“…with the right policy and framework in place, I stand ready to sign a legalization bill that puts the State of NH in the driver’s seat…” — Gov. Chris Sununu on legalizing recreational marijuana in New Hampshire.
Governor Chris Sununu’s statement this past week took many by surprise, including the scores of law enforcement personnel, drug addiction treatment advocates, and youth health policy advocates who have spent years educating him on how legalized recreational marijuana ruins every state it touches.
Governor Sununu is also under the false assumption that if only the right law were to be put in place, and signed into law by the right person, then New Hampshire would avoid the scourge that has befallen all other states. That thinking can be summed up in one word: Arrogance.
Here are two issues with Gov. Sununu’s perspective.
First, the quality of the law is not the problem; it’s the drug itself. When pot is legalized, it not only legitimizes the use of a high-potency, mind-altering substance, it starts a downward trend where more New Hampshire citizens would have easy access to a highly-addictive, federally-illegal substance.
Addiction does not care what laws you have on the books. Emergency rooms do not stop filling up with people experiencing a “Green Out” if pot is sold in state-run stores instead of in strip mall pot shops. Parents who struggle with marijuana usage don’t stop neglecting their children just because we have the right legislative mechanisms in place. The somber fact is that no one person can legislatively navigate this Pandora’s box of issues and somehow keep a lid on the damage it will cause to our citizens.
Second, all laws that one person carefully crafts will invariably be changed by others. And when money is a part of the conversation, those laws always get changed for the worse by people who are motivated by greed, grift, and profit.
And let’s talk for a quick minute about the so-called public demand for legalized marijuana. Emerson College polling of New Hampshire voters found that fewer than half wanted recreational marijuana legalized. That does not represent the resounding public clamor that many pro-pot legislators and Gov. Sununu keep touting.
As a former representative of a very bipartisan and somewhat left-leaning town, this was not even a topic that constituents brought up to me. And in all of the conversations I have had with parents about school budgets, not once did someone propose using marijuana sales as a way to generate new funding.
The whole premise of a public outcry for recreational marijuana is ludicrous, but it doesn’t stop activist legislators from using this argument as a human shield to make the laws they want and not make the laws the public actually needs.
If legislators really care about what the public wants, then I suggest they start listening to constituents as they cry out for parental rights in schools and an expansion of the Educational Freedom Account program. That’s what the parents of our next generation really want, not more access to marijuana.
Governor Sununu – you are stepping into a minefield that you think you can navigate successfully, but the solemn fact is that no one can.
Our state either jumps off the legalization cliff or it wisely stays on higher ground as it has so far. You have navigated medical marijuana and decriminalization already. However, if your recent advocacy leads to legalized recreational marijuana in New Hampshire, then you will forever be responsible for the harm it does to the Granite State.