Live Free, Get High in N.H.? 

Live Free, Get High in N.H.? 
Posted by CN Staff on January 25, 2007 at 06:37:54 PT
By Christine Paquin, The Dartmouth Staff
Source: Dartmouth
N.H. -- Three New Hampshire representatives have proposed legislation that would legalize the use of marijuana in the "Live Free or Die" state. The legislators insist that the bill is in the state's interest due to the resources wasted in prosecution of what many consider a victimless crime.Rep. Charles Weed, a Democrat from Keene, initiated the bill, which is co-sponsored by two Republicans, Rep. Paul Ingbretson of Pike and Rep. Steve Vaillancourt of Manchester.
Vaillancourt noted that one major concern with the criminal status of marijuana is the cost of enforcing the law, a law whose violators, some argue, are essentially harmless."As a legislator, I never do anything for my own personal benefit," he said. "This has nothing to do with me -- whether I use marijuana or not. I believe it is in society's interest to legalize marijuana because we waste a tremendous amount of time pursuing people who aren't doing anything except possibly hurting themselves."He noted that individuals using marijuana illegally are far less likely to be belligerent or violent than those drinking alcohol legally. He also added that 10 percent of the New Hampshire population, when surveyed, admitted to smoking marijuana, while 20 percent said they smoked cigarettes; half as many people smoke an illegal substance as smoke a legal one.In supporting the bill, Vaillancourt also cited the cost of putting someone in jail for marijuana-related crimes."It costs between $25,000 and $30,000 a year to incarcerate somebody," he said. "It is costing us a tremendous amount to keep these people locked up who could otherwise be contributing to society."It is fiscally responsible to legalize marijuana, he added, because after decriminalization it could be regulated, and more importantly, taxed.He insisted that the bill does not aim to encourage dangerous drug use as some opponents have claimed, saying that there would be tight regulation prohibiting driving under the influence of marijuana or smoking it in restaurants.In keeping with his libertarian political leanings, however, Vaillancourt said he finds no problem with the concept of people smoking marijuana in the privacy of their own homes.When asked about a possible conflict between the federal legal precedents barring the use of marijuana even for medical purposes, he said that if passed, the bill would be making a statement to Washington."I'm not sure if the federal statute would take priority, but it also would be sending a message to the federal government that here in the live-free-or-die state, we want people to be free to smoke a little pot if they choose," he said.Jonas Singer, a former state legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project, said that the legalization issue is a classic example of the tensions within federalism."The marijuana issue is an interesting microcosm for how the federal government and states interact," he said.Singer added that the MPP, which researches marijuana legalization, sees the value in the possibilities for taxation and regulation that would come along with legalization.With legalization, however, comes a host of issues including enforcing existing regulations and controlling interstate drug trafficking."The most compelling of their arguments is the tax and regulate approach," Singer said. "They would like to see marijuana treated like alcohol is."Miles Yourman '07 said he supports legalization for many of the same reasons Vaillancort and his fellow representatives do, including its fiscal benefits."I'm not surprised to hear that some Republicans are in support of legalization, because it is fiscally conservative," Yourman said. "I'm from California where there is massive prison overcrowding. Not only do you have to spend law enforcement to prosecute the users, who, it can be argued are perpetrating a victimless crime, but also, you are taxing the prison organizations."Yourman also argued that many of the dangers of marijuana come from the fact that it is an illegal substance that puts people on the wrong side of the law."When people are commonly asked what is dangerous about marijuana, they say that it is a gateway drug, but the reason that it is a gateway drug is because it's illegal," he said. "It gets them in the bad habit of talking to drug dealers and breaking the law."Vaillancourt is unsure when the bill will be brought to the floor. Although he doesn't expect the legislation to pass, its mere presence, he said, is bringing important issues to the table.Note: New Hampshire representatives push for marijuana legalization.NH citizens in support of HB 92, decriminalizing marijuana in the state of NH: Dartmouth, The (NH Edu)Author: Christine Paquin, The Dartmouth Staff Published: Thursday, January 25, 2007 Copyright: 2007, The Dartmouth, Inc.Website: The.Dartmouth Dartmouth.eduRelated Articles & Web Site:Common Sense Marijuana Policy Frown on Bill To Legalize Marijuana Would Make Pot Legal in State Would Allow Marijuana Sales
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Comment #16 posted by paulnz on February 06, 2007 at 01:44:43 PT
Rep. Weed from the new hemp shire (ie New Hampshire)- the universe has a sense of humour!
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Comment #15 posted by John Tyler on January 28, 2007 at 07:05:38 PT
doing the right thing
When cannabis prohibition is ended another thing that must be done is to expunge all cannabis convictions from peoples' records.
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Comment #14 posted by mayan on January 25, 2007 at 18:00:48 PT
"Live Free Or Die"
N.H. should either legalize cannabis,ditch that motto,or die immediately. They can't have it both ways and neither can America as a whole. 
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on January 25, 2007 at 15:09:53 PT
OT: Bucking U.S., Afghanistan Won’t Spray Heroin
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on January 25, 2007 at 15:00:35 PT
News Article from The Associated Press
Calif. Pot Patient Whose Case Went To High Court is Sentenced
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Comment #11 posted by The GCW on January 25, 2007 at 12:47:01 PT
Hemp article.
A grown-up conversation about hemp
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on January 25, 2007 at 11:33:42 PT
Thank you.
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Comment #9 posted by paul armentano on January 25, 2007 at 11:19:47 PT
Rep. Charles Weed on NORML's AudioStash
Listen to an interview with New Hampshire Rep. Charles Weed, along with Texas Congressman Ron Paul, on the Tuesday (1/23) edition edition of NORML's AudioStash at:
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Comment #8 posted by Hope on January 25, 2007 at 10:10:17 PT
Thank you, Sm0k3y 
We need to hear those stories. For me, that's what it about. For me, it's not about the pot. It's about what the system does to people because of pot.It doesn't mean I dislike pot. Legal or not. Pot is available if you want it and can afford to pay the black market prices. But the thing that gets me upset and vocal is what is being done to people, who in no way deserve it, in the name of pot prohibition.
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Comment #7 posted by sm0k3y on January 25, 2007 at 09:56:55 PT:
There is,"hope".
 I hope this is a trend that continues until what is natural is made legal. This would stop the cycle of an young person being oppressed for doing something he can find no fault in. I like many others have lead a life of constant humiliation because of what some people consider to be immoral or wrong just because of political BS. Im not sure this is the place for me to, "share" something about myself but here goes. I was arrested as a seniour in highschool on a weekend for possesing an ounce of said substance back in 94. I had to spend a week in jail for the offense. My school counted those days spent in jail as unexcused which pushed me over my absentee limit, which caused me not to graduate with 9 weeks to go... While in jail I met some other fellow people who grew weed. While I was there they tought my some ways of growing. A few years passed and I grew some weed for me and my friends so we wouldnt have to buy it. I get narced on, and eventually they arrest me. Now I have a felony on my record. I've lived in a small college town all my life and all of the good jobs to get around here discrimanate against people with felony convictions. Plus I still smoke. I just hope the future of other young people's lives are ruined as mine has been because of the laws that are still in place. No one should have to go through what I and many others have. We need for sometihng like this to happen for our future and our kids future. Sorry for the long winded ramble, I had to get that off of my chest.
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on January 25, 2007 at 09:28:56 PT
It's important , too...and a chance
for people who like or need cannabis to show the world that they are decent people and that they can accomplish things and contribute to society meaningfully. (Which, of course, many already are...but they can't exactly say so) It's a chance to show those who would demonize cannabis and it's users that they are wrong.
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on January 25, 2007 at 09:23:13 PT
This means "Jobs", too.
People can work without having their blood and urine and hair searched. Not to mention the jobs of production and sales of the herb, itself.To the slacker means you can get a job and still maintain your beliefs!People will grow. And I don't just mean "grow" cannabis. People will grow. Ideas will flourish. People will flourish.Cool!
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Comment #4 posted by Hope on January 25, 2007 at 09:16:25 PT
This seems like 
we are finally being heard. This says there are a few leaders with sense, courage, and fortitude. This may not get as far as we'd like to see it go...right away...or it might be the actual beginning of the end of prohibition. I think it is.Is this the first that this has happened on a state level? It's the first I remember...or at least the first that's gotten any attention.If it doesn't pass this'll be back. Everytime it comes back more will vote for it. I wish they wouldn't have to waste so much time going back to it again and again and just "get with the program" and get it done.
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Comment #3 posted by Sam Adams on January 25, 2007 at 08:51:31 PT
I forgot
I think the Monitoring the Future studies have shown that when the high school kids who DON"T use cannabis are asked why, only 1% say that's it because it's illegal.But this is America, galdarnit, and FAITH is more important than facts or reality. So is lying.
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Comment #2 posted by Sam Adams on January 25, 2007 at 08:50:08 PT
Get your lie on
from the second article:
"There are kids who stay away from it because it is illegal," said Gould. "They won't cross that line. But if it became legal, more would use it. I believe that, under the influence, kids make poor judgment calls in driving, in drinking and in boy/girl relationships."For the last 30+ years, 85-86% of high school kids say it's easy to get cannabis. So we're arresting 800,000 people per year, in an attempt to make it more difficult for 14% of high school kids from using cannabis.  And, it's already illegal for these kids, nothing would be changing for them. 
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on January 25, 2007 at 07:14:15 PT
Related Article: Board Stands Against Legal Pot
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