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Panel Backs Softer Marijuana Penalty


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Concord, NH - A House subcommittee yesterday approved a bill to reduce the consequences of possessing small amounts of marijuana.

The Criminal Justice and Public Safety subcommittee voted 3-1 to reduce to a violation, punishable by a $200 fine, possession of less than one-quarter ounce of marijuana. It is not clear when the full committee will vote on the bill.

Current law makes possession of marijuana a misdemeanor, which carries a fine and criminal record upon conviction. A violation would not mean a record, Rep. David Welch, R-Kingston, said.

"Young folks who aren't always making intelligent choices could screw up their chances at a Pell Grant for college later on," under current law, he said. A quarter ounce is the equivalent of seven or eight joints, Welch said, referring to marijuana cigarettes.

The subcommittee set a lower limit than the original version of House Bill 1623, which would have decriminalized holding up to one and a quarter ounces. It also corrected a drafting error in the bill that would have removed penalties for selling small amounts of marijuana.

Rep. John Tholl, R-Whitefield, who is the Dalton police chief, voted with Welch and Rep. Ellen Nielsen, D-Claremont, for the amended bill. Tholl said possession of a quarter-ounce is "far less onerous than an ounce." He said it's not clear how far the full Criminal Justice committee, with its high percentage of retired law enforcement officers, will view the bill.

Matt Simon of the N.H. Coalition for Common Sense Marijuana Policy said he was happy to see the bill advance. Current penalties are "unnecessarily harsh," he said.

"These representatives have taken an honest look at the facts and they've agreed to support punishments which come closer to fitting the offense." Rep. Delmar Burridge, D-Keene, opposed the bill, sponsored by Reps. Jeffrey Fontas, D-Nashua, Andres Edwards, D-Nashua, and Charles Weed, D-Keene.

Source: Union Leader (Manchester, NH)
Copyright: 2008 The Union Leader Corp.
Contact: opinion@UnionLeader.com
Website: Union Leader - Front Page News


Well-Known Member
Wouldn't it be easier for the cop to ask for his yearly paid "Tax stamp" and send him on his way ;-)

Pay 250.00 a year for a federal Cannabis tax stamp. If you get caught with weed without the stamp, 500.00 fine. Must be 18 years or older to get a stamp, stamps are only printed inside your identification card (State issued) on a microchip with all of your info.

Herb Fellow

New Member
Sounds like an easy fix, Boss. Personally, I don't want to buy a Tax Stamp, but would do so in a heart beat.


Well-Known Member
Me either, but instead of getting nickled and dimed to death all over the place, let's send it one place and get it over with. The bottom line is, they want to be able to control and tax it. It's the reason they still go after moonshiners (500 million a year spend on that) because they cannot tax it, not because it's a huge danger to society.
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