The political wins for libertarians in NH just keep coming! Home poker games will become legal in New Hampshire on September 16th! Last week, the new governor, Chris Sununu, signed HB 164 which makes legal:
A poker game held in a private residence so long as the house takes no compensation from the prize pool, no admission fee or seat fee is charged, no one receives any money or anything of value for conducting the game, for allowing the use of his or her residence for the game, or for any other reason except his or her own winnings as a player, the game’s odds do not favor a “house” or any player, there is no house bank, the game is limited to no more than 10 players, and the game is not advertised to the public.
This isn’t the best decrim bill possible, but it’s a big step in the right direction for the Live Free or Die state. Police have sixty days before the bill goes into effect to arrest as many users as possible, because after sixty days, they’re only allowed to ticket for cannabis possession. HB 640 eliminates criminal penalties for the possession of up to 3/4 of an ounce of cannabis and/or up to five grams of hashish for those age 18 or older. Under the new law, first time offenders will receive a civil violation punishable by a $100 fine. Unfortunately, if the person is caught three times in three years, then the fourth ticketing would be a class B misdemeanor, but the person still cannot be arrested. The first offense is fined at $100, but subsequent offenses within that three year period would be $300 each.
New Hampshire Loves Bitcoin and Cannabis!
Hopefully, after a year of this decrim, the state reps and senators will see that the world in NH has not turned into a satanic hellscape, and we’ll see further decriminalization in the future, right down to the total elimination of all penalties for possession, growing, or sale of any amount of cannabis. Ideally, New Hampshire, if it were truly a free place, would have no regulatory or taxation structure around the cannabis plant at all. If that miraculously happened, the cannabis industry would explode in the Shire and we’d all be better off for it.
If you like that vision and you’re a libertarian, voluntarist, or liberty-loving anarchist, we need you here to help make NH the best state for cannabis freedom. Sure, other states have legalization, but there’s an insane amount of regulation and tax around the industry. What if NH could be the one state without that legal garbage? It could happen if you were here to help. We need more people to move here and join the most successful freedom migration in the world. Here are 101 reasons why you should.
Free Keene Founder Ian Freeman Interviewed by The Jail Paper Keene
New courtroom video/photo blog The Jail Paper Keene has been reporting from Keene’s district and superior courts recently, covering various criminal cases. This week, The Jail Paper Keene posted some of my mugshots and asked for comments on whether I am a hero or villain. Since I’ve been a longtime, publicly visible activist who has done a bunch over the decade plus I’ve been here in Keene, naturally some of the haters came around to post their uninformed vitriol.
I did my best to correct their misinformation and was amazed as some haters also attacked the Jail Paper Keene for even posting my photo to their page, accusing the page of being run by me or one of my supposed “puppets”. Their paranoia knows no bounds.
Large Group Copblocks DUI Checkpoint in Manchester, NH
As one of the original copblockers (badge #5), I’ve been in the streets a lot over the years. I’ve helped save people from harassment by the police on countless occasions, informed thousands of young people about their rights, and have been arrested several times.
There’s no doubt that a couple of dedicated copblockers can make an impact out there. I’ve seen that happen. However, have you ever hit the streets with a dozen people on your side?
I’d bet you haven’t. We just don’t have enough people in most places to accomplish numbers like that. Police accountability activism in the streets is a risky place to be, so its hard to find people who are willing to go out, even among vocal supporters.
I have had the pleasure of being out with large groups and let me tell you, it’s a game changer, especially in New Hampshire, where there aren’t a whole lot of police in most towns. Even in its biggest city of over 100,000 people, Manchester, the police DUI checkpoints have basically been shut down by groups of up to a few dozen people. The DUI checkpoint activists come out every time the police do a checkpoint and the activists bring reflective signs, cameras, two-way radios, and set up at strategic locations to alert drivers to the existence of the checkpoint and encourage them to turn away. At a recent such event, there was a relatively small turnout of only about a dozen people and they reported 90% success at getting cars who were going to turn into the checkpoint road to turn away from it instead! There was one arrest at the event, as a couple visiting Keene copblockers ventured away from the group to target the checkpoint directly with their cameras. Activist Christopher Waid was threatened and arrested as he crossed the street into the median. You can check out video of that here. What would have happened if there were a dozen people backing Chris up instead of just one? (more…)
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.
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.
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.
State Representative Dick Marple again faced down Concord district court judge Kristin M Spath in their final round recently – his trial. At previous hearings and the trial, Marple has wowed observers by shouting at the judge and getting away with it as well as using long-talked-about court theories like refusing to cross the bar. (You can see his other hearings here and here.) He’s challenged jurisdiction from the beginning, and despite Spath’s ruling that she has jurisdiction, Marple still refused to participate in the trial they held for him on April 18th.
Instead he verbally sparred with Spath again for nearly 20 minutes before she proceeded with the show trial. Marple continued to refuse her invitation to cross the bar and sat in the audience through the state’s lone witness against him. Spath ended up taking the matter under advisement after the close of the state prosecutor’s case and later issued her ruling via a mailed order.
In the order, she found Marple not guilty of the misdemeanor “prohibitions” charge regarding his driver’s license, as the state neglected to present any actual evidence, but found him guilty of “driving after suspension”, sentencing him to $310 in fines, all suspended for six months on condition of Marple not getting any further moving motor vehicle violations in that timeframe.
Trial watchers had expected this light punishment for the 85-year-old state representative, who was able to get away with talking to a robed-person in a way that trial observers have ever seen. Most people who tried Marple’s approach would probably be arrested for “contempt of court” and thrown in jail. Was he able to talk back to the judge because Marple is a state rep? Perhaps because he’s elderly? Both?
Regardless, the big question now is whether or not he’ll appeal to the NH Supreme Court. Stay tuned here to Free Keene for any further developments!