It seems that the entire nation is turning one way, on one particular subject, faster than you can say “puff, puff, pass”.
That issue, of course, is the legalization of marijuana. Its rampant use and ubiquitous association with the hippy culture of the 1960’s has given way to an entire army of pot aficionados who tout the drug’s use for everything from Parkinson’s Disease to joint pain. With a majority of our states now offering some form of decriminalized, or outright legal, marijuana, the legal tide looks to be turning mightily.
Now, New Hampshire has fallen in line.
“On Wednesday, the New Hampshire House passed a bill that would decriminalize marijuana possession in the state. Passage into law would take a step toward further nullifying federal cannabis prohibition in practice in the state.
“Along with 11 bipartisan co-sponsors, Rep. Robert Cushing (D-Hampton) introduced House Bill 640 (HB640) to reduce ‘the penalty for possessing one ounce or less of marijuana to a violation… allowing offenders to pay fines by mail will result in less time and resources spent on such cases, allowing police and courts to spend more time and resources dealing with serious crimes.’
“HB640 would take possession ‘of one ounce or less of marijuana or 5 grams or less of hashish’ from a criminal misdemeanor to a civil infraction punishable by ‘a minimum of $350 for a first offense and $500 for a second or subsequent offense.’ Any New Hampshire resident possessing “more than one ounce of marijuana or more than 5 grams of hashish” would be charged with a criminal misdemeanor, rather than a felony.”
The legalization of marijuana, or the “end of marijuana prohibition” as followers of the trend call it, seemed like an absolute absurdity a mere three decades ago as the D.A.R.E. program and Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign were branded into the synapses of every pre-millennial Generation Y-er.
Now, the impetus behind legalization is much more refined, and not simply the “hey, I’m not hurting anyone over here, man” argument of the guys in tie dye. Pot legalization for medicinal use has helped to curb an epidemic of opioid addiction and overdose in states where it is available, and states who boast recreational legality are seeing gargantuan tax boosts both from residents and toking tourists alike.