Gov. Maggie Hassan has said she does not support a bill that would decriminalize possession of one-half ounce or less of marijuana. This is becoming a source of consternation for Granite Staters of all ages and across the political spectrum, and it is especially confusing to younger voters who see our current marijuana penalties as senseless and archaic.
HB 618, which would reduce this penalty from a misdemeanor to a violation, passed the House in March. The vote was an overwhelming 297-67, with 96 percent of House Democrats and 72 percent of House Republicans voting in favor. Unfortunately, since Gov. Hassan has not taken a favorable position on the bill, it faces an uncertain fate in the Senate.
This bill would not make marijuana legal, as voters in four states and the District of Columbia have chosen to do. Instead, what we’re talking about here is a much more limited reform, one that would put New Hampshire’s marijuana penalties more nearly into line with the penalties found in other New England states. It would also be consistent with public opinion and with the New Hampshire Constitution, which advises that “all penalties ought to be proportioned to the nature of the offense.”
When I was running for the Republican nomination for governor in 2014, I came out strongly in favor of decriminalizing marijuana possession. I did so with the expectation that I would receive pushback from some in my party who had been supporting the War on Marijuana their entire lives. (more…)
I will write up some future posts about this incident (was awaiting outcome before writing anything) but there are a few things I would like to get out immediately:
1) The “substance” found was not Klonopin. I’m still baffled why the sheriff department was telling the people who were calling on my behalf that it was Klonopin when the officers involved in the search identified the substance during the actual search. The substance is a medicine for which I have a prescription to treat a condition I have.
2) I really appreciate all the assistance I received from the “liberty” community at large especially Virginia copblockers and Keene activists (I’ll write up a post about this later).
3) New Hampshire is honestly the “best” state in my opinion in terms of freedom (post to follow).
4) My real “sin” in my opinion was not consenting to a search of the vehicle.
This afternoon the hypocrite governor of New Hampshire spoke at Keene State College’s 2015 graduation ceremony. Maggie Hassan, the boss of the state’s executive branch, is likely to veto the cannabis decrim bill if it makes it through the NH senate. It already passed the NH house with a supermajority of votes. It’s clear that decriminalization is what the people of New Hampshire want (it’s also the humane choice), but Hassan throws her loyalty into the camp of the police and cares not one bit about the lives that continue to be ruined because of her inhumane war on pot.
Oh, and to make her position even more outrageous, it turns out she herself has used cannabis in her college days. That raging hypocrisy didn’t stop her from showing up at Keene State College and acting like she actually gives a damn about the very same students that her police regularly threaten and harass over victimless crimes like cannabis and alcohol possession. Rich Paul and I went down to KSC today to confront her on these things and were accompanied by local education activist Ed Bryans who was upset with Hassan’s veto of the anti-common core bill. We found her at the end of the commencement and had plenty of time to give her a hard time while she was unable to leave, much to the dismay of a few of her sycophants. Here’s the video:
It’s not too late for cannabis decrim to pass, but Hassan and the NH senators need to hear from you. Please reach out to your senator here and ask them to support HB618, the cannabis decriminalization bill. Then please call Hassan’s office and encourage her to do the right thing and let decrim pass.
In a move that shows the true nature of the state and regulations, the Manchester aldermen voted 10-3 recently to require UBER to obey their “Vehicles for Hire” ordinance which requires background checks, drug testing, and other bureaucratic nonsense. The lie of regulations is that they exist supposedly to protect you, the consumer. However, they actually just protect the established businesses in the given field. In this case, the old-guard cab companies are being protected from the innovative upstart. Regulations keep poor people poor, by making it near-impossible for them to go into business for themselves.
Despite the now possible threat of Manchester police targeting UBER drivers, heroically, UBER has announced they will continue to operate within Manchester and will likely give legal assistance to any drivers the city gang cites for violating the gang’s precious “code” (“Vehicles for Hire” is section 118). It looks like UBER is ready to go to court over this, as has been their tradition in other cities.
Of course, a free place to live would allow anyone to contract with anyone they like for a ride somewhere. The taxi companies should also be free of regulations, not just UBER. Allow the marketplace to come up with standards, if they are necessary. The cab companies will need to be free of regulatory burden to effectively compete against the nimble new competitor, UBER.
UBER’s argument, as I understand it, is they are not a taxicab company, for which all the regulations are written. UBER does not own any of the cars that its users end up riding in. UBER merely facilitates a smooth transaction between the rider and driver. It’s a matchmaking company. The next step, which may have even UBER worried, is to decentralize ride-sharing even further, to where no company is needed to make the connections between rider and driver. That actually is being worked on now, and it has a terrible name, LaZooz, but the technology is already here (and based in cryptocurrency like bitcoin) – it’s only a matter of time and software development, and participants.
For now though, UBER and other ridesharing competitors like Lyft, are innovating in a way that expands consumer choice, increases service available overall, drives down price, and rewards entrepreneurs. No wonder the city gang wants to stop them! They disrupt the current good ol’ boys network. (more…)