Vape Shop Owner Announces Run for Keene Council After Vote to Expand Nicotine Prohibition

City councilor Margaret Rice, one of the few sane voices on this issue, speaks out in favor of self-ownership.

City councilor Margaret Rice, one of the few sane voices on this issue, speaks out in favor of self-ownership.

Just one day after the 85th anniversary of the repeal of alcohol prohibition, the Keene City Council voted 10-4 to publicly express their ignorance on the matter and increase nicotine prohibition within the city limits. All of the testimony on the matter given on at least three separate occasions didn’t matter, despite most testifying against the idea.

Reminding the councilors of the lessons of history didn’t work. Though alcohol prohibition was a tragic, predictable failure, apparently they councilors think that banning the sale to and possession of nicotine by those under the age of 21 is going to somehow keep it out of the hands of middle schoolers. The councilors who voted in favor never addressed the fact that middle schoolers are already able to acquire nicotine despite it being illegal for them to do so. They also didn’t explain how increasing the legal age to 21 from 18 would have any effect on underage possession.

That’s because prohibition is an authoritarian fantasy that never works and always has predictable, destructive, unintended consequences. All they are doing is punishing innocent store owners’ bottom line and increasing the likelihood that more college students will be harassed by the police for simply walking down the street with a vaporizer or cigarette and “looking under 21”.

They’ve ramped up the futile, pointless, counterproductive war on drugs in Keene and we’re all going to be worse off for it. The ban has also sparked a political fire in Dan Cavallero, the owner of Monadnock Vapor, who has announced he’s planning to run for Keene city council in 2019 as a result of this stupid move by the council.

Cavallero has been the most active opponent of the measure, having attended every public hearing and testified, even while on crutches from a recent injury. Here’s the last public hearing video from the city’s MSFI committee which features Cavallero, me, and others testifying against the insanity of prohibition. Sadly, it fell on deaf ears:

Only Two City Councilors Voted Against Expanding Nicotine Prohibition in Keene

Keene City Council Voting for Prohibition - Photo by Vincent Freeman

Keene City Council Voting for Prohibition – Photo by Vincent Freeman

It’s an early step of the ugly political process that may ultimately expand nicotine prohibition up to age 21 in Keene, New Hampshire. As sadly expected, the full city council voted 12-2 last night to order city staff to write up a new ordinance prohibiting the sale and possession of nicotine-related products for under 21s within the arbitrary geographic area known as Keene.

Several councilors spoke with the majority using the spectre of children using nicotine and how dangerous and addictive the chemical is to justify voting in favor of moving ahead with writing the ban, ignoring all the historic evidence of the failure of prohibition. One councilor, Mitch Greenwald, even voted with the majority despite bizarrely acknowledging in his remarks that prohibition hasn’t worked.

Prohibition is a tactic based on aggressive force against peaceful people that has created terrible unintended consequences each time in history it’s been tried. This time won’t be any different. The council will push legal sales outside the city limits and encourage police to harass even more young people than ever before. Tickets will be written just like they are constantly for underage alcohol possession. The tickets will obediently be paid, and the person who got caught will try to be more careful and not be discovered in the future. Oh, and black market sales to 18-20 year olds will expand in Keene.

You can watch the whole, ugly council discussion and vote here:

It was refreshing to see a couple of politicians stand up against the insanity, including both of Ward 4’s councilors, Margaret Rice and Bob Sutherland who not only voted against crafting the ban, but spoke against it. Rice eloquently said, in her speech to the council:

“It’s not my role to tell somebody what they can and cannot do with their own body, provided that they’re not harming anybody else.” (more…)

Libertarian Transgender Sheriff Candidate Featured in Union Leader Article

Aria DiMezzo files for Cheshire County Sheriff as a Libertarian

Aria DiMezzo files for Cheshire County Sheriff as a Libertarian

Aria DiMezzo made history recently by becoming the first-ever candidate for Sheriff in the United States. Now, she’s making major news with the top newspaper in New Hampshire featuring her in an article about the opinions of the three candidates for Sheriff in Cheshire County.

Not only does the UL’s Damien Fisher feature a quote from Aria at the end of the article, the feature’s photo is of Aria.

It’s going to be an interesting election. Finally, the people of Cheshire County actually have a pro-liberty choice for Sheriff.

You can read the coverage from the Union Leader here. Stay tuned here to Free Keene for the latest.

Cheshire TV Hosts Debate for NH Senate District 10 Candidates

I had the pleasure last week of being part of the Cheshire TV debate featuring two of the three candidates for NH Senate District 10. Incumbent Jay Kahn was unable to attend so it was a two-way debate between me, the libertarian and Dan LeClair, the republican. We covered multiple issues. Here’s an HD version of the same debate that will be airing on Cheshire TV channel 8 through the election on November 6th. I hope you will vote Libertarian wherever you see them on your ballot!

A+ Liberty Rated NH State Rep Sued by Town Gang Over “Zoning” Violations

Mike Sylvia takes a photo with supporters outside court.

Mike Sylvia takes a photo with supporters outside court.

State Representative Mike Sylvia is the liberty “Legislator of the Year” for 2018 according to the NH Liberty Alliance. Of course, because he’s a peaceful threat to the legitimacy of the state, he will inevitably be targeted by state violence. Hence, the people calling themselves the “Town of Belmont” have forced Sylvia into court and are threatening to hit him with $275 a day in fines for allegedly violating the town gang’s arbitrary “zoning” rules.

The town gang’s zoning thug, Steve Paquin, testified under oath that the town selectmen had sent him to target Sylvia and even admitted there had not been a single complaint against Sylvia or his property by any neighbors. The only complaints came from within the town gang’s “selectmen”.

What’s all this about? The gang is alleging Sylvia is living on his property in an RV or the garage. Yes, that’s right. They are threatening him with violence because he’s allegedly living… on his property.

Apparently the main house burned down in 2009 before Sylvia bought it in 2011. The zoning goon claims that because he’s seen Sylvia exiting the door of the RV, observed shoveled walkways during winter, and smoke coming from a chimney on the garage, that he believes Sylvia is living on the property. Apparently living on one’s own property is not allowed within the gang’s territory, unless one has begged for permission from said gang first.

It’s an outrageous case and another example of how zoning is used to target people the town gang doesn’t like and further proof that one doesn’t actually own their property. If another group of strangers can come along with armed men and tell one what one can and can’t do with it, it’s clearly the property of the gang.

Below is the full court hearing on the town gang’s request for a preliminary injunction against Sylvia. Judge James D. O’Neill III took the evidence and testimony under advisement and will issue a ruling on whether or not to grant the town their preliminary injunction before the full trial in civil court. Thanks to Bill D. for the video:

At one point the town attorney tries to call Sylvia to testify and he smartly objected based on the NH Constitution’s Bill of Rights Article Fifteen, which says “no subject shall… be compelled to accuse or furnish evidence against himself”. The judge sustained his objection and he did not have to take the stand, though the robed man didn’t sustain any of Sylvia’s other objections while sustaining nearly all of the town’s attorney, in a typical hearing that favored the state.

Sylvia also cited the NH Constitution’s Bill of Rights Article Two which says:

All men have certain natural, essential, and inherent rights among which are, the enjoying and defending life and liberty; acquiring, possessing, and protecting, property; and, in a word, of seeking and obtaining happiness.

Zoning is not only unconstitutional, it’s also immoral and should be abolished statewide. Property owners should be free to do what they want, so long as they don’t infringe on their neighbors’ similar rights to do as they please. That would be live free or die. Stay tuned here to Free Keene for the latest on this outrageous property rights violation.

After Public Hearing, Keene Councilors Vote 3-1 For Nicotine Prohibition for Under 21s

Photo of the audience at the start of the meeting.

Photo of the audience at the start of the meeting.

Last night a committee of four Keene city councilors met to hear from the people on an awful proposal by a group of busybodies to prohibit the sale and possession of nicotine-related products by people under the age of 21 in Keene.

At least, that’s the summary of the proposal the city clerk had prepared for the council and was plastered at the top of the comment cards available in the room. But wait, was that actually their proposal?

Kate McNally, program manager for “Cheshire Coalition for Tobacco Free Communities”, despite being the person who started this awful political process spoke first and explained that her group was NOT asking the city to prohibit the use of nicotine, just the sale. She seems to realize that criminalizing possession would allow police to target young people for harassment and spoke against that clearly. In a perfect example of how you don’t control the government once you set it in motion, the majority of the committee voted 3-1 to ask city staff to write up an ordinance that would prohibit both sale AND possession of nicotine by people under 21 in Keene. That includes tobacco and all vaporizing products like vape pens and nicotine juice.

Congrats, Ms. McNally – you started this hoping to control just the merchants and you got more than you bargained for. The ban hammer is going to swing much farther and harder than even you wanted.

The council members ignored the pleas of various people including downtown merchants, industry associations, and individuals. No amount of logic and persuasion worked. The history and continued failure of prohibition meant nothing to them. It didn’t matter that the lady from Keene Middle School admitted the failure of nicotine prohibition on their campus. Despite the fact that it’s ALREADY illegal for them to buy and possess, even middle schoolers are using nicotine.

Here’s the full hearing including all testimony minus a quick battery change:

Though the owner of Monadnock Vapor, Daniel Cavallero, pointed out they’d just be creating a black market, the councilors still believe in the failed, authoritarian, sick dream of prohibition and voted to move ahead with drafting the ordinance. Next, the full city council will vote on the committee’s recommendation at next week’s Thursday meeting. Presuming that happens, city staff will draft a prohibition ordinance which will then receive a public hearing in front of the same committee.

Only one councilor, Bob Sutherland, heroically voted against the proposal. He also asked some good questions of McNally toward the end of the hearing. Sadly, he’s the only councilor on the committee who has his sanity.

Live free or die, unless you’re in Keene. Stay tuned here to Free Keene for the latest on this madness.