Marijuana Bill Drubbed in Committee 

Marijuana Bill Drubbed in Committee 
Posted by CN Staff on April 25, 2008 at 05:50:50 PT
By Lauren R. Dorgan, Monitor Staff
Source: Concord Monitor 
New Hampshire -- The marijuana decriminalization effort at the State House appears to have gone up in smoke. The Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday voted 4-0 against a bill that would decriminalize possession of one-quarter of an ounce of the drug, making it a violation rather than a misdemeanor. The House passed the bill 193-141 last month. Gov. John Lynch immediately issued a rare veto threat, and Senate leaders announced their opposition to it.
In the House, sponsors focused their arguments on the fact that college students convicted of drug offenses can lose access to federal education assistance, a consequence they argued was too harsh. Yesterday, Sen. Deborah Reynolds said New Hampshire is the wrong place to fix that. "It seems to me that maybe we need to be going to our congressional delegation," Reynolds said. Meanwhile, she said, this bill would send the wrong message: "Smoke a little pot, it's not a big deal." The bill's prime sponsor, Rep. Jeff Fontas, held out little hope yesterday that the Senate would overturn the committee vote, saying he doesn't know of any senators who will argue in favor of the bill on the Senate floor. "No senator has told me that they're willing to do that," said Fontas, a 21-year-old Nashua Democrat. A quarter of an ounce equates to about eight joints. At a public hearing this week, opponents of decriminalization raised myriad issues, including how the bill jibes with laws against transporting marijuana or possessing paraphernalia. Some also raised the point that marijuana today is more potent than it was a few decades ago. "The 'small amount' is probably equal to a bag back in the '60s," said Sen. Bob Letourneau, a Derry Republican. For his part, Fontas said he was pleased that the bill had come this far and hoped that the push would return in next year's legislative session. He said he thought sponsors had been successful in changing the debate about marijuana and getting people to talk about the law. "Rather than focusing on the drug itself, we were saying, 'Hey, well, regardless of the drug itself, it doesn't behoove us to have people losing opportunities for education,' " he said. Fontas said that he won't be back to make the case: He's decided not to run for re-election so he can complete his college education. Source: Concord Monitor (NH)Author: Lauren R. Dorgan, Monitor StaffPublished: April 25, 2008Copyright: 2008 Monitor Publishing CompanyContact: letters cmonitor.comWebsite: http://www.concordmonitor.comRelated Articles & Web Site:NH Common Sense The Right Move for N.H. Right To Reduce Marijuana Penalties
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Comment #2 posted by afterburner on May 02, 2008 at 14:19:33 PT
Time to Replace:
Senate leaders, committee members, Governor!
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on May 02, 2008 at 10:51:21 PT
N.H. Senate Rejects Marijuana Bill
 May 2, 2008CONCORD, N.H. -- New Hampshire's Senate has rejected a bill that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.The bill was defeated Thursday in a voice vote by the full Senate.The proposal would have made the possession of up to 1.25 ounces of marijuana a violation that carries a $200 fine, instead of a misdemeanor that can result in up to a year in jail and fines up to $2,500.The House had approved the bill.Copyright: 2008 by The Associated Press
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