MJNews Analysis: In New Hampshire It’s Live Free…Or Not

By Roger Tilton 

Now that the New Hampshire State Senate Judiciary Committee has “re-referred” the legal reefer bill to next year’s session, we wonder if Reefer Madness prohibitionists will continue to prevail until the Great Bay Oyster Reef Restoration is complete. What? That would be until Halloween in 2021, more than two years away.

The five-year reef-refresh began in 2016. You know what else happened in 2016? (Besides that.) Neighboring states Maine and Massachusetts legalized cannabis for adults 21 and older to enjoy. Last month, the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission reported sales statewide reached the $100 million mark since retail stores opened last November. And at a 17% state-tax rate, and a 3% local tax, that cannabis revenue starts to add up. Legalization proponents often cite tax revenue as a main argument to end the war on marijuana. I’ll add another main argument: Washington, Colorado, Oregon, Alaska, Nevada, California. In the laboratory of the states, marijuana is a winner.

Here in New Hampshire, the state is taking a turn for the worse. Remember that slogan, the one plagiarized from a letter that Revolutionary War hero General John Stark wrote in 1809: “Live free or die. Death is not the greatest of evils.” The state adopted “Live Free or Die” as the state motto in 1945. Then in 2018, the State Division of Travel and Tourism shortened it to “Live Free.” Check out their website.

New Hampshire likes to boast about being “first in the nation (#fitn).” Maybe for presidential primary elections, but not much else, especially cannabis. And it would seem such a natural fit: ‘first in the nation’ and ‘live free or die’ cries out for legal weed! Five years ago, I ran for state senate on a platform of “let’s be third-in-the-nation!” Voters and established politicians were not quite ready to be third. The state, however, has made some progress, allowing medical sales in 2013 and decriminalizing in 2017.

Roger Tilton talks to MJNews

New Hampshire’s problem with weed comes down to this: old people don’t like it. Polls in New Hampshire show residents approve adult-use legalization by a 3-1 margin. However, without citizens’ initiative laws allowing us to make or change laws through ballot measures, which is how most adult-use legal states became that way, New Hampshire doesn’t stand a chance—for a while. The legislature skews older, and old people (born prior to 1954) are the only segment of our population still opposed to legalization. Then there’s the governor problem. That would be Chris Sununu, born in 1974, and clueless. Had the state senate not “re-referred” the reefer-legalization bill, and had it made it out of the full senate—the state house already passed it—our boy-gov Chris vowed to veto. Why? I’d call it “Orange Syndrome.” Chris, who has visited the White House and the Orange One there at least ten times (at last count). And like the Orange One, our boy-gov is resistant to learning and to science.

Tilton2018art

As a West Coast transplant to NH in 2003, I have watched for 16 years now how patrician and provincial most politicians act. Slow to change, oblivious to what’s going on in this country, especially “out west.” Yes, progress moves from West to East in this country. New Hampshire will get there—eventually—probably on the coattails of the removal of cannabis as a Schedule One Narcotic from the Controlled Substances Act. And it would be so New Hampshire: not first in the nation, not live free or die, just follow the federal government—like the minimum wage. Yes, New Hampshire does not have a minimum wage law, meaning New Hampshire employers would pay as little as they could, like a-dollar-an-hour, but they have to pay at leas $7.25 an hour, thanks to the federal minimum wage laws. And that pretty much sums up New Hampshire.

And that Great Bay Oyster Reef restoration that I noted earlier, The Nature Conservancy is spearheading the effort, not the state of New Hampshire.

 

Roger Tilton’s Clarion Call To New Hampshire: “Let’s Be Tenth!”

By Roger Tilton

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Four years ago, I ran for state senate in the “First in the Nation Primary” state of New Hampshire on the theme: “Let’s be ‘Third in the Nation’ to legalize adult-use cannabis.” I lost. And so did New Hampshire. Since that election, every jurisdiction neighboring New Hampshire (save the Atlantic Ocean) has legalized adult-use cannabis: Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts and Canada.

My slogan as I seek election again this cycle: “Let’s be tenth!” Not really. New Hampshire’s legislative branch, called the General Court, consists of a 400-member House of Representatives and 24 Senators. All 424 of them get paid $200 per biennium, or a hundred bucks a year. Who can afford to run for office in New Hampshire? Certainly not the working class: maybe, retired people? Wealthy people? People who control their own schedule? And what do those three groups have in common? (Other than they’re from the Greatest Generation, the oldest demographic group still alive, and those who still vehemently, and overwhelmingly, have missed the truth about cannabis.)

Roger Tilton at MJBA

I’ll let you ponder that question for a moment. And combine your answer with the silliest political gambit I’ve come across: a “pledge.” A pledge that started just after the midpoint of the last century; a pledge to not propose, support or vote for any additional taxes. This silly pledge dates back to the Eisenhower Administration, according to NHPR, and according to figures from usgovernmentspending.com, the New Hampshire state budget reached $169 million in fiscal year 1957. Today the NH state budget is nearly $6 billion a year. Progress and time necessitate new ways to collect revenue and provide services. Period.

Now, back to the pledge: guess what it leads to? We know, we’ve seen it now for decades: bad government, and the passing of responsibility for funding government to local jurisdictions in hundreds of small New Hampshire towns—like the one where I live. Property taxes have doubled in just the past few years. New Hampshire now trails only New Jersey in highest property taxes in the country. What hasn’t doubled in New Hampshire recently? Income. Some employers still get away with paying workers—and I use the term loosely, more like indentured servants—$7.25 an hour! Because that’s the federal minimum, and you know, in the ‘Live Free or Die’ state, we don’t have laws requiring a minimum wage. And that means if you’re making $7.25 an hour, your employer would pay you less—if he or she could. Think about that: if employers in New Hampshire could pay you what the state pays its legislators, they would.

So local property taxes go up and services get gutted, while new revenue sources aren’t considered. What kind of government ‘Of the people, By the people, For the people’ is that? Screwed. I take some solace that the state of New Hampshire is not just out-of-touch on cannabis, the state of New Hampshire is out-of-touch on so much more. Which makes the motto seem more like ‘Live Free Of State Government Or Die (or Just Go Away)’.

For work, I act as an agent for legal cannabis companies seeking investor dollars. In that role, I’ve talked with 646 (and counting) legal cannabis companies and personally visited 94 of those in five different states. None of these companies is in New Hampshire, because our elderly, too-well-off legislature is stuck in Reefer Madness.

Last month I attended the National Cannabis Industry Association Business Summit and Expo in San Jose, which attracted +7,000 people and featured exhibits from nearly 500 legal cannabis companies. Now I’ve heard of the so-called Northeast or New England snobbery, but c’mon: Maine, Vermont and Massachusetts have seen the future, and it is legal cannabis.

Four years ago, I told voters in New Hampshire that we could take a leadership position in the legal cannabis industry. Yet our Governors, then Democrats, pooh-poohed the idea. Why? Heads in the sand and the inability to reason, to see trends, to read, to educate themselves. It’s too easy, as one candidate for County Prosecutor said, “It’s a (federal) schedule one narcotic.” Oh yeah? Well, that’s as antiquated an argument as is “Reefer Madness,” or the faux ‘War on Drugs.’

As I walked the exhibition floor in San Jose and talked with more than a hundred of those exhibitors, I felt sad for New Hampshire: so old and out of touch. Yet hopeful too, that a youngster like me (at 58!) can lead with passion on this issue and others—and convince New Hampshire voters to take part: Vote! Vote and you can have liberal policies that actually work and help people, and don’t tax those who can least afford it. In this divisive political climate, I urge you to stand with me! From the rooftops shout: liberal policies work! Liberal politics work! Legalized cannabis works! And on that last point, check out the success stories in Washington and Colorado: two states with five full years of adult-use cannabis legalization. Look at Massachusetts, retail adult-use stores slowly, and legally, coming on line. Look at California, where I was last month with 7,500 other business people making connections, signing contracts, and growing the industry.

I’m running this year to make New Hampshire tenth, or with the goings on in the legislatures in Connecticut, New Jersey and Maryland, and with voters in Michigan: maybe fourteenth. I’m also running to implore voters born after Nixon resigned to get involved, learn the issues in your area, and vote both smart, and responsibly. Vote! (Oh, and please: send a few bucks, help me win: www.secure.actblue.com/donate/tilton2018)


Roger Tilton worked for major Wall Street wirehouses and a boutique broker-dealer for 28 years; then on 4/20 2016, he founded Seattle-based Access Worldgroup LLC., where he has confidentially combined investors with investments in the legal cannabis industry. Check him out at www.acwg.co or www.accessRoger.com

New Hampshire: Governor Signs Bill Decriminalizing Marijuana Possession Offenses

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Republican Gov. Chris Sununu has signed legislation into law decriminalizing minor marijuana offenses.

The new law, which takes effect in mid-September, eliminates criminal penalties for the possession of up to 3/4 of an ounce of cannabis and/or up to five grams of hashish for those age 18 and older. First and second time offenders will face a $100 civil fine.

“New Hampshire will soon join the chorus of states that recognize the baseline level of dignity for it’s citizens and tourists who choose to consume marijuana,” said Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director. “Soon, throughout New England, individuals will be able to freely travel without the threat of jail time for possession of marijuana.”

New Hampshire is the only New England state that presently imposes criminal penalties for minor marijuana possession offenses.

Governor Sununu also signed separate legislation, HB 215, establishing a commission to “study the legalization, regulation, and taxation of marijuana.” However, many of those initially advocating for the commission, including the bill’s primary sponsor, withdrew their support for it following concerns that task force members largely consist of those opposed to any further changes in marijuana policy.

 

New Hampshire Senate Candidate Roger Tilton Visits MJBA HQ

WASHINGTON: New Hampshire Senate Candidate Roger Tilton, who first came to national prominence for including a marijuana leaf on campaign posters for his bid for New Hampshire State Senate in 2012, stopped MJBA HQ in Seattle last week to speak with MJ News Network’s David Rheins.

The pro-cannabis politician is back on the campaign trail — and still flying his cannabis banner high.  Tilton is running for the same 11th district seat in NH again in 2016, and was in Seattle to promote Pre-Fest: A Joint Fundraiser to Benefit Seattle Hempfest and the Eastward Expansion of Legal Cannabis.

Pre-Fest will be a combination of higher-level reform activism, a joint political and nonprofit fundraiser, a launch party for a new cannabis venture, with dabs, doobies, dinner and entertainment.   Organized by Dr. Keith Saunders, a prominent activist and sociologist who sits on the NORML Board of Directors and also serves as Tilton’s campaign manager, the exclusive benefit will take place at the Stables in the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle on Aug 17th.

Pre-Fest
Tilton and Rheins enjoyed a wide-ranging conversation about politics, pot and how New England’s legalization movement compares to the West Coast’s legal cannabis marketplace. Watch the video exclusively on Marijuana Channel One.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSOQa6byieY&w=420&h=315]

Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers Approved By State

NEW HAMPSHIRE:  Medical marijuana is one step closer to reality in New Hampshire.

The first applicants to open medical marijuana facilities in New Hampshire have been approved by the state, but it will likely be months before they open.

The Department of Health and Human Services announced Tuesday that Prime Alternative Treatment Centers of New Hampshire, Temescal Wellness, Inc., and Sanctuary ATC were selected to begin the post-selection registration process.

These three companies, chosen from a pool of 14 applicants, will be able to operate four medical marijuana dispensaries throughout the state.

New Hampshire House Votes To Decriminalize Possession Of Small Amounts Of Marijuana

NEW HAMPSHIRE:  There’s growing support for decriminalizing the possession of a small amounts of marijuana in New Hampshire.

The New Hampshire House voted overwhelmingly Wednesday in favor of a bill that makes carrying a half-ounce or less of cannabis a violation-level offense, like a speeding ticket.

The House has voted six times in its history to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana, but never by such a landslide margin. The measure received just under 300 votes.

Supporters said it’s a reflection of major change on what used to be a controversial issue.

Medical Marijuana Dispensary Proposed In Epping

NEW HAMPSHIRE:  A medical marijuana dispensary has been proposed in Epping, New Hampshire, after the state passed a law allowing seriously ill residents to use marijuana to treat their illnesses.

The Portsmouth Herald reports the plan will be presented to selectmen on Monday night at Epping Town Hall.

The program is being administered through the Department of Health and Human Services, which plans to license up to four facilities in the state.

The Epping proposal would include 8,000 square feet for growing the marijuana with another 4,000 square feet for offices and the dispensary.

 

 

New Hampshire Senate: Study Growing Marijuana At Home

NEW HAMPSHIRE: The Senate has voted to study whether people with serious illnesses should be allowed to grow marijuana at home rather than wait for dispensaries to open under New Hampshire’s medical marijuana law.

The Senate voted Thursday without debate to study the House bill. Last year, lawmakers considered including a home-grow provision in the medical marijuana law but took it out at Gov. Maggie Hassan‘s insistence. Supporters argue patients who qualify under the new law to use marijuana should not have to wait for the state to implement it.

Under the bill, licensed patients could possess up to two mature plants and 12 immature plants or seedlings. They had to report their cultivation locations to the state and lost cultivation rights once a dispensary opened within 30 miles of their home.

State House Live: N.H. House Overwhelmingly Defeats Marijuana Legalization Bill

NEW HAMPSHIRE:  The House stood strongly against legalizing marijuana this afternoon, 192-140. The 52 vote margin represents a major change since the House narrowly passed the bill in January and sent it to the Ways and Means Committee.

Gov. Maggie Hassan, a Democrat, had promised to veto any bill legalizing marijuana.

Supporters of the bill tried to convince their colleagues that many assumptions about marijuana are untrue. Rep. Romeo Danais, a Nottingham Republican, said studies show marijuana is not addictive, does not kill brain cells and is not a gateway drug.

Supporters also pointed to legalizing and taxing marijuana as a new source of revenue. Colorado is expected to bring in $100 million in tax revenue from marijuana this year, Danais said. Furthermore, recent polls from the UNH Survey Center show the majority of New Hampshire residents support legalizing marijuana. Legalizing it would bring sales off the black market and might limit teenagers from smoking it, supporters said.

Obama Ignores America’s Fastest-Growing Industry in State Of The Union Address

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: During last night’s State of the Union address, President Obama made the controversial declaration that he would sign an executive order raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour for federal contract workers. Notably absent from his speech was any mention of the fastest-growing industry in America, an industry that has consistently and voluntarily paid its workers above the minimum wage, even at lower skilled entry level positions. [Read more…]