The Associated Press reports that New Hampshire’s Attorney General believes he has evidence to prove that four state representatives smoked with or bought marijuana from a former state representative in the statehouse, but none of the five will be facing any drug charges over the matter.
In New Hampshire law, possession of any amount of marijuana is a misdemeanor crime punishable by up to one year in jail. Possession for sale is a felony crime with prison sentences of up to three years or more.
Former state representative Kyle Tasker, whose iPad and Facebook data implicated him for smoking marijuana inside the statehouse, won’t earn any of New Hampshire’s more than 600 annual felony charges for marijuana sales to the four representatives, because the Attorney General believes that he couldn’t get a jury to convict on the charges.
Tasker’s electronic data was searched pursuant to warrants issued after he was arrested in March for the actual crime of harming other people; in his case, trying to lure a 14-year-old girl into sexual activity over the internet with offers of alcohol and marijuana.
Tasker’s home was also searched and officers found “vast amounts” of marijuana, hallucinogenic mushrooms, ecstasy, hash oil, and Suboxone. Because he is facing 4 felony charges for the sex crime and another 7 felonies for the drugs, the Attorney General accepts that Tasker will be held accountable.
Without prosecuting Tasker’s statehouse marijuana sales, however, there is no accountability in the form of criminal records and prison time for state representatives Amanda Bouldin, Joseph Lachance, Pamela Tucker, and Ted Wright. They won’t be four of the almost 3,000 people charged with marijuana possession crimes every year in New Hampshire.
(AP) Bouldin told investigators she didn’t buy marijuana from Tasker but smoked it with him in his car and was with him while he smoked it in the Statehouse, the attorney general’s report said. …
Lachance was the only one who made multiple drug purchases from Tasker, the report said. He told authorities he needed marijuana to help with chronic pain and other conditions and has since obtained a medical marijuana card. …
Tucker, of Greenland, said she bought marijuana from Tasker once, along with two vials of “elixir” containing marijuana for “sleep and energy,” according to the report. She said personal problems prompted her to medicate herself…
Wright, who is from Sanbornville and also did not run for re-election this year, told authorities he bought marijuana to help his wife cope with the debilitating side effects of her breast cancer treatment.
Three of the four state reps facing law enforcement accusations over marijuana crimes admit making illegal purchases at the statehouse to acquire marijuana for medical purposes. This is happening in a state that had a medical marijuana law on the books for almost three years before its first dispensary opened in May. One of the four state reps was there, presumably thrilled that he wouldn’t have to get his medicine from an alleged sex offender anymore.
(WMUR) “Today is a real important day to the people who need this medicine,” said state Rep. Joseph LaChance. “I have a long history of military injuries and unfortunately I was addicted to pain killers from the Veterans Administration, six pills and a fentanyl patch. I almost killed myself but cannabis saved my life.”
I’m not complaining about the Attorney General exercising discretion by not punishing the four state representatives who bought weed. Nobody deserves criminal punishment over marijuana, especially people using it as medicine.
I just wish the same discretion was offered to people who aren’t elected officials in New Hampshire, like Thomas Orkney.
(MPP) Two years after the so-called “effective date” of this legislation, the law has thus far been a total failure on both counts. The Marijuana Policy Project has heard from several patients who have been arrested since the law’s passage. In one shocking case, Thomas Orkney, a 58-year-old Navy veteran suffering with a traumatic brain injury, was arrested by Lebanon police and charged with a misdemeanor for possessing less than one-half ounce of cannabis in his apartment. This man was charged with a crime despite the fact that he showed police his medical marijuana certificate from another state and told them he had obtained the cannabis from a state-legal dispensary.
I also wish pot-smoking representatives would be more like Rep. Joseph Lachance. Not only does he publicly support his state’s medical marijuana program, he also co-sponsored marijuana decriminalization for the only New England state that still jails people for possession. But when he needed “Nay” votes to stop opponents from killing the bill, Reps. Amanda Bouldin and Pamela Tucker were ”Excused”. Rep. Ted Wright added his “Nay” and the bill was saved, only to die in the Senate later that week.