74% of NH Senate Votes to Decriminalize Cannabis & Governor Promises to Sign!

Cannabis

NH Senate Votes 17-6 for Decrim!

This time, it wasn’t even close. The senate of New Hampshire finally did the right thing after years of debate and failed votes. Yesterday, they voted overwhelmingly, 17-6 to decriminalize possession of up to 3/4ths of an ounce of cannabis and up to five grams of hashish! That’s 74% of the NH senate voting in favor, after nearly 90% of the state house did the same.

On the same day as the senate passing this bill, (HB 640) NH’s new governor issued a press release promising to sign the bill! (Something the last governor refused to do.)

The bill is certainly not perfect, as it still has civil fines for cannabis possession but it’s no longer an arrestable offense and is no longer going to be charged as a misdemeanor, unless the person is caught three times in three years. In that case, the fourth ticketing would be a class B misdemeanor, but the person still cannot be arrested. The first offense is fined at $100 and subsequent offenses within that three year period would be $300 each. The floor discussion today made it clear this bill was a compromise from both the law enforcement side and those who want to end prohibition.

Besides the continuing fines and the fact that law enforcement will continue to confiscate people’s weed, the worst part of the bill carves out an exemption where 18-21 year olds are treated more harshly than those 21 and up. Possession of cannabis-infused products remains a misdemeanor for those 18-21, sadly. Hopefully this will be rolled back in the future.

The bill is however a step in the right direction. That said, when will we have a state rep with the courage to put forward a total end to cannabis prohibition? New Hampshire needs to stop there and stop trying to do what other states have done and legalize with a regulatory and tax scheme. Let’s just try freedom and watch the cannabis industry boom in the Shire.

Add this great news to the 101 Reasons Lives in New Hampshire!

UPDATE: 5/12 6:20pm – possession of cannabis-infused products is still a misdemeanor for those 18-21, I misread the bill earlier when I reported wrongly that all possession for those ages is still a misdemeanor.

Here’s partial video of the senate floor hearing and vote:

Keene Democrat State Rep. Joseph Stallcop Flips to Libertarian, Making History!

In February of this year, republican state representative from Pelham, Caleb Dyer became the only sitting state rep in the United States to join the Libertarian Party. Now, just three months later, New Hampshire is making libertarian political history again as Keene democrat representing Ward One, Joseph Stallcop, today announced at a press conference at Concord’s state house, that he is also flipping to Libertarian! Here’s the full press conference video:

Not only does New Hampshire now have more sitting state reps than the other 49 states combined, but Dyer and Stallcop, both 21 years old, are forming what is likely the youngest political caucus in the history of the United States.

Now that state reps from both parties have openly defected to the libertarians, the big question is which state rep will be next? Will the courage of these two young men inspire the other libertarian reps who are still operating as republicans and democrats to “come out”? ¬†Former state reps Eric Eastman and Joe Lachance also recently revealed they have flipped from republican to join the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire.

State Representative Joseph Stallcop, for Keene's Ward One

State Representative Joseph Stallcop, of Keene’s Ward One

Rep. Stallcop joining the Libertarian Party is also historic as he is the second sitting democrat state representative to have ever done so in the 45-year history of the national party.

New Hampshire, of course, also holds the distinction of having the first-ever democrat state rep to have flipped, when prior to the 2000 election, late state representative Steve Vaillancourt joined the party as a sitting democratic state rep and then ran for re-election in 2000 as a libertarian and won! This fact contradicts those naysayers in the liberty movement who have been claiming it’s impossible for libertarians who make the flip to actually win re-election. What they are saying is impossible has already been proven possible by New Hampshire’s own political history! In addition to Vaillancourt, in the nineties New Hampshire had multiple libertarian state reps who also won re-election.

At this morning’s press conference, Stallcop gave an excellent speech that revealed the command-and-control structure in the NH democratic party, which echoed Dyer’s experience in the republican party. Thinking for one’s self when in the major parties is apparently discouraged and voting his conscience resulted in his democratic colleagues lying to and looking down on him. One was overheard saying of him, “Maybe we shouldn’t have college students doing this job.” (more…)

Liberty Lobby Week 16 Videos: Hemp, E-Cigs, & More

Liberty Lobbyist Darryl W Perry, along with me and others from the Keene area went to the state house last week to testify on more legislation. Here are the full hearing videos:

HB 151 would completely eliminate industrial hemp from the controlled substances list. Darryl W Perry, Heather Mullins, and I spoke in favor of it. This is its senate committee full public hearing:

HB 242 would tighten e-cigarette regulations. Darryl W Perry, Jay Noone, and I spoke against. This is its senate committee full public hearing: (more…)

Liberty Lobby Week 14 & 15 Videos: Jury Nullification & Voting

Liberty Lobbyist Darryl W Perry, along with me and others from the Keene area went to the state house this week and last to testify on more legislation. The hearings are slowing down for the year, so we don’t have as much to show, but here are the videos:

HB 133 would require judges to give jury nullification instructions on request of a defendant. This is its senate committee full public hearing:

SB 3 would make registering to vote more difficult for some people, like college students. Darryl W. Perry spoke against it in an exhaustive six-hour public hearing in the full state house chamber. Here’s just his testimony:

4/20: State Representatives Smoke Cannabis at NH State House with Crowd of 100+

Several longtime cannabis freedom activists at the 2017 Concord smoke-out.

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.

Representatives Dyer and Stallcop were both featured speakers and also toked up with a crowd of over 100 people while representative Aldrich took photos, as he has done for years at the rally. Also photographing the event was Granite Haze of Mind blogger Justin Campagnone – you can check out his albums here. I had the honor of video recording the event, including all the speakers. I’ll be posting each speech to the Free Keene YouTube channel, so be sure to subscribe and click the notification bell on the YouTube channel to see the videos as they are released! Meanwhile, here’s a video with some highlights of the event to tide you over:

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

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…)

Liberty Lobby Week 13 Videos: Cannabis, Drones, & More

Liberty Lobbyist Darryl W Perry and I went to the state house this week to testify on more legislation. Here are several full hearing videos from last week:

HB 640 is this year’s cannabis decriminalization bill, as passed by 89.8% of the state house. This is its senate committee full public hearing:

HB 215 would create a committee to study legalization of cannabis in New Hampshire. It passed the house and this is its senate committee full public hearing: (more…)