Bill To Decrease Pot Fines Is Stalled

Bill To Decrease Pot Fines Is Stalled
Posted by CN Staff on March 27, 2008 at 06:12:13 PT
By Tom Long, Globe Correspondent 
Source: Boston Globe 
New Hampshire -- When the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana, it was the first time the legislative body approved reducing the penalty for having pot.But the bill is unlikely to become law. It appears to have little support in the Senate, and Governor John Lynch has said he'd veto the bill if it reaches his desk because it sends the wrong message to the state's young people about the dangers of drugs.
"Our representatives in the House did the right thing for New Hampshire - and especially for New Hampshire's young people," Matt Simon, executive director of the New Hampshire Coalition for Common Sense Marijuana Policy, said last week. "It's time for the Senate to finish the work we've started here and bring some sanity to our marijuana sentencing policies."The bill would make the possession of a quarter of an ounce or less of marijuana a civil violation that would carry a maximum $200 fine, instead of a criminal misdemeanor that may result in up to a year in jail and fines of up to $2,500.Though the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee recommended against passage of the law, the bill passed the full House, 193 to 141, on March 18.In Massachusetts, two bills are before the Legislature that would decriminalize the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, and another bill would allow the drug to be used for medical reasons.Also, Representative Barney Frank said last week that he intends to file a bill in the US House to legalize "small amounts" of marijuana.Nobody was more surprised when the New Hampshire House passed the bill than Jeffrey Fontas, the 21-year-old Democrat from Nashua who cosponsored the legislation."Many people told us that it wouldn't pass, but it did. I think it was because of the way we framed the argument. Mistakes early in life, like a possession charge, can be devastating to the futures of our young people," he said, adding that a single drug arrest can lead to the loss of a college scholarship, the ability to serve in the military, and the chance to qualify for subsidized housing and food stamps.Representative David Welch, a Republican from Kingston and a member of the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee who voted in favor of the bill, said it's a generational issue."I think if all the House members were under 30, it would be a slam dunk."Welch, who is serving his eleventh term in the House, said he has never used drugs, "except aspirin," and feels there are a lot more dangerous products on the market: alcohol and cigarettes, for instance."I think alcohol abuse does a lot more damage. . . . Not only that, but we tax alcohol. It's not as if it's a large amount of marijuana we're talking about here. It's only enough to make seven or eight cigarettes," he said. "People - young people in particular - do stupid things, and I don't think they should be penalized for life."Fontas said he is not disheartened by a lack of support for the bill in the Senate."The so-called experts said the bill didn't have a chance in the House, but many members voted for it after they heard what we had to say. Who knows what might happen in the Senate if we have another open discussion of the issue?"Note: Little support from Senate, governor.Source: Boston Globe (MA)Author: Tom Long, Globe Correspondent Published: March 27, 2008 Copyright: 2008 Globe Newspaper CompanyContact: letter globe.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:NH Common Sense Future Looks Bleak for Marijuana Bill Right To Reduce Marijuana Penalties Vote Draws Fire 
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Comment #6 posted by john wayne on March 30, 2008 at 02:32:56 PT
New Hempshire
I know some cool smokers up that way. Hi guys!
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on March 27, 2008 at 10:10:48 PT
Amarillo Medical Marijuana Case (Video)
A local jury finds a man justified in his use 
By Laura Rice Wednesday, March 26, 2008 AMARILLO -- A local jury rules against the established law and in favor of a man using marijuana for medical reasons.On Tuesday, the Potter County jury took just minutes to decide the case. But for one man, and perhaps many more down the road, the impact of the decision is anything but small.This is a ProNews 7 exclusive.Tim Stevens has HIV. He has been battling the virus since 1986 and is thankful it has not progressed to AIDs. But he still suffers. One problem: cyclic vomiting."You go through cycles of extreme nausea and that's pretty horrible," said Stevens.The only remedy that has eased his pain is doctor-recommended marijuana."There are situations where this is the only avenue to take once you've gone through the medical gamut," said Stevens.In October, Stevens felt a cycle starting and bought ten dollars worth of marijuana. An anonymous tip led to his arrest for possession. But officers did not have to arrest Stevens, they could have written him a ticket."Potter County has chosen not to follow the state law that says they could write tickets for people like this but instead arrest and jail them," said Stevens' lawyer Jeff Blackburn.Stevens spent a couple of hours in jail, then made bond. The ordeal could have been concluded, but Stevens felt he had to fight the full battle first and take the issue to trial to get the decision reversed."There's a lot of work to be done and people need not be so afraid of people with HIV," said Stevens. "It's not going to leap across the room at you. There's a lot of work to be done in the medical field and with the government."Stevens' lawyer helped him on his mission of principle."That's democracy in action," said Blackburn.Stevens hopes it is a mission that will help others in the future."For chemo patients, multiple sclerosis and such," said Stevens.With all he has been through he says it is the lack of compassion he encountered in the harsh judgement system that hurts him most."I think there was maybe a lack of understanding or knowledge about any of my issues," said Stevens. "There certainly seemed to be a lack of compassion."So what happens now for Stevens?He says he will not smoke marijuana illegally anymore. He is going to try a pill substitute with a lower success rate. To use marijuana legally, he will have to move to New Mexico.Video Link:
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Comment #4 posted by ekim on March 27, 2008 at 08:58:44 PT
Hemp History 101." Anderman and Errol Francis of the Hemp Workers' Cooperative, based in the Killaloe area, put together "Hemp - The Environmentally Sustainable Alternative, Part One: Hemp History 101." "The Hemp Revival - 1994 to 2008" will feature footage of hemp used for carbon negative building, car parts, plastics and health food.
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Comment #3 posted by dongenero on March 27, 2008 at 08:18:37 PT
OT - Cheney's latest Iraq comments
--------In an exclusive interview with ABC News, Vice President Dick Cheney was asked what effect the grim milestone of at least 4,000 U.S. deaths in the five-year Iraq war might have on the nation.Noting the burden placed on military families, the vice president said the biggest burden is carried by President George W. Bush, who made the decision to commit US troops to war, and reminded the public that U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan volunteered for duty. -----------Yes, poor George obviously bears the greatest burden here, that of embarrassment and the burden of poor approval ratings. The families of our troops only suffer the loss of loved ones. Hey, they volunteered anyway, I guess DICK'S point is, the volunteers sort of asked for it.Impeachment anyone?
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Comment #2 posted by Dankhank on March 27, 2008 at 06:39:32 PT
last white hope
already got a dvd copy of that show, courtesy of DVR and DVD burner.have disseminated same as I am able ...
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on March 27, 2008 at 06:32:17 PT
The Last White Hope to be released on DVD May 27th
Excerpt: The staff at the Barack Obama campaign has recognized this failure by answering Booth saying they "will review drug sentences to see where we can be smarter on crime and reduce the blind and counterproductive sentencing of non-violent offenders." Obama also supports the use of medical marijuana calling the War on Drugs a "failure."
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