According to this news story from New Hampshire Public Radio, marijuana decriminalization has helped the State Forensic Laboratory massively cut its backlog on testing of seized substances from controlled drug arrests. That is good news for the justice system, and good news for the people of New Hampshire.
Since September 16, 2017, possession of 3/4 ounce or less of marijuana or cannabis products has been "decriminalized," meaning its still illegal, but its not a crime, just a non-criminal, non-arrestable infraction, like a speeding ticket. You can read more about decriminalization here.
Previously, the Forensic Laboratory had a backlog of 3,600 cases - a tremendous burden for the analysts working there. Common sense will tell you that a hopeless backlog of cases might lead to "cutting corners" to try to keep up with the work - a risk for our criminal justice system that we cannot afford. But more importantly, we cannot afford the tremendous human costs of the war on marijuana, which has been going on for more than 60 years and has done nothing but cause massive human suffering and prop up the "prison industrial complex" in America, at massive cost to taxpayers.
Now, the Forensic Laboratory's backlog is down to about 1600 cases. Our own "backlog" of intake for marijuana possession cases is also way down at Lothstein Guerriero, PLLC, and we are very happy about that. The best thing that can happen to our cannabis-using clients and their families... is to be left alone. We commend the legislature for this bipartisan legislation, supported by both Republicans and Democrats, to decriminalize marijuana last year. Next step, hopefully: Legalization!
-- Ted Lothstein
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