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.
Just a few weeks after his last appearance in Concord district court, state representative Dick Marple returned Friday afternoon for a nearly 40-minute hearing where he explains his views on why the court does not have jurisdiction over him, among other things.
Marple was arrested as he was campaigning for re-election at the polls in Hooksett, on a “failure to appear” charge relating to a charge for driving while his license is suspended. Marple believes he is not subject to the motor vehicle regulations, as they only apply to automobiles used for commercial purposes. He has citations to back his case (click for PDF of his legal brief filed with the court), but so does the state’s prosecutor.
It’s one of the most interesting cases in recent memory because for a long time we’ve heard all manner of similar claims to what Marple is saying, but virtually none of the courtroom theorists like him have any evidence they’ve actually tried their theories. (Longtime readers of Free Keene may recall I was arrested in Keene district court for “contempt” a decade ago for trying some unusual legal theories out.) At his last appearance, in front of a full courtroom of average court victims, Marple got away with things for which most people would be arrested for “contempt”. Friday, he once again refused to cross the bar, and raised his voice with judge M. Kristin Spath multiple times. However, this time the court scheduled the hearing for 3pm on a Friday when no one else would be around to see it. Thankfully, liberty activists had been given a heads-up the night before, so a small crew headed up from Keene to witness and record the hearing:
David Jurist moved to Keene from Arkansas back in September and a month later was already in handcuffs in Hillsborough, NH for the dastardly crime of driving safely without a government permission slip. After receiving personal recognizance bail, he was released and other Keene activists made the trip to Hillsborough to pick him and his car up.
David is a freedom to travel activist and has studied many unusual courtroom approaches. For years I’ve encouraged people who want to try unique approaches to court cases to move to the Keene area so we can document them on video. (Many states do not allow recording in court, so it’s impossible for the court theorists to prove their techniques actually work.) So, I was excited to see him question the judge Edward B. Tenney during his arraignment this week at Hillsborough District Court.
Major news from the bitcoin-in-real-life hotspot of the world, Keene, New Hampshire! Now, you can get your car repaired with bitcoin at the award-winning, ASE-certified Wilder Automotive at 384 Washington Stree in Keene. Winner of the Keene Sentinel “Reader’s Choice Award” for Best Local Mechanic of 2015, owner Steven Wilder learned he had multiple customers who were asking about bitcoin. As he looked into it further, he discovered that accepting bitcoin may also get him new business through the door, as the owner of Keene-based Linux computer internet retailer Think Penguin, has said he needs some car repair done and would prefer to give his business to a bitcoin-accepting mechanic.
As stated in the radio ads that Shire BTC has been running on the Peak 101.9, Bitcoin is an international currency, but feels hyper-local. We’ve seen multiple examples of local bitcoin-accepting businesses patronizing each other. Not only do business owners get to keep more from each sale than they do from credit card transactions, but that also means more money staying here in the Keene-area economy, rather than going to megacorporate credit card companies!
Pizza doesn’t get fresher than Little Zoe’s, now available for bitcoin!
Wilder Automotive accepting bitcoin is a major level up for Keene, which until now had several smaller-ticket brick-and-mortar businesses onboard the Keene Bitcoin Network, like Main Street hair salon Moda Suo, gift shop Route 101 Local Goods, and Vietnamese food truck Bon Vivant. The announcment may attract excited bitcoiners from around the region to get their cars and trucks repaired with BTC.
Another established, award-winning Keene business that is now accepting bitcoin at their point-of-sale is Little Zoe’s Take and Bake Pizza, located in the Center at Keene on Gilbo Ave. Originally established several years ago, the unique pizzeria makes each pizza fresh and then you take the pizza home and cook it in your oven! Their delicious pizza is available with a staggering amount of topping configurations and won NH Magazine’s “Best of NH” award for 2013. (more…)
I moved to New Hampshire a year ago today. I hated Louisiana and I wanted to be around anarchists. I can’t and I won’t tell you to move to New Hampshire, because ‘I don’t know you; I don’t know your life.’ But I will tell you that moving to New Hampshire is the best decision I ever made, and that it has done the following things for me:
There are anarchists everywhere.
By no means is a majority of the population anarchist, and people who come here (or anywhere for that matter) expecting an anarchist utopia are very silly. Before I visited New Hampshire I had met two anarchists, and both of them were only there for school. The overwhelming majority of people I had ever met were either socialist or completely fascist. After awhile, hanging out with people who want to kill, rob, and cage you gets intolerable, and only having human contact online just isn’t the same. As far as I’ve been able to tell, New Hampshire has the highest number of anarchists anywhere on earth. Anytime I want to I can be around anarchists because there are people here who do not want to kill, rob, or cage me.