Stop NH’s practice of saddling people with felony records for first-time drug possession
Under current law, first-time possession or use of schedule I, II, III, or IV controlled drugs (excluding marijuana) in New Hampshire is a class B felony, punishable by up to seven years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.
But saddling people with felony records for the mere possession of drugs does not make our communities safer. In addition to the potential of years of incarceration, the collateral harms of a felony conviction are tremendous: they inhibit pathways to rejoining communities, including making it more difficult for individuals to secure safe housing, meaningful education, and gainful employment.
And that's wrong. Our public safety resources should be focused on actually enhancing public safety.
Federally, and at the state level, drug sentences and fines steadily increased under the belief that eventually, we would find the number of years in prison that it took to increase public safety. The research is clear: harsh sentences, and incarceration in general, are not effective ways to make our communities safer.
HB 473 would reduce first-time possession or use of schedule I, II, III, or IV controlled drugs from a class B felony to an unclassified misdemeanor and subsequent violations from a class A to a class B felony. It is a step in the right direction.
Tell your state representative to rein in this counterproductive and harmful approach to addressing drug use and support HB 473!
Your State Representatives