The gears of government everywhere turn slowly, but in New Hampshire, at least they are turning on the issue of cannabis freedom. The state passed a medical cannabis law back in 2012 (though it still needs improving and the dispensaries have yet to open). The state representatives have voted to decriminalize and even to legalize cannabis, but the efforts have been blocked in the senate in close votes.
Overall, New Hampshire is behind the ball on decriminalizing cannabis. All the surrounding states have had significant decrim on cannabis possession, in Maine’s case, since the 70s! Vermont and Massachusetts in recent years dramatically decriminalized possession of up to an ounce. In Mass’ case the penalty is down to an unenforceable fine.
Several people spoke in favor of the study committee, including state reps, Cheshire Jail superintendent Rick Van Wickler, the NHCLU’s director, medical cannabis users, and more. The criminal justice committee will vote on the bill in executive session where it will then be sent to the full house.
They dismissed jurors who admitted to seeing signs or looking at activists’ fliers. However, that wasn’t enough for the woman in the robe, Katherine Bolan Forrest. Philly liberty superactivist James Babb explains:
Evidently, despite the millions of dollars spent and incalculable power of the state, Judge Katherine Forrest feared that a few folks with pamphlets could upset their steamrolling operation. As predicted, a juror with a conscience and knowledge of their power terrifies these petty tyrants. The billboard campaign and the pamphleting op were referenced on multiple occasions. Selecting an uninformed jury became a top priority for the prosecution and their subservient judge…
Free Keene Bloggers James Cleaveland and Jay Freeville Outside the Ulbricht Trial
Basically, she decreed that if the independent volunteers didn’t stop informing jurors of their right to nullify unjust and misapplied laws, she would “annonymize” the jury, bussing them in from a secret location, blocking their contact from the outside world. Of course, the jurors won’t be told that they are being “protected” from a 100% factual pamphlet about their indisputable rights. Instead, they will thank the judge for protecting them from a dangerous crime boss. Experts have confirmed that this is a credible threat…
After careful consideration, we have decided to postpone the pamphleting operation until the hostage is recovered safely. However, the offending judge will not be forgotten. She will become accustomed to dealing with informed jurors. We will not be intimidated. We will not abandon our mission. Forrest’s grumpiness confirms what we already knew. They are scared of the truth. They fear for their house of cards.
Pamphleting at this court will resume at a later date. The kiosk ad campaign will continue. If you want to help expand it, you can participate here.
Today was jury selection day at the very-important trial of Ross Ulbricht in New York City. Free Keene bloggers were out front of the federal district court in Manhattan, trying to get the word out about the insane penalty that Ross Ulbricht is facing if he’s found guilty at trial. Ross is accused of running the Silk Road underground marketplace and is facing decades in prison for it. Ross’ mother, Lyn has stood by her son and even joined the Free State Project. She has said that Ross will come to Porcfest in 2015 if he is not imprisoned!
However, getting him out of the cage he’s been in for 15 months awaiting trial is no easy task. The prosecutors are well funded and working within a system where they are on the same side as the judge. In the insane, inhumane US court system, jurors are generally precluded from knowing the penalty faced by the accused, as it may make them more likely to nullify a bad law if they feel the penalty is too severe.
Ademo Freeman from Copblock.org holds a sign in front of the Manhattan Federal District Court
They are deathly afraid of jurors knowing about nullification. Indeed, according to Derrick J, potential jurors are being asked if they saw any signs outside the court. If so, the prosecution is dismissing them.
Several signs came from a heroic effort by Derrick J to help Free Ross that included liberty activists cranking out signage to bring for Ulbricht supporters, including:
“30 YEARS TO LIFE FOR AN HONEST WEBSITE?”
“WEB HOSTING IS NOT A CRIME. WTF?”
Jay Freeville, right, shows his support for the freedom to buy and sell.
NH liberty activists have been doing jury rights outreach for years and defendants at trial in New Hampshire have been able to raise jury nullification as a defense, but this is federal court. No cell phones are allowed in. No cameras. Not even for the media. Just pencil and paper.
Ross Ulbricht is the man accused of running the Silk Road underground market. He’s facing life in prison and his jury trial begins tomorrow morning. If Ulbricht did run the Silk Road, he’s a hero for making the black market a safer place. If he didn’t, then he’s a man wrongfully accused. Either way, he should be found not guilty by the jury.
Liberty activists from Keene including Derrick J Freeman, James Cleaveland, and Jay Freeville and activists from Manchester Andre Rosa and William Kostric are heading down to Manhattan today! They’ll be meeting up with liberty activists from as far away as Austin, Texas and will be doing everything they can to help Free Ross and bring attention to his case. Stay tuned here at Free Keene for more.