Just days after the New Hampshire House approved a bill that would remove the threat of arrest for low-level marijuana possession, a man in jail on a possession charge died of unknown causes in his cell.
A homeless man jailed for marijuana possession and unable to come up with the $100 cash bail was found dead in his cell at the Valley Street Jail in Manchester Sunday.
Jeffrey Pendleton, 26, was found unconscious in his cell during a routine head count. Efforts to revive him were unsuccessful.
In a press release Monday, jail officials say there were no apparent signs of distress.
An investigation into the cause of death is ongoing.
Pendleton had been in jail since Wednesday, a day after Nashua police arrested him on a misdemeanor count of marijuana possession.
While the cause of death is currently unknown, this young man might still be alive if he hadn't been jailed for possessing a substance that is objectively safer than alcohol.
We need to make sure this never happens again in the Granite State. If you are a New Hampshire resident, please contact your senators and urge them to support decriminalizing marijuana possession.
Tuesday’s primary election in New Hampshire produced remarkably positive results for those of us who care about reforming the state’s marijuana laws.
The New Hampshire Senate has been the biggest roadblock facing reformers since the House first approved a decriminalization bill in 2008. This year, with four out of 24 senators retiring, the balance of power finally appears to be tipping in our favor. Here are a couple of examples:
- In Senate District 15, reform advocate Dan Feltes (D-Concord) won by a large margin Tuesday against a candidate who was wishy-washy on marijuana policy. Feltes is now very likely to replace a retiring senator who has been, at best, a fair-weather friend on medical marijuana.
- In Senate District 12, a reform advocate won a close race against a prohibitionist. Former Rep. Kevin Avard (R-Nashua), who voted for ending marijuana prohibition in 2012, defeated a current representative who has voted against both medical marijuana and decriminalization. Avard will face incumbent Sen. Peggy Gilmour (D-Nashua), whose record has been inconsistent on marijuana policy, in November.
Finally, although Andrew Hemingway did not win the nomination for governor, he did receive a respectable 37%, despite being outspent by 10:1. In the final debate, Hemingway made a strong case for decriminalization, and eventual primary winner Walt Havenstein took an open-minded position, saying “I'm in favor of at least looking at that … I certainly would consider it.”
Many more races will be decided on November 4. We will post a general election voter guide soon.