BY: Citizens Count
In response to the state’s decision to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana, some towns are taking action on the local level to keep pot out of their communities.
Have bong? Get fined.
The Dublin, New Hampshire Board of Selectmen recently adopted a town ordinance that levels a fine for possessing drug paraphernalia—anything used to consume, transport, or package illicit drugs. Those caught with such items are subject to a $150 fine. Jaffrey and Lebanon have had similar laws in effect for decades.
Marijuana decriminalization in NH
In September, state law made possession of less than three-quarters of an ounce of marijuana a civil violation rather than a full-fledged criminal misdemeanor. Law enforcement officials argue the state’s updated marijuana policy is hard to enforce because, as Dublin’s police chief put it, police “aren’t out there with scales weighing everything.”
Pros and cons of town-level drug paraphernalia bans
Proponents of local drug paraphernalia laws believe towns should have a say in how to punish illicit drug use. They argue such laws give greater flexibility to law enforcement. Dublin’s police officers and prosecutors can use the ordinance to discourage people from using recreational pot in the community. When it comes to bongs and glass pipes, police can take action against small-time weed users without worrying about how much pot a person possesses.
Opponents say paraphernalia ordinances are no more than an unfair excuse to target otherwise-law-abiding cannabis users. They argue that recreational marijuana use is becoming more widely accepted, with some states going so far as to legalize pot. Therefore, communities should be repealing these kinds of outdated ordinances, not creating more. Others also feel it is wrong to target the paraphernalia rather than the illicit drugs themselves, since pipes and hookahs can be used to smoke tobacco.
What do you think? Should more NH towns ban glass pipes, bongs, and other drug paraphernalia? Leave a comment—yes or no, and why— in the space below.