In 2016, the ACLU and Human Rights Watch recommended the complete removal of criminal sanctions for use and possession of drugs for personal use at both the federal and state levels. A footnote adds, “decriminalization would still leave room for civil and administrative sanctions such as monetary fines. There are strong arguments in favor of depenalization as well.” Depenalization would remove all civil penalties as well, thus being better from the standpoint of human freedom than decriminalization.
The Drug War is just one part of the Criminal Justice System that is in need of reform. The current system is punitive and relies heavily on plea bargains. NHPR reports "something like 98 percent of convictions are obtained through plea bargains." In many criminal cases where a defendant refuses a plea, they generally receive a stiffer sentence than they were offered prior to trial. Additionally nearly 1 in 5 people who plead guilty are actually innocent. There's also the problem of laws that criminalize consensual behavior (gambling, polygamy, sex work, etc).
As Governor I will:
- Work with the Legislature to allow for the retail sale of cannabis;
- Work with the Legislature to implement Portugal-style depenalization of all other substances for personal use;
- Work with the Executive Council to pardon all nonviolent drug offenders;
- Work with the Legislature to allow those with previous drug convictions to work in the retail cannabis industry;
- Work with the Legislature to prohibit a judge from issuing a harsher sentence post-conviction than was offered by the Prosecutor prior to the start of the trial;
- Work with the Executive Council to pardon all nonviolent offenders of crimes without a victim;
- Work with the Legislature to repeal laws that prohibit activities solely involving consenting adults;
- Work with the Legislature to depenalize the ability of consenting adults to provide sexual services to clients for compensation, and the right of clients to purchase sexual services from consenting sex workers.
As Governor I will:
- Support any efforts to reduce taxation;
- Veto any legislation to increase any existing tax rate;
- Veto any legislation to implement any new forms of taxation.
Current law in New Hampshire makes it difficult for candidates outside of a qualified party to be placed on the ballot, and requires a political party to obtain 4% of the vote for either Governor or US Senate in order to remain ballot qualified; this threshold is double the national average. Further, NH is among one of only a handful of states that allows voters to register with a political party where party registration is not a factor in determining whether or not a party is ballot qualified. Our neighbors to the West allow any party that is organized to place their candidates on the general election ballot.
Additionally, despite claims by some that only residents of NH are able to vote, ‘residency’ is not the criteria needing to be met to be qualified to vote in NH. The ACLU-NH adds, “to vote in New Hampshire, one needs to be ‘domiciled’ here. Some argue such strict regulations and definitions are needed to prevent so-called “drive by voting”; however “the Secretary of State’s Office has produced no tangible evidence of ‘drive-by’ voter fraud actually occurring in New Hampshire.”
As Governor I will work with the Legislature to:
- Reduce the number of petitions needed for a minor party or independent candidate to get on the ballot;
- Reduce the threshold needed for a political party to remain on the ballot from 4% to 2%;
- Include voter registration as an alternative method of obtaining ballot access;
- Allow any qualified political party to determine its own method of choosing candidates;
- Repeal SB3 & HB1264;
- Expand the ability to register to vote without presenting yourself to the city or town clerk.