Seriously, New Hampshire? Why isn’t weed legal yet?

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“I make this drive from Manchester to Tyngsborough, Mass., for the same reason as many of my fellow-New Hampshire residents, whose license plates filled the parking lot of the marijuana dispensary that is located a hop and a skip from the Nashua border.”

grazianoToday, I took a drive. It’s a trip that I make monthly, and I take back roads to avoid the highways and make it into a private pilgrimage, playing selected tunes from Spotify while sipping an iced coffee.

Today, I listened to Steely Dan[1], which felt tonally appropriate.

I make this drive from Manchester to Tyngsborough, Mass., for the same reason as many of my fellow-New Hampshire residents, whose license plates filled the parking lot of the marijuana dispensary that is located a hop and a skip from the Nashua border.

And each time I visit the dispensary—although I discard all contraband at the border, of course—and pay the exorbitant sales tax on the merchandise, it begs the same nagging question: Why hasn’t New Hampshire legalized weed for recreational use yet? Why isn’t that tax money going toward funding my own state?

While every other New England state has hopped onto the gravy train, New Hampshire has remained obdurate in its crusade to….what exactly? Protect the children? Prevent crazed gangs of potheads from raping and pillaging while whacked out on weed?

Does anyone seriously still believe that marijuana is a gateway drug? Meanwhile, a bigger gateway drug can be happily purchased at state-sponsored liquor stores in plazas directly off the New Hampshire interstate.[2]

And if you’re looking for another gateway drug: Pull into a convenience store at said plaza and ask for a pack of cigarettes or a vape pen.

While no one with a brain would condone underage people using weed, it’s far more innocuous, health-wise, than having teenagers drink and then live with the consequences incurred after poor, booze-fueled decisions.

I’ve made a few bad ones along the way as well.

And while Governor Chris Sununu—who has, until recently, promised to veto any bill that would recreationally legalize the drug—remained steadfast in his objection to pot, he also publicly touted his DraftKings account and praised New Hampshire’s legalization of sports gambling. This is on top of the state-sponsored Keno and lottery.

As someone who lived in Las Vegas and saw it firsthand—and is, admittedly, a moderate sports gambler—I can say with some certainty that gambling addiction affects more families and children than marijuana, a drug that is largely non-addictive.

These inherent hypocrisies regarding the legalization of weed result in New Hampshire looking like a bunch of backward bumpkins incapable of forward-thinking, incapable of sorting through the “Go Ask Alice” propaganda aimed toward demonizing all drugs and secular, liberal agendas.

While it does seem that our state legislators are crawling toward full legalization, it makes it no less inane that New Hampshire citizens need to drive to Massachusetts, Vermont or Maine to purchase an innocuous herb that might also help ease their pain—whatever that pain may be.

By doing a simple sweep of the parking lot license plates at the dispensary—the vast majority of them reading “Live Free or Die”—it’s clear that people in New Hampshire have already cast their vote.

One can only hope the politicians are paying attention.

________

[1] Anyone unfamiliar with the origins of the band’s name, I suggest reading William S. Burrough’s novel “Naked Lunch.”

[2] If that’s not a mixed message about drunk driving, I’m not sure what is.

About this Author

Nathan Graziano

Nathan Graziano lives in Manchester with his wife and kids. He's the author of nine collections of fiction and poetry. His most recent book, Born on Good Friday was published by Roadside Press in 2023. He's a high school teacher and freelance writer, and in his free time, he writes bios about himself in the third person. For more information, visit his website: http://www.nathangraziano.com