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…)
Last weekend, Manchester liberty activists gathered downtown for a protest aimed at US military intervention in Syria. While libertarians support self-defense of the individual, they also support consensual methods of paying for group defense. If someone wants to go attack people in other lands, those supporters should be the ones who pay for it. People who want peace should not be forced, through taxation, to foot the bill for violent adventurism. Hopefully, secession will help disconnect the people of New Hampshire from the depredations of the evil federal government in the future.
Marple has been charged for driving without a license and has argued that the court has no jurisdiction over him as he is not “operating a motor vehicle”, which he says is a legal term that only applies to people traveling for commercial purposes. Despite Marple filing an exhaustive legal memorandum outlining the various cases on which he bases his position, the robed woman cited her own court cases:
The New Hampshire Supreme Court has also consistently ruled that the operation of an automobile- upon a public highway is not a right, but” … only a privilege which the state may grant or withhold at pleasure …. ” State V; Sterrin, 78 N.H. 220, 222 (1916), citing Comm.v. Kingsbury, 199 Mass. 542. The Court, in State v. Sterrin, at 222, also cited State v. Corron, 73 N.H. 434, 446 (1905), which references a liquor licensee, by stating: “The statute confers a privilege which the citizen is at liberty to accept by becoming a licensee, or not, as he pleases. Having accepted the privilege, he cannot object to any conditions which have been attached thereto by a grantor with power to entirely withhold the privileges.”
Translation: “There is no right to travel safely on the roads without asking your master government’s permission first. We are in charge here and you’ll do what we say, or else.”
State Rep Dick Marple campaigns at the polls.
Spath then went on to have the trial date for Marple driving without the state permission slip set for April 18th at 12:45pm in Concord district court.
However, it doesn’t end there. Marple has since filed an 11-page “Affidavit of Truth – in Commerce – Second Demand” with the NH Secretary of State’s office and the court. In the affidavit, Marple challenges jurisdiction again, saying the court needs to show the signed “instrument” where he consents to their rule and further demands a jury trial. He says Spath’s stand on her alleged jurisdiction is an “abuse of discretion” and cites more court cases claiming that the state may not interfere in your personal business. He demands the case be dismissed with prejudice, saying that Spath’s claim that he voluntarily chose to acquire a license is false. Marple says he was under duress to contract for the license: (more…)
This past Wednesday and Thursday the New Hampshire House of Representatives failed to approve either HB1 or HB2 with their committee amendments. The failure was caused by an unexpected of coalition of Democrats and the NH House Freedom Caucus (NHHFC) in opposition. On Wednesday both the Democrats and the House Freedom Caucus brought forth amendments to make late efforts to offer alternatives to the committee amendment that was expected to fail.
The Eaton amendment was offered by the Democrats for HB1 to reinclude full day kindergarten and increase contributions to select funds. This amendment failed when the House Freedom Caucus and Republican majority voted in coalition to defeat it. The House Freedom Caucus brought the Ammon amendment which was a broad “back of the budget cut” in the amount of $200 million which would have required the office of the Governor to find $200 million to satisfy such reductions. The Ammon amendment also put back into HB1 $219 million in federal funds that had been withheld from the budget by the Finance Committee’s amendment. After the failure of each bill’s committee amendments and floor amendments House leadership moved to table each bill.
There was a meeting at 2:30pm on Wednesday between delegates from the House Freedom Caucus including Rep. John Burt (R-Goffstown), Rep. Ed Comeau (R-Brookfield), Rep. Victoria Sullivan (R-Manchester), Rep. Eric Schleien (R-Hudson), me (L-Pelham) and the House Majority leadership joined by Finance Committee Chair Neal Kurk (R-Weare). In this meeting we went over a list of major General Fund appropriations including the Municipal Aid provision, the Community College System provision, and the Department of Safety appropriations which were to be targeted for reductions. Leadership expressed concern that federal matching funds may be lost as a result of reductions to these funds.
The delegates from the House Freedom Caucus asserted that the position of the caucus was that they would vote for a budget with no more that a 3.0% increase over the last biennium. Despite this the delegates also asked the leadership if there was some percentage increase where the two camps could “meet in the middle” as Finance chair Kurk had previously indicated that he could, in fact, find cuts that could bring the increase down from 10.5% (in the General Fund) to 4.5% over last biennium. This proposal had been mentioned to the House Freedom Caucus in convention by delegate John Burt and caucus leader J.R. Hoell (R-Dunbarton). The House Majority leadership did not appear to be able to pre-emptively agree to a 4.5% above budget without seeing the specific cuts included in the final amendment. (more…)
As reported over at Photography is Not a Crime today, a veteran of the US Marines, Billy Spaulding, recently attempted to pay a parking fine in pennies at Manchester city hall. Initially, police responded and lied to Billy’s cameraman, claiming he wasn’t allowed to record them without informing them. The cop claims, “You have to advise us that you’re recording us. You can’t record audio.” The reality is that recent New Hampshire court precedent says otherwise – not only can you record police in New Hampshire, but you can secretly record them. Unfortunately the videographer appears to have shut off the camera as a result of the cop’s lies. Based on the comments on the youtube video, he now knows better.
After taking some time to reflect on this current issue, as Sheriff, I’ve decided that the Cheshire County Sheriff’s Office will not seek to enter into an agreement with the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) to enforce federal immigrations laws. Furthermore, we will not participate in raids, stings or operations that are solely intended at locating an undocumented person or persons. Any representative of ICE requesting our assistance must have an active criminal warrant issued by a judge or must be actively pursuing a criminal investigation that relates to public safety for us to participate.
According to the Sentinel’s report on Rivera’s announcement Keene Police’s acting chief, Steve Russo has yet to comment on the issue, but his late predecessor Brian Costa‘s position was similar to Rivera’s, saying, “We have no interest going forward, nor do we have the resources for deputizing our officers as part of ICE to go out and seek illegal or undocumented immigrants…We govern ourselves by our mission statement”, which says KPD is “to protect life and property and to maintain order within the City while assuring fair and respectful treatment of everyone.”
It sounds like Sheriff Rivera is on the same page as Costa. In his excellent statement, Rivera continues:
In addition, we will not ask a person their immigration status or detain a person based on an administrative civil detainer that is not issued by a judge. As Sheriff, I do not want undocumented immigrants to fear the Sheriff’s Office, instead I want them to be able to approach and speak to any of my deputies without the fear that they will be turned over to ICE. If in the course of our duties we happen to come across an undocumented person we will handle each encounter in a way we deem appropriate for each situation…
If you are an undocumented person in Cheshire County and feel uncertain about approaching law enforcement for fear they will turned you over to ICE, feel free to call me, Sheriff Eli Rivera, at the Cheshire County Sheriff’s Office.
According to the WMUR report on Rivera’s policy, some control-freak politicians are butthurt over this. Good. Unlike those cowardly politicians, kudos to Rivera for having the courage to do the right thing and truly protect the people of Cheshire county from the evil hands of the federal government. It would be better of course if Rivera would also stop cooperating with the feds on other victimless crime enforcement, like the insane War on Drugs, but this is a BIG step in the right direction.
I’m glad to live in a place where law enforcement acts more human, more often, than anywhere else I’ve ever been. You’ve got Rick Van Wickler, Cheshire County’s jail superintendent who is also a longtime speaker at Law Enforcement Action Partnership, a compassionate group of mostly former police which you may remember as being previously called, “Law Enforcement Against Prohibition” until they expanded their mission to include other issues where police reform is badly needed, Van Wickler has been a constant presence in Concord at state house hearings about drug legalization, speaking strongly in favor of any efforts to end prohibition in New Hampshire. He also runs his jail much more compassionately than the supermajority of the others in the United States. Add to that, a relatively calm and approachable group of Keene police, and now this excellent news from Sheriff Rivera.
Thank you, Eli. You’ve earned my vote in the next election. The land known as Cheshire county in the Shire should be a sanctuary for all peaceful people. Your immigration policy helps us get closer to that ideal. Next step, NH seceding from the United States! Viva New Hampshire!