New Hampshire State Senator Threatens To Narc Out Pro-Pot Student, For Freedom (Updated)
Hey, kids, here's a new frontier in "constituent service" -- when a college student wrote a letter to New Hampshire state Sen. Andy Sanborn (not to be confused with the "dick in a box" guy) arguing for the decriminalization of marijuana, the good lawmaker sent back a personal reply -- and even did the student the favor of looking up his name andthreatening to report the kid's pro-weed opinions to the organization that had given him a scholarship. This is the sort of responsiveness and meddling that we so seldom see in our big impersonal government anymore.
So what happened was that "Michael Maly" sent a nice polite email to Sen. Sanborn in support of decriminalization or legalization of marijuana, arguing that the state's current penalties for possession are too harsh, and pointing out that a possession conviction for even a small quantity of marijuana can result in loss of federal student aid, while "criminals convicted of serious crimes like rape and murder and technically eligible for federal student aid without restrictions." It's your basic "please reconsider your position and vote to decriminalize pot" letter, and it includes a nice reference to New Hampshire's "Live Free or Die" tradition of libertarianism. The message closed with a call for action, just like the "how to write a letter" instructions suggest (we'll overlook the comma splice because he seems like a nice kid):
It is clear the war against marijuana use has failed. It is time to stop ruining people’s lives and pumping money into the black market and start regulating a substance that is far less addictive and harmful than alcohol and tobacco. Your job is to represent the people of NH not your personal beliefs, it’s time to listen to the people.
Beyond the mention of student aid, Maly doesn't appear to have explicitly said that he is a student (perhaps the email was sent from an "edu" address -- the source article in The Weed Blog doesn't mention).
Sen. Sanborn got right back to Maly, because he is a responsive state legislator. That reference to setting aside his "personal beliefs" didn't go over so well:
Thanks for your email and thoughts, although I may ask that you consider that last sentence. I’m guessing you don’t know much about me, my values and what I have been working on in the legislature. Frankly, your suggestion that I do not listen shows ignorance and I find it insulting. There sure is one way to insure a legislator votes against your wishes and that is to insult them………….. I’m thinking if I call the [organization you received a scholarship from] and ask their opinion on legalization, they may have a different opinion (not to mention may be asking you for their scholarship money back…).
I may suggest you first take the time to actually read the legislation, understand it and it’s total ramifications before you comment on it as the bulk of your argument is not considered in it and it makes you look like nothing more than a college freshman who just wants to get high at any cost. Thanks, Senator Andy Sanborn. [Bold added by Weed Blog]
He seems nice! We need more legislators whose first response to an opinion they don't like is to remind the constituent "I'm a thug in a position of power -- I can make your life a living hell."
The bloggers asked Maly how Sanborn knew about the scholarship; he said, “He must have looked me up. It was recently and it was in the newspapers, so I assume that’s how he figured it out.”
And of course, we suppose we should point out that Maly's email said nothing about using marijuana himself -- the good senator just wants to make the kid repay a scholarship for having an opinion and, of course, for the unforgivable arrogance of insulting a state senator.
Congratulations, Sen. Sanborn! For going above and beyond in the field of petty threats aimed at a constituent who disagrees with you, you are our latest nominee for Wonkette's coveted Legislative Shitmuffin of the Year. Just don't tell Sallie Mae we wrote this, 'kay?
Update/clarification: Looks like "Michael Maly" is a pseudonym, a detail left out of the Weed Blog story. Hat tip to the twitter user who pointed that out!
Follow Doktor Zoom on Twitter. He really enjoyed pretending it was 1975 while typing "narc."
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.