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Guest Commentary--Just Say Yes To Decrim!

Here's an email from a Manchester resident in support of decriminalizing or legalizing use of marijuana.  Obviously, I agree with the writer, but as I note in the return message, chances of doing anything positive this year appeared stymied by a new breed of Big Brother Democrats on the committee; it's sad but true.  The Criminal Justice Committee voted 12-8 to kill House Bill 337 today.  Unlike in the past, most Republicans today seem to support decriminalization while most Democrats, at least the newbies, seem to want to state to control more and more of our lives; not on abortion for sure; but on pot for sure.  Go figure!

 I'm writing to urge your support of House Bill 492.

Never in modern history has there existed greater public support for ending the nation's nearly century-long experiment with marijuana prohibition and replacing it with regulation. The historic votes on Election Day in Colorado and Washington - where, for the first time ever, a majority of voters decided at the ballot box to abolish cannabis prohibition - underscore this political reality.

The ongoing enforcement of cannabis prohibition financially burdens taxpayers, encroaches upon civil liberties, engenders disrespect for the law, impedes legitimate scientific research into the plant's medicinal properties, and disproportionately impacts communities of color. Furthermore, the criminalization of cannabis simply doesn't work.

Voters in New Hampshire support regulating the adult consumption of cannabis. A statewide poll conducted in January of 2013 by Public Policy Polling reports that 53 percent of New Hampshire citizens support regulating and taxing adult marijuana sales. Another poll, released in February by the University of New Hampshire, finds that 56% of New Hampshire adults approve of selling marijuana in state liquor stores with similar taxes to alcohol.

Despite more than 70 years of federal marijuana prohibition, Americans' consumption of and demand for cannabis is here to stay. It is time for state lawmakers to acknowledge this reality. It is time to stop ceding control of the marijuana market to untaxed criminal enterprises and it is time for lawmakers to impose common-sense regulations governing cannabis' personal use by adults and licensing its production. A pragmatic regulatory framework that allows for limited, licensed production and sale of cannabis to adults - but restricts use among young people - best reduces the risks associated with its use or abuse. I encourage you to support House Bill 492 to regulate marijuana, not criminalize it.

I began smoking marijuana when I was 18 years old.  Since then I've met countless other people that do so.  Many of them have never moved on to anything "hard" and even if they do it's their own choice.  The drug war (thank God for the budget cuts, DEA down over $150 million) is a futile attempt at controlling morality.  When you look on through history you see a big change in acceptance of civil liberties during and after the dark ages.  Why?  Because religion has taken over what was once free thought?


I live in New Hampshire.  I live and die by my state's motto.  I don't care if you take away other people's guns, I'm non-violent and don't own any.  But I care deeply that my rights have been infringed upon since birth due to this insane, never-ending crusade on controlled substances. 


I don't believe that all drugs are good although I believe they should all be legal.  Look at the current state of "research chemicals" or "legal highs" - People venture into those uncharted territories for multiple reasons.  One of the main reasons is that younger folk think that "legal = safer" when in reality that's the farthest thing from the truth.  The safest drugs are the ones we already know about, the one's that these analogues are modeled after.  The other reason would be simply the legality.  People don't want to associate with the thugs and thieves who pedal the already controlled substances. 

In a world with legalization those thugs would be out of work.  If not out of work they would have a much harder time finding customers because the respectable people who have lives, careers, families would be able to distribute (if they wanted) without fear of losing their lives, careers, and families.

 To Whom It May Concern - My name is Timothy R. Tompkins.  I've been smoking marijuana for eight years now.  During that time I've never harmed a single person.  I work hard for my money, day in and day out.  I work in fast food as management which requires a minimum, 50 hours of work a week.  Marijuana helps me relax and enjoy the time I spend with my family.  It helps me to live in the moment while on my own time, forgetting about the high demands of management in such a menial job.  Prohibition has prevented me from expanding my horizons, even to warehouse work, because my urine is "tainted" with THC.  I'm just a normal, hard working guy, but with a huge heart.

 Colorado and Washington have become the first two dominos here.  Let's follow their steps and be the third, setting yet another example for the other 47.

I ask you please, not for me but for the millions of others out their, adhere to your state's motto and pass 337!

 Thanks for your time.

 Tim Tompkins
 247 Grove St.
 Manchester, NH 03103

My response

Obviously I agree with you.  One of the three bills (the one to legalize, regulate and tax) is mine and has been retained by the committee for study.  However, the news is mostly bad out of the criminal justice committee.  Although the vote was in favor of retaining one bill for study, the other two bills failed, 12-6 and 12-8.  I fear 12-8 is the best we can get out of this committee; it seems most of the new Democrats on the committee are of the big brother/nanny state type.  Just when we seem to have made progress getting Republicans on board, Democrats are reverting to their nanny state ways, except Tim Robertson and Renny Cushing of course. 

The good news is that time is on our side just like it was for women's rights, African American rights, and equal rights for gay Americans.  To everything there is a season, and the season for sane marijuana laws is coming, more quickly than many can imagine.  For example, Fosters recently wrote an editorial praisng the study, and the Union Leader actually weighed in with a story on how people's minds are changing.  Unfortunately, not the Dems on Criminal Justice!

Thanks and hang in there.

Steve V

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Reader Comments (2)

Shame on those Democrats! Clearly they are at odds with the people that voted them in office! Thank you Steve for keeping us informed.
March 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKeith
So let me get this straight: free to fry the mind ... good. State take away other people's guns so they can't protect themselves ... also good. And somehow these dueling banjos fit under the "live free or die" slogan? Clearly, someone has been a huffin' and a puffin' till that monster spliff is no mo-a.
– C. dog chasing THC logic in circles
March 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterC. dog

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