all thanks to new apps and devices with built-in encryption. Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are now beginning to come into wide use.
There’s a lot of reason to be hopeful. Now more than ever, the world is ready for you to question your obedience. Dozens have told me the movie inspired them to move to New Hampshire. That’s the most rewarding part of the experience. In the end, I was facing 9 years if convicted of all charges (none involving a victim). I was sentenced to 540 days in jail, and I ended up serving 60 for my “crime spree.”
Friends made it possible: Ian Freeman (producer), Beau Davis (editor), and the people of the Shire Society who inspire action. I hope Victimless Crime Spree inspires you to achieve more freedom, peace, happiness, and the object of your dreams.
The epic feature-length documentary was shot and edited during the end of the heaviest period for civil disobedience activism in Keene and does an excellent job capturing the spirit of the times. DJVCS has inspired countless liberty activists of all stripes to move to New Hampshire.
I organized an NHexit event in Portsmouth this Friday called “NH Independence Celebration“. People from Keene, Manchester, Nashua, and Portsmouth attended. Dave Ridley of New Hampshire’s #2 YouTube channel shot video from a safe distance across the street. Shire Dude live-streamed video while making commentary and chatting with curious passers by. One person waved a blue flag with a peace sign. Another waved a yellow “Don’t Tread on Me” flag and a sign that read, “I LOVE AMERICA, NOT D.C.” Some conducted a 3-question poll about secession from a random sampling of Portsmouth’s downtown. Music by The Beatles played from a small portable speaker. In total the event was 1 hour.
Poll respondents were asked to read 3 short statements and rate their level of agreement or disagreement with each one. 17 people participated. The results are as follows (click image to enlarge):