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…)

State Rep. Dick Marple Found Guilty of “Driving After Suspension” + Full Trial Video

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!

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: