MJ News: NH set to decriminalize 1/4 ounces of Marijuana
Contributed by skamikaze
on Thursday, March 20 @ 03:13:20 UTC
Associated Press Writer
March 18, 2008
CONCORD, N.H.—New Hampshire residents
could possess one-quarter ounce or less of marijuana without facing
jail under a bill headed to the state Senate.The
House voted 193-141 Tuesday to decriminalize the small amount of the
drug, making possessing it a violation subject to a $200 fine. Under
current law, possessing that amount could mean spending a year in jail
and paying a $2,000 fine.
Supporters' victory was short-lived.
Gov. John Lynch's spokesman, Colin Manning, said the governor would
veto the bill if it reaches him."This sends absolutely the wrong message to New Hampshire's young people about the very real danger of drug use," said Manning.The
bill didn't even appear likely to survive the Senate. "I don't think
he's going to be seeing it," Senate Majority Leader Joseph Foster said
of the governor.Supporters argued current law costs youths who
experiment with the drug all chances at receiving financial aid to
attend college. They said it wasn't fair to penalize them for life for
a youthful mistake.Windham Republican Jason Bedrick said he doesn't advocate using marijuana, but that wasn't the issue."The
question is whether a teenager making a stupid decision should face a
year in prison and loss of all funding for college," said Bedrick.Bedrick called the state's penalties "overly harsh.""What
societal interest is served by giving them a record for life?" he said.
Instead of harsh penalties, society should emphasize education, he said.Opponents
pointed out that the bill would not change stiffer penalties for
transporting the same quarter ounce or selling it. They said that
youths caught in a car would still face a misdemeanor and those selling
it, a felony.Whitefield Republican John Tholl, police chief in
Dalton, said reducing the penalty in the selective cir*****stance to
little more than a parking ticket could lead to trouble for youths
confused by the law's distinctions between possession, transporting and
sale."The controlled drug statute is complex and involved," he said."For
example, if someone has a quarter ounce in his possession and gives
some to a buddy, he can be arrested and charged for sale and a felony,"
said Tholl. "If we send a message to young people that a quarter ounce
is not big deal, they're going to ignore the potential problems coming."At
least 12 states have decriminalized small amounts of marijuana for
personal use, generally setting the limit at a single ounce or less and
levying a fine for possession, according to the National Organization
for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
© Copyright 2008 Associated Press.
|"NH set to decriminalize 1/4 ounces of Marijuana" | Login/Create an Account | 0 comments|
|The comments are owned by the poster. We aren't responsible for their content.|
No Comments Allowed for Anonymous, please register|