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New Hampshire Bill Would Decriminalize Marijuana Possession

The Boston Globe reports that two N.H. state reps have proposed legislation to decriminalize the possession of marijuana in the Granite State.

The bill, which is expected to be voted on by the House next month, would make the possession of such quantities a civil violation that would carry a $200 fine instead of a criminal misdemeanor that could result in up to a year in jail and fines of up to $2,500. (source)

Representative Andrew Edwards cited a need to allow young people to experiment with bad choices without a lifelong stigma attaching, and without fear of being locked up with violent offenders.

Naturally, law enforcement has its typical litany of complaints about the proposed law.

But Nashua Police Chief Donald Conley, among others, said it would be a mistake to take the sting out of the law.

“Generally speaking, I don’t support it,” he said of the legislation. “I think it sends the wrong message. If we say it’s OK to possess a small amount of marijuana, some will think it must be OK to use it, and others will think it is OK to sell it.”

Funny… we say that it is okay to kill people, as long as the state does it. Yet that doesn’t send the “wrong message.” Does it? You can own a hand gun, but not a 50 caliber machine gun. The law says that I can drive at 30 mph in one place, and 75 mph in another. The message seems pretty clear to me. The proposed law won’t legalize it, but will merely make small-time offenders off limits to those who would lock them up in prison or destroy their futures over the bad decision.

Hudson Police Chief Richard E. Gendron said he is also opposed to the bill.

“It’s a slippery slope that won’t lead us anywhere. I think it will lead to an increase in use, especially among children.”

Gendron said the law would be difficult to enforce. “I don’t think I want my officers to be put in the position of measuring small amounts of marijuana.”

Right… because a child sits around and thinks about the legal penalties for smoking marijuana before he or she tries it?

Even funnier, Gendron doesn’t want his officers to carry around a little tiny scale? He doesn’t mind his officers measuring how much alcohol is in someone’s blood, but doesn’t want his officers determining whether a bag is holding .25 oz of leaves or not?

Marijuana laws are stupid. To criminalize the possession of a plant — a plant that causes far fewer deaths, health, and social problems than alcohol is magnificently stupid.

The problem is, by reversing direction, it forces an entire fear-mongering cottage industry, from the cops to the politicians to the schoolteachers, to have to admit that they were wrong.

And if there is one thing that someone with a G.E.D., a small paycheck, and way too much power never wants to say, it is “I made a mistake.”

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