House Bill Hearings: End Entire War on Drugs, End Prohibition on Cannabis, Hallucinogens, Drug Testing Equipment

Last week at the state house, liberty activists spoke on various bills in front of the Criminal Justice Committee including:

  • HB 581 – would end the entire War on Drugs by striking RSA 318-B completely.
  • HB 360 – would end prohibition of possession and apparently also growing and selling of cannabis by anyone over 21.
  • HB 328 – would legalize possession of possessing hallucinogens including LSD, psilocybin, mescaline, and peyote for people over 21.
  • HB 470 – would legalize possession of drug testing equipment.

HB 581 – Finally, after years of compromised legislation trying to slowly scrape away at drug prohibition, one brave state representative, Matt Santonastaso, has put forward a bill that would in one fell swoop, end the entire War on Drugs. Sadly, only Bonnie and I came out to support Rep. Santonastaso and testify in favor of this epic legislation. We need more reps willing to take a risk with their “political capital” and actually put forward principled bills like this. Sure, it has no chance of passing, but the conversation needs to happen, and it needs to keep coming back and growing in its support. We also need bills to do other principled things like end government schooling, abolish the liquor commission, and abolish the state police. Hopefully we’ll see more liberty reps step up to the level of Matt Santonastaso in the coming years. Here is full video of the hearing:

HB 360 – One of several cannabis-related bills in the session this year, HB 360 is probably the best one I’ve seen as it does not contain any provisions to tax or regulate cannabis. It simply removes it from being a prohibited substance, although only for those over 21. It’s overall a great bill and would be awesome if it passed, though another bill that has taxes and regulations has the support of the house minority and majority leaders, so don’t get your hopes up. That said, it’s good to see the ideas discussed. Here’s full video of the hearing: (more…)

US Appeals Court Rules: DEA Allowed Access to NH Opioid Database Without a Warrant

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?

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NH HB 1022 – Permitting Pharmacists to Dispense Ivermectin Without a Prescription

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.

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Psilocybin Mushroom Decriminalization Bill to Have Second Hearing

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

Will NH be first to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms via the state legislature?

Dried Psilocybin Mushrooms

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 Chart

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.

Ross Ulbricht Speaks Truth to Power

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

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