Letters: Representative Herbert Should Vote His Conscience

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To the Editor:

On Wednesday, June 1, the House considered SB 485, a bill to provide an additional $1.5 million in funding for the Granite Hammer program — an expansion of the failed War on Drugs. Among my five state representatives, only one supported the bill: Rep. Chris Herbert.

State Rep. Chris Herbert 1st term in the NH House Represents Manchester Wards, 4,5,6,7.
State Rep. Chris Herbert serving 1st term in the NH House Represents Manchester Wards, 4,5,6,7, and also as Ward 4 Alderman.

This surprises me, as Rep. Herbert has been seen in the comments section on the Union Leader website denouncing the War on Drugs. Why is he supporting it with his vote?

On January 29th, the Union Leader published an article titled “7th ‘Granite Hammer’ sweep nets 12, $22,000, guns, drugs in Manchester.” In this bust, only two of the seven whose charges were listed were actually charged with selling drugs. The remainder, presumably, were simply users. Rep. Herbert commented on this Granite Hammer article, saying, “The War on Drugs is expensive and ineffective,” and he advocated for full decriminalization of drugs, as seen in Portugal. Rep. Herbert’s vote to fund the Granite Hammer program apparently does not reflect his actual opinion.

I would like for my representative to vote his conscience on this issue, but he has not done so. Who influenced him to act in such an inconsistent way? I hope that in the future, my representative will vote for positive, constructive change instead of bending to political pressures.

Chip Spangler

Manchester, NH

Chip Spangler


Chip Spangler is a resident of central Manchester. At various times, he has worked as a computer technician, academic tutor, semi-professional musician, and paramedic.

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About Carol Robidoux 5647 Articles
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  • Sending more money and cops into the War on Drugs is like sending more soldiers into Vietnam in 1972. Everyone knows the war can’t be won. The waste of blood and treasure simply must stop.

  • beezer

    My vote (beezer is a pseudonym I no longer use) was simply to allow a package of three different bills to pass, as was the legislative intention, to begin what is likely to be a long haul fighting opioid addiction. There are still drug dealers, obviously. This bill had about $1.5 million in funding throughout the state to try and track down the dealers. Will users get caught up in this effort? Will these users end up in prison? Yes and Yes. Will they be charged and incarcerated alongside the dealers? I certainly hope not . The Granite Hammer branding is unfortunate. And smoking marijuana is listed, which is also unfortunate. Two steps forward, one step backwards. The trend is clear, we are moving away from the war on drugs towards a full on rehabilitation effort where addicts can quit of their own free will.

    • mdak06

      With respect, as long as we keep giving money to law enforcement to fight this war, we’re going to have lots of drug problems.

      One of the reasons that people overdose and die is that they shift from one dealer to another, and are unaware of the new dealer’s purity/quality of drug. The possibility of this is obvious when a dealer gets arrested. While I can understand why one wants to arrest the dealers, it also ends up harming the addicts too.

      When we go to a place like CVS or Rite Aid or Hannaford (or any typical drugstore), we can generally trust that those drug products are going to have the same quality and purity each time we purchase them, regardless of where we get them. When an illegal black market is created by prohibition, it is out of the reach of any regulation. When users are periodically forced to change their drug provider (via dealer arrests), it essentially guarantees that we’ll continue to have drug overdose deaths, because there are no standards that exist for those drugs that they purchase on the black market.

      One can certainly be against the drug war without condoning either drug use or drug dealing. Recognizing that prohibition does not work – as you have done – is a courageous step and is the first step towards ending this madness.

      My understanding is that other monies have been allocated for treatment and rehabilitation. In Manchester, the “Safe Station” program is one possible approach that helps users to help themselves without branding them criminals.

      You have said the right things when you point out that the war on drugs is a failure. Don’t let any political pressure sway you away from doing the right thing. As one of your constituents, I urge you to vote against funding the drug war.