On January 27, 2022, the US Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit, Chief Judge Jeffrey Howard, ruled in “US Dep’t of Justice v. Jonas, No. 19-1243,” that the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) can “legally” access New Hampshire’s prescription drug database via an administrative subpoena, not a warrant. This is despite New Hampshire and United States laws to the contrary.
While 48 states have submitted to maintaining a networked prescription database (Prescription Drug Monitoring Program / PDMP), most people would argue that their personal medical and prescription records are protected by the 4th amendment (“no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause.”) Personal healthcare and medical information is generally protected under doctor-patient confidentiality laws and is regarded as almost sacrosanct in the healthcare world (think HIPAA.) In this case, confidentiality was further supported by the 4th amendment to the US Constitution.
Overwhelming Support From the Liberty Community
Michelle Ricco Jonas, manager of the New Hampshire PDMP in 2018, refused the DEA’s request to fork over 2.5 years’ worth of prescription data of a “person of interest.” After being subpoenaed she argued that the records belong to the state, not an individual person. Since March 12, 2019, when the notice of appeal was docketed, Michelle Jonas and New Hampshire state received an outpouring of support from the ACLU of California, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Puerto Rico, and Rhode Island – in other words, all the districts represented by the 1st Circuit Court.
Over the past two grueling years of appeal, the ACLU supported Jonas, and questioned whether issuing a subpoena to a state employee is within the bounds of the district court. They argued that medical records, for all intents and purposes, are considered private information. While the DEA has the ability to subpoena an individual, the ACLU asked if that gave them the right to subpoena a representative, or employee, of the state. They also argued that the 4th Amendment requires law enforcement “to obtain a warrant based on probable cause only to secure records over which there is a reasonable expectation of privacy.” The ACLU argued that medical records warrant an expectation of privacy.
The prescription records at issue in this case reveal intimate, private, and potentially stigmatizing details about patients’ health, including details of those patients’ underlying medical conditions. For that reason, as with other medical records, people have a reasonable expectation of privacy in them.” – Summary of Argument, US Dep’t of Justice v. Jonas, No. 19-1243
So What Was the Loophole?
Rep. Leah Cushman presents HB 1022 at the public hearing on 1/18/22
On January 12, 2022, Rep. Leah Cushman (R – NH) introduced New Hampshire HB 1022: an act permitting pharmacists to dispense the drug ivermectin by means of a standing order entered into by licensed healthcare professionals. The general argument is that many healthcare workers are unable to prescribe ivermectin, either because of hospital politics or outside pressures. This bill would override the need for a prescription for ivermectin, allowing everyone in New Hampshire to pick it up over-the-counter.
A public hearing for this bill took place on January 18, 2022. Rep. Cushman, House committee (Health, Human Services, & Elderly Affairs) members, doctors, and others took part in a lively discussion that spanned over two hours. The overall consensus appeared to be in favor of the bill, with a few speakers pleading that those who cannot (or do not) get the covid-19 vaccine need another readily-available, tried, and tested alternative.
The Benefits of Ivermectin Are Well Established
The only medicine for infectious diseases to win the Nobel Prize has recently been smeared in the mainstream media. Surprised? There are innumerable studies that have overwhelmingly shown the benefits of this drug to combat all types of disease. The difference is that now the media has portrayed it as livestock medicine, and nobody can seem to counteract the bad press–not even Joe Rogan.
However, most of those in attendance, including multiple committee members, fully supported pushing this bill further. Even those who believe that vaccines are the best option had to admit that withholding medicine to those who cannot or do not get the vaccine doesn’t make sense. In fact, people who have received the vaccine can benefit from ivermectin as well.
Dr. Paul Marik Was in Attendance
One speaker of note was Dr. Paul Marik, who traveled to the public hearing for NH HB 1022 all the way from Virginia.
Liberty Cap Mushrooms
HB 1349 is a bill that would decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms sponsored by Amherst Representative Tony Labranche. The bill had its first hearing in the Criminal Justice committee on January 11th, but while all the other bills heard that day got voted on, HB 1349 had a new hearing date scheduled. That means you have another chance to go and show your support for the bill on Thursday, January 20, 2022 in the Legislative Office Building in Concord at 9am. Alternatively, if you can’t make it you can email the committee and tell them to vote Ought To Pass.
The bill is very interesting because it is modeled word for word after the bill that decriminalized marijuana in New Hampshire. What argument does a member of this committee have against this bill? Psilocybin mushrooms are even safer for people and society than marijuana, according to Dr. David Nutt, former chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs in the UK.
I spoke at the hearing on January 11th and so did 4 others. The only person who spoke against this bill was a police lieutenant. How typical. The only person who didn’t want to see Granite Staters gain more freedom was a person who personally profits from the war on drugs.
The New Hampshire Supreme Court already decided that psilocybin use was constitutionally protected if you’re using it for religious practice or to worship god. My spiritual beliefs include worshiping the god in myself by allowing myself the ability to ascend beyond what and who I am now. Psilocybin is a great tool to do that and more people experiencing this medicine would help heal our community which is in part damaged by the war on drugs.
The bill: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/lsr_search/billText.aspx?id=1711&type=4
If would like to contact the committee hearing this bill use this email: HouseCriminalJusticeandPublicSafety@leg.state.nh.us
Dried Psilocybin Mushrooms, photo from Northspore.com
Thanks to the efforts of activist group Decriminalize Nature, cities across the United States have decriminalized the possession of mushrooms containing psilocybin. From Oakland, CA to nearby Northampton, MA, city councils have voted unanimously to direct law enforcement to essentially ignore people who possess psychedelic mushrooms. Plus, the entire state of Oregon legalized shrooms via a ballot initiative in 2020.
Thus far, however, no state has yet decriminalized psilocybin mushrooms via the legislative process. Perhaps New Hampshire will be the first with HB 1349, a bill that proposes to make the possession of up to 12 grams of psilocybin mushrooms a mere violation with a $100 fine, instead of a felony.
It’s easy to be skeptical that such a change can happen here in New Hampshire, given the state was slow to decriminalize cannabis, but finally did in 2017. However, the tide is shifting on the issue of psilocybin mushrooms. The reason that city councils are voting unanimously to decriminalize shrooms is because they really do help a lot of people with serious mental problems like PTSD and depression. The studies on this are numerous and growing. It is hard for city councilors to deny retired military veterans who testify that psilocybin has cured them of PTSD, or people with terminal diseases who will testify that psilocybin has helped them be at ease with death. Plus, it has long been known that psilocybin mushrooms are safe to use, even compared with cannabis.
Drug Harm to Society and the User
As I pointed out in my testimony in front of the state house Criminal Justice committee on Wednesday, the most relevant thing they should consider is that the New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled in December of 2020 that using psilocybin mushrooms for religious reasons is legal in New Hampshire. Jeremy Mack was arrested for possession of psilocybin mushrooms and convicted in Superior Court. He appealed, arguing it was his right, as a member of the Oklevueha Native American Church to use psilocybin as part of his religion.
In a UNANIMOUS decision, the NH supremes overturned Mack’s conviction, pointing out that the New Hampshire constitution has stronger religious freedom protections than the United States constitution. While the US constitution protects the right to religion, the NH constitution protects your right to worship God how you choose:
Every individual has a natural and unalienable right to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience, and reason; and no subject shall be hurt, molested, or restrained, in his person, liberty, or estate, for worshipping God in the manner and season most agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience; or for his religious profession, sentiments, or persuasion; provided he doth not disturb the public peace or disturb others in their religious worship. -Article 5, NH Constitution Bill of Rights
Given this amazing court decision, the religious use of psilocybin mushrooms is already fully legal in New Hampshire. Now the legislature should catch up and stop the police from even arresting psilocybin users at all, by passing HB 1349. I am optimistic for its chances. At the hearing on Wednesday, the only person who spoke against the bill was a drug warrior from the NH State Police, who trotted out the usual scare tactics of “DANGER” and “THE CHILDREN”. Though by pointing out that his kids told him shrooms are available for sale in their school, he inadvertently admits the abject failure of his precious War on Drugs.
Here’s the full hearing video:
If you live in New Hampshire and want to help this bill get passed, please reach out to the Criminal Justice committee via this group email: HouseCriminalJusticeandPublicSafety@leg.state.nh.us and ask them to pass HB 1349.
For the first time since being caged, Ross Ulbricht — no stranger to readers of FreeKeene.com — candidly, and powerfully spoke out. In this 25-minute audio recording he:
- details his motivation for creating the Silk Road and his subsequent character assassination and caging
- implores his captors to act not with contempt but compassion
- shares his excitement about the liberating impact of decentralized cryptocurrency for individuals & humanity
Back in 2011, during Derrick J’s Victimless Crime Spree, a talented parody writer living in Keene at the time, Richard Onley, created some amazing “Chronic Carols“. They were funny and poignant parodies of classic Christmas carols, like “Drug War Cops are Raiding the School” – set to the tune of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town. We had lots of fun forming the Shire Choir and held a series of performances both inside and outside state liquor stores.
Captain Kickass’ “COVID Carols” – Click for Printable PDF.
The point of the Chronic Carols was to protest the insane war on drugs and do it in a creative and fun way, as singing is much more likely to bring people together or get people to listen to new ideas than say, chanting. Chanting can come across as mindless and angry whereas singing is harmonious. Singing is a virtually unassailable activity as a protest and the American civil rights movement had a lot of success with song, as did the “Singing Revolution” in Estonia.
Fast forward to the present situation where the war on drugs has lightened up a little – at least on cannabis – but now the war is coming against people who just want to breath free, associate with others, hug, or smile at another person. The madness of prohibition has changed into an insane medical authoritarian state. If there was ever a time for the Shire Choir to come back, it’s now.
Actually, the Shire Choir has already come back this year. It was when we visited the NH Attorney General’s house on Thanksgiving and performed the original Chronic Carols, since the war on drugs the AG is behind is still harming innocent, peaceful drug users and dealers. It was fun, but it was clear we needed some current material that could be sung in more places.
Thankfully, Captain Kickass – a longtime professional parody writer who happens to live in Keene – stepped up and cranked out four “COVID Carols” in just a matter of days. The tunes parodied include “Do you hear what I hear?”, which has become “Do you fear what I fear?”, “Merry Little Christmas” is now “Sterile Little Christmas”, “Joy to the World” as “Close down the World”, and “Little Drummer Boy” replaced by “Little Lockdown Boy”. Johnson Rice provided some talented graphic design to put the Captain’s creative lyrics to classic Christmas carols onto a dual-sided color songsheet that you can easily print out and share. Though we have the Shire Choir here in New Hampshire, these songs are intended for the entire world. You can form your own choir and sing anywhere this COVID madness and tyranny has struck.
We have found ourselves in a world now where the Centers for Disease Control is telling people not to sing and local government gangs are telling business owners they aren’t allowed to host karaoke and then fining them if they do. Seriously, that’s really happening.
Don’t let yourself be silenced by the state or social pressure. Sing loud, proud, and hopefully in unison with others. Download and print your own “COVID Carols” songsheet PDF now! Please do share it anywhere you like. It’s our gift to you that hopefully will brighten your spirits on what is an otherwise depressing year and holiday season. It’s darkest before the light – don’t lose hope and please make it your New Year’s resolution to join the liberty migration to New Hampshire in 2021!