Concord Patch Reports on 420 Celebration at the State House

Thanks to the Concord Patch’s Tony Schinella for this report on the successful 420 celebration at the Concord state house:

Advocates of marijuana legalization gathered at the Statehouse on April 20, to push their cause, march in the plaza, and even fill the Hall of Flags with anti-drug war lyrics to the tune of Christmas carols.

The rally – 420 at 4:20 on 4/20 – was a collection of advocates, users, and other “liberty-minded” individuals, pressing their belief that drug laws are more harmful than good and that they should be allowed to smoke if they want to.

The advocates gathered outside the plaza for a litter pickup before the rally. At 4 p.m., Rich Paul, an activist from Keene, spoke from a megaphone, saying prohibition earlier in the nation’s history caused needless death and destruction. Paul even pointed to the recent shootings in Greenland that caused the death of the police chief there.

“A cop was killed and four cops injured, breaking down a door of a drug user, just this week in New Hampshire,” he said. “People die … and it’s not the drugs that are killing them, mostly, certainly not pot killing them, it’s drug laws that kill.”

Paul – and others – proceeded to light joints in the street before marching to the steps of the Statehouse to talk more, sing songs, and at 4:20 p.m., smoke more marijuana. They then headed into the Hall of Flags to sing more songs – replacing the lyrics to Christmas carols with anti-drug war lyrics – and even gave some guards and state troopers hugs.

State Rep. Mark Warden, R-Goffstown, was the only representative or elected official in attendance at the rally. He is a sponsor of marijuana bill before the House that would lower the penalty for a small amount of marijuana from a misdemeanor to a violation.

When asked how he and others could mobilize voters like those smoking pot and having a merry old time at the Statehouse to work to implement change, Warden said it took one-on-one meetings and data to convince his colleagues.

“One of the things I try to do is find common ground with somebody who is a single issue voter and then work the liberty angle on something else,” he said.

Today, it might be marijuana, he said, another day, it might be guns, the budget, or individual rights. Warden said he was using the existing infrastructure like NORML to press the bill’s merits and work to breakdown the “long-standing prejudice against marijuana” at the Statehouse.

The group hopes to hold another rally at the Statehouse on Nov. 5, a day before the presidential election.

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