As promised in another posting, here’s my response to a 16 year old Portsmouth student who wrote me an eloquent plea for decriminalization of marijuana last week. I won’t reveal his name or the names of other pro-decriminalization Reps here, but all is as exactly as I sent it. I mention Rep. Adam Schroadter, R-Newmarket, because he will be filing the decrim bill and Larry Gagne, R-Manchester, because it’s my guess (and it’s only a guess) that he could be Speaker O’Brien’s choice for Criminal Justice Chair.
Ironically, the letter arrived within a day of New York City announcing that it was no longer arrest anyone spotted with less than 25 grams of marijuana (slightly less than an ounce). It’s truly a step toward sanity that such people will, in the future, not be arrested but merely ticketed. That’s the good news. As David Letterman joked, the ticket will be to a New York Jets game. Funny stuff…here’s my letter.
November 14, 2014
Thanks for your letter. While my term is ending in a few weeks and I will not be back as a State Rep, I remain committed to reforming our marijuana laws, first with decriminalization and hopefully with full-scale legalization in the near future. Most likely any new bill will begin in the Criminal Justice Committee.
Unfortunately about a dozen Reps most committed to the cause will not be back. However, I trust new Reps will take up the cause. Obviously I agree with everything you say in your letter. The time is coming (all opinion polls show a dramatic shift) to reform our laws, but work still needs to be done.
The race for Speaker will indeed matter, and from all past indications, Bill O’Brien would be better for the cause of decriminalization than Gene Chandler who not only has been an opponent in the past but is surrounded by at least two people (Shawn Jasper and David Hess) who have been among our biggest opponents.
I will pass your letter on to some of the Reps who will be back and in the forefront of the reform effort in the coming year.
Among these are:
Adam Schroadter who sponsored the decrim bill this past year and most likely will again. PO Box 564, Newmarket 03857.
Larry Gagne (who was on the Criminal Justice Committee and could be the chair next year, depending on who is elected Speaker), 126 Lakeside Drive, Manchester 03104
[Here I enumerate several other decriminalization supporters for the young man to contact]
Sadly among our opponents last year was one of your Portsmouth Reps, Laura Pantelakos who chaired the Criminal Justice Committee. She will be back.
Thanks again. I wish I were your age again. Make every moment count and hopefully ours will be a better world by the time you get to be my age.
Rep. Steve Vaillancourt, 161 Faith Lane, Manchester, NH 03103