Allies Push State To Decriminalize Marijuana

Allies Push State To Decriminalize Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on March 02, 2007 at 06:26:30 PT
By Albert McKeon, Telegraph Staff
Source: Nashua Telegraph
New Hampshire -- If the statewide movement to decriminalize marijuana is ever made into a movie, a Hollywood producer would probably ask Sean Penn to reprise his celebrated role as the unmotivated stoner Jeff Spicoli.But that would be the sort of typecasting that misses the point of New Hampshire Coalition for Common Sense Marijuana Policy, its members say. Among those pushing for decriminalization are a soccer mom, selectman and two doctorate students.
Perhaps more telling of how coalition members don’t fit the pot-smoking stereotype, they say, is that four of them don’t use the drug, while two others say they need it for medicinal purposes.“I don’t smoke, and I don’t drink. But I’m a really strong believer in decriminalization of marijuana,” said Campton resident Jan Stearns, the soccer mom of the bunch.“I’m a 48-year-old mother of two teens,” she said. “I listen to people say marijuana corrupts our youth . . . but that’s a bunch of baloney. There’s no science behind it. We’re living with a myth. Prohibition is not working.”To Stearns and other coalition members, the effort to decriminalize marijuana is less about getting high and more about personal freedom. The coalition acknowledges that marijuana can be harmful, but it believes the criminalization of private, recreational use is more damaging to society in wasted tax dollars and unjustified criminal records.The newly-formed group’s first act is to back a House bill that would legalize the use of marijuana and aim to regulate its sale.But with just a few lawmakers and one former New Hampshire police officer in their corner, coalition members concede they have a big hill to climb.They contend the American public has fallen for a dubious law enforcement argument that marijuana leads to the usage of harder drugs. And they realize if the bill becomes law, it probably won’t offer complete legalization of marijuana.“The biggest challenge is getting people over their fears,” said Matt Simon, an Amherst resident and spokesman for the coalition. Unafraid of a StigmaJames McGarr, a 42-year-old Campton selectman, doesn’t care what his constituents will say about his activism for marijuana decriminalization.“I learned if I’m going to fight a war, I have to be prepared to lose everything,” McGarr said. “I know enough that I am ready to do my part to make this right.”McGarr didn’t directly answer if he uses marijuana, but he said that with three children, he doesn’t want to risk getting arrested for possession. Like other coalition members, he makes the argument that many straight-laced and otherwise law-abiding citizens use marijuana.Stearns, one of his constituents, told her employer that her name would be attached to a cause that “may be a problem.” But her boss was accepting of her fight, and she’s ready to stand out even if it means other soccer moms cast aspersions.Moreover, Stearns believes her view on marijuana won’t encourage her 18-year-old son and 15-year-old daughter to try it, but will rather help children who do use it.“I’m confident that my kids aren’t smoking pot,” Stearns said. “It should be treated like alcohol and cigarettes: Kids shouldn’t be doing it. But kids are pushed into the criminal system if they’re caught with it. And kids on all other medicines are punishing their bodies worse than with pot.”Stephanie Murphy, a 22-year-old Dartmouth College medical student, has already told her parents and friends she’s publicly supporting marijuana decriminalization efforts.Murphy says she doesn’t use the drug. But after studying the health effects of marijuana – “not completely good, but it is certainly safer than cigarettes and alcohol” – she decided to support the coalition.“The arguments speak for themselves,” Murphy said. “People can think what they want about me, but I’m not going to kowtow to prevailing opinion. I’m not going to compromise my principles because it’s not a popular opinion.”Murphy herself hasn’t studied marijuana in a lab, but she points to research conducted by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws on the drug’s health effects.“There’s a lot of good data,” Murphy said. “It can help people with autoimmune disease, MS, glaucoma, nausea from AIDS medication. It’s not just something that can be enjoyed. One day I hope I can prescribe it to patients.”Although he’s also unafraid to publicly endorse marijuana use, 25-year-old Ian Taschner says he feels stigmatized after two arrests for possession. “It stinks. I’ve got kind of a bad rap now, like I’m some rebel,” he said. “I don’t shoot people. I don’t do other drugs at all.”Taschner, a University of New Hampshire graduate student who aspires to be a synthetic organic chemist, says he uses marijuana for medicinal reasons. If his finances allow, Taschner said he usually melts down cannabis to a liquid form, buttering his toast with marijuana to help alleviate an anxiety disorder. If he’s pressed for time, he’ll smoke it.In California, where Taschner was born, recreational and medicinal use of marijuana is accepted by citizens and even tolerated by law enforcement, he said. “Until you move to New Hampshire, then they think you’re the devil,” he said. Blazing for ChangeEleven states allow medicinal marijuana use, and 13 states treat possession of small amounts of the drug as a penalty and not a felony offense. But no state has blanket legalization of sales or usage.The New Hampshire House bill seeks to strike down all criminalization of marijuana. The bill, currently in committee, could ultimately reach some sort of middle ground, Simon said. The coalition would accept a law that makes possession of an ounce or less a civil offense and not a crime, he said.“The bill is a radical statement,” Simon said. “It takes marijuana out of the criminal code. We know that’s not going to happen.”Nonetheless, the coalition will still promote the benefits of marijuana decriminalization and the social and economic harm in criminalizing its use, Simon and other members said.Public tax dollars are wasted as law enforcement arrests people for possessing small amounts of marijuana, labeling them with a criminal record that’s similar to someone using or selling harder drugs, coalition members said. Prosecution for marijuana can lead to other social problems, such as preclusion from obtaining a student loan, they said.Most police officers and prosecutors take a different stance. At a hearing to review the House bill, state police Maj. David Kelly testified that marijuana starts a user down a path to harder drugs. Senior Assistant Attorney General Simon Brown said marijuana use is connected to violent crimes.Coalition members refute both claims. Taschner and Phil Greazzo, who both say they use marijuana for medical reasons, say they don’t feel tempted to try other drugs. And they contend that marijuana relaxes them. Many violent criminals have used alcohol or other drugs but not solely marijuana, they said.The coalition gained satisfaction when a former police officer broke ranks at the House hearing. Brad Jardis, a former Epping and Plaistow patrolman, testified that decriminalizing marijuana would help the addicted get treatment, and regulated sales would make it harder for kids to obtain it.“I can tell you the current system we have is allowing our kids to easily get it,” Jardis said.Greazzo and Simon say the criminalization of marijuana is similar to alcohol prohibition in the 1920s. Black-market prices for the drug soar, while crime expands as dealers protect their turf, members said. Users of any age can find these dealers, they said.“If you look at it now, there are criminal elements to marijuana sales,” said Greazzo, a Manchester resident. “Dealers get violent in the streets. It’s the same element as Al Capone.”Greazzo, 36, said he uses marijuana to relieve back pain from a career in hard labor. He now works for his brother’s line striping and seal coating business and dabbles in real estate on the side.“I have no health insurance and no doctor,” Greazzo said. “I use something that’s relatively safe. I feel comfortable with the green gift of God.”Simon, 30, said he doesn’t use marijuana. He grades essays for standardized tests companies and feels his and others’ efforts bust the label of lazy, inattentive pot smokers.“It’s the old principle that people should be able to do what they want to do as long as they don’t hurt anybody else,” Simon said.Complete Title: Unlikely Allies Push State To Decriminalize MarijuanaSource: Telegraph, The (Nashua, NH)Author: Albert McKeon, Telegraph StaffPublished: March 2, 2007Copyright: 2007 Telegraph Publishing CompanyContact: letters nashuatelegraph.comWebsite: http://www.nashuatelegraph.comRelated Articles & Web Site:Common Sense Marijuana Policy Professor Introduces Bill in N.H. House Would Make Pot Legal in State 
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #32 posted by FoM on March 03, 2007 at 12:47:47 PT
Thanks for the link. I don't know where they come up with this stuff. Don't they use the Internet to do honest research? 
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Comment #31 posted by mayan on March 03, 2007 at 11:49:11 PT
Cindy Sheehan on 9/11
CINDY SHEEHAN supports a New, Independent 9/11 Investigation!
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Comment #30 posted by Storm Crow on March 03, 2007 at 08:30:03 PT
About that college poll...
Here's the latest numbers. 53% yes42% no6% no opinion
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Comment #29 posted by The GCW on March 03, 2007 at 07:14:41 PT
I googled a bit and don't see what "drug"...
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Comment #28 posted by Had Enough on March 03, 2007 at 06:48:03 PT
mayan #25
Thanks mayan.Bride just saw the links.And yes that was the tape referred to.We’re having a very interesting conversation right now.
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Comment #27 posted by OverwhelmSam on March 03, 2007 at 06:35:37 PT
Not Enough People Are Dead and Dying
When enough cops, politicians and citizens die, drugs will be legalized. Too bad we have to go through the motions and watch it all until then.Curb violent deaths around the world, legalize drugs.
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Comment #26 posted by mayan on March 03, 2007 at 06:27:13 PT
hAd enough
Sorry about that!
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Comment #25 posted by mayan on March 03, 2007 at 06:26:06 PT
Hd Enough
The video tape you are referring to very obviously employs a fake bin Laden. Just look at the comparison of the real bin Laden and the fake one...The Fake bin Laden Video Tape:, the last four paragraphs of that Online Journal piece do bring more pieces of this insane puzzle together. I have a feeling that the culprits are getting very nervous.
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Comment #24 posted by Toker00 on March 03, 2007 at 06:12:33 PT
A couple happy notes.
1. The officer got to live his life long dream, if only for a week. To me, that was a very limited dream to begin with, but to each his/her own.2. Cannabis would still survive the scapegoating.Anyway, can you find out which "DRUG" they were busting for, GCW? It is a sad thing. Two little girls lost their father to the War on Drugs. Pete, you gonna add him to your Drug War Victims list? One week. Wow. Bad decision. Dream turned Nightmare. So sorry.Toke. 
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Comment #23 posted by The GCW on March 03, 2007 at 05:49:11 PT
A couple sad notes.
Laval cop killed in the line of duty, this morning.'s sad.Another sad part is that the officer was part of a squad called:"morality" and drug squad.---I looked for which drug it was they were busting for, but it didn't say...I wonder if it was in fact a plant and not even a drug... ---They will think it was drug related and as they are blinded, they will miss that in fact it is really prohibition related.
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Comment #22 posted by Toker00 on March 03, 2007 at 05:30:30 PT
Uh, change the last line of the poem to :
Tyranny will March all over you!Thank you and may God bless! (I just had a flash in my mind of ole' Red Skelton.) : )Toke.
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Comment #21 posted by Toker00 on March 03, 2007 at 05:27:42 PT
Four friends 50 days before 9/11
Mayan, that is almost like gazing into a crystal ball. Missing pieces of the puzzle. Clarity. 9-11 is becoming CRYSTAL clear. Seems Truth has a mind of it's own, doesn't it? It's good to be Truth Conscious. These Boots were made for Marchin'And that's just what they'll do!One of these days these Boots Are gonna March all over you!You may think I'm kiddin'And that's fine if you do!'Cause you'll be so surprisedWhen I come and March all over you!Now Freedom ain't for askin'You take it if you can!You march and shout and raise your voiceBack down the Police Man!You can't set on your Fat Ass,And that's just simply True!Cause if you don't March for FreedomFreedom's gonna March all over you!Toke. 
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Comment #20 posted by Had Enough on March 03, 2007 at 05:13:45 PT
Spell Check!!! #19
Bin Laden, is a building construction expert. He would know exactly “were”….“were” should have been “where”.
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Comment #19 posted by Had Enough on March 03, 2007 at 05:10:17 PT
Destruction of the Twin Towers.
Bride and myself were discussing the fall of the WTC7 after mayan posted it the other day. (thanks mayan)She said to post a comment from her.Bin Laden, is a building construction expert. He would know exactly were to hit a building, to do the most structural damage. On the tapes that were released showing Bin Laden and his buddies celebrating, they made statements saying to the effect of, we knew the planes would cause major damage, but didn’t think the buildings would come down like that.Even they were surprised.Her point is, the buildings were brought down with forces way beyond the damage an airplane could do. Even Bin Laden knows it.People need to be held accountable.
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Comment #18 posted by Toker00 on March 03, 2007 at 04:55:04 PT
Clearly a Prohibian, no? Dr. Prohib D.B.S. (Doctorate in Bull Sh*t and Basic Satanism)Toke.
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Comment #17 posted by mayan on March 03, 2007 at 04:53:23 PT
This is an extremely interesting read...Rupert Murdoch: Fox in the henhouse:
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Comment #16 posted by Had Enough on March 03, 2007 at 04:42:24 PT
Toker- double ought
I remember tourist traps selling “Canned Sunshine” in Florida. It was an empty can with a label that said Florida Sunshine. What a scam. And people bought them.
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Comment #15 posted by mayan on March 03, 2007 at 04:36:44 PT
I see that FoM already posted that one! Toker, That's great about the pentagon march! I hope some folks take 9/11 Truth signs. 
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Comment #14 posted by Had Enough on March 03, 2007 at 04:33:01 PT
Re: #10
They left out the part where it says; Cannabis may cause enlarged breasts in adolescent males.Same old stuff. Over and over. Again. I guess some people still bite on that stuff. Hook, Line, & Sinker.
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Comment #13 posted by Toker00 on March 03, 2007 at 04:31:43 PT
Had enough
Amazing. That sort of goes along the lines of buying Bullshit in Texas in little packages sold in side of the road pit stops. People will buy anything that you can promote. Anything.What are the charges we should file against Bushco.?I like these from the article Mayan posted from Livewire. Incomplete, but a Start.RUDOLPH GIULIANI:Destruction of 3000 murder crime scenes250 murders of Firemen - Knowingly allowing 250 firemen to stay in the Towers when he had for warning of them coming down.CHRISTINE TODD WHITMAN:Causing pain, suffering and death to 1000's of workers who depended on her claim to safe air.GEORGE W.BUSH:Job Negligence in protecting the nationCriminal invasion of another nation under false pretensesMurder of 100,000 Iraqi'sMurder of 3000 US service peopleLARRY SILVERSTIEN:Insurance FraudMurderTheftTax FraudSEC FraudTrading with the EnemyTOKE: INNOCENT 
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Comment #12 posted by mayan on March 03, 2007 at 04:28:36 PT
Boston Globe
The following linked piece was supposedly in the Boston Globe a couple days ago. Sorry if it has already been posted...Marijuana - The Wonder Drug - by Lester Grinspoon:
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Comment #11 posted by Had Enough on March 03, 2007 at 04:14:09 PT
Restless Consumers
(NewsTarget) What happens if you create a fake disorder and offer a fake drug to treat it? You get thousands of people fooled that they might have an invented disease called Dysphoric Social Attention Consumption Deficit Anxiety Disorder. An Australian artist created an "advertising campaign" for a fictional drug called Havidol to fight the non-existent social disorder, and the response has been more than surprising.
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Comment #10 posted by Dankhank on March 02, 2007 at 22:18:47 PT
this is interesting also ...
from a link on the healthcentral page
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on March 02, 2007 at 21:39:14 PT
I think because it was hard for them to find enough people that didn't smoke cigarettes the study wouldn't be a good one. I could be wrong though.
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Comment #8 posted by whig on March 02, 2007 at 21:30:26 PT
From the article
There were several common kinds of limitations in the studies they reviewed, the Yale researchers noted. These included: inadequate control of the complicating effect of tobacco smoking; lack of standardized measures for the amount or duration of marijuana use; and lack of standardized measures of the outcomes that were evaluated.
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Comment #7 posted by whig on March 02, 2007 at 21:28:52 PT
Something I came across today, does anyone have more details?
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on March 02, 2007 at 20:30:07 PT
Hopefully it is a new poll. Maybe if they hadn't said drug conviction it wouldn't have been that negative. Maybe if they said marijuana instead it would be better.
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Comment #5 posted by The GCW on March 02, 2007 at 20:26:56 PT
That caught Me by surprise also.Especially since it's a school paper.Perhaps it's a new poll and only a few people have voted so far...
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on March 02, 2007 at 20:20:52 PT
I voted in the poll and 70% currently says no. That surprised me.
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Comment #3 posted by The GCW on March 02, 2007 at 19:59:15 PT
POLL.Should students with drug convictions be eligible for financial aid?-yes-no-no opinionVote:
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Comment #2 posted by mayan on March 02, 2007 at 18:17:46 PT
Santa Fe New Mexican Covers BBC Building 7 Controversy: Hacked to Keep BBC 911 Anniversary Video Off Web: 911 Script and the Age of Terror: BBC's 'WTC 7 Collapsed At 4:54 p.m.' Videos (Save them while you can!): Building 7 Video #1 MOST Discussed on You Tube This Week: 7 Foreknowledge: 9:59 a.m.) September 11, 2001: EMT Worker Given Message That WTC Towers Are Going to Collapse; High-Level Officials Evacuate Lobby of North Tower: Vermont 9/11 Panel (video): hope everyone is saving the BBC and CNN footage to disk as it is being removed from the web as we speak!
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Comment #1 posted by Toker00 on March 02, 2007 at 10:09:06 PT
OT: Victory for Freedom of Speech at March on 
Pentegon:We Won -- Free Speech Victory for the March on the Pentagon!
Put an March on Pentagon button on your website!We won! More than 2,000 people deluged the office of Virginia's Attorney General with letters demanding the issuance of a permit for the March on the Pentagon. Impeachment supporters joined with the anti-war movement to insist that the State of Virginia drop its efforts to obstruct the rights of tens of thousands of marchers who will gather on March 17 to demand an end to the Iraq war and in support of the impeachment of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.We want to thank everyone who has responded to our emergency fundraising appeal by making a generous donation. The government, by delaying the issuance of permits, has driven up our costs, but with the support of thousands of people who believe in this movement, we will succeed. We're not there yet, but with the continued help of everyone, we can do it. Click this link if you'd like to make an urgently needed donation today.This will be a large and powerful demonstration. People are coming from 43 states by bus, train, car caravan and plane.This could not have happened without everyone's participation. This combined political and legal challenge, waged with the assistance of the Partnership for Civil Justice, made all the difference. Legal and security issues have been dealt with to ensure a safe and secure march for the participation of the whole family. Click to see more logistical information for the March on the Pentagon.Pro-Impeachment Organizations
Uniting for the March on the PentagonAt a meeting of a new coalition of a large number of organizations that are supporting impeachment, held in New York City on February 17, it was decided to mobilize for the March on the Pentagon on March 17 to demand, "End the War and Impeach Bush Now!" The coalition of organizations that have united in this effort is called Impeach07.The members of Impeach07 are:
 - After Downing Street
 - Backbone Campaign
 - Center for Constitutional Rights
 - Citizens Impeachment Commission
 - CODE PINK Women for Peace
 - Constitution Summer
 - Consumers for Peace
 - Democracy Rising
 - Gold Star Families for Peace
 - Green Party of the United States 	 - Hip Hop Caucus
 - Impeach the President
 - Military Free Zone
 - National Lawyers Guild
 - Patriotic Response to Renegade Govt
 - Progressive Democrats of America
 - Independent Progressive Politics Network
 - Velvet Revolution
 - World Can't Wait-Drive Out the Bush RegimeThe breadth of support for the March on the Pentagon is reflected in the 1500 endorsers, including national and local organizations, that are supporting and mobilizing to come to Washington, DC. The lead contingent of the demonstration will include thousands of Iraq war veterans, soldiers' families, and other veterans.The March on the Pentagon speakers list includes:- Ramsey Clark, Former U.S. Attorney General
- Howard Zinn, Author, A People's History of the United States
- Malik Rahim, Founder of Common Ground Collective
- Cindy Sheehan, Gold Star Families for Peace
- Melida and Carlos Arredondo, whose son and stepson was killed in Iraq
- Congressman John Lewis (Georgia)
- Mahdi Bray, Executive Director of Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation
- Mounzer Sleiman, TV commentator & Vice Chair, National Council of Arab American
- Leonard Weinglass, Civil Rights Attorney
- Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, National Lawyers Guild
- Jonathan W. Hutto Sr., Navy Petty Office Third Class, Co-Founder Appeal for Redress
- Liam Madden, Former Sgt. USMC, Appeal for Redress, Bellows Falls, VT
- Anita Dennis, Organizer with Courage to Resist, Military Families Speak Out member
- Helga P. Aguayo, Wife of Conscientious Objector Agustín Aguayo
- Debra Sweet, National Coordinator, World Can't Wait
- Brian Becker, National Coordinator, ANSWER CoalitionStudent groups, religious organizations, many impeachment organizations, and others are actively building for this demonstration. Click to see the list of transportation centers. List of Transportation centers:
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