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Marijuana Possession Is Still Illegal in New Hampshire; Most Marijuana-Related Charges Are Misdemeanors


Interviewer: Please give us an overview of drug-related cases.

David Horan: With respective drug cases, years ago in the first half of my career, I was one of the prosecutors in the Hillsboro County Superior Court.  For a number of years, I was one of the contact people for the SIU Special Investigation Unit of the Manchester Police Department.

Whenever they were going to go to a judge with a search warrant application, they would bring the application and the affidavit to my office for me to review. I would provide suggestions as to what additional facts they might need so as to lock down the probable cause finding that’s necessary for the judge to issue the warrant.  I also gave them advice with respect to how they would be able to execute the warrant and those types of issues.

We attempted to make the search warrants “bulletproof.” This was so they would hold up when defense attorneys representing the individuals that got arrested from the search warrant would attempt to suppress the probable cause. We needed the warrants to stand up upon judicial review in the Superior Court.  That was in my prior career

In my current career, I have represented several hundred individuals that have been accused of drug offenses.  There are two types of drug offenses.  Marijuana is still illegal in New Hampshire and there are a variety of cases that will arise.  Possession of marijuana, transportation of marijuana, and driving under the influence of marijuana are misdemeanors.

Drug-Related Convictions Can Impact College Students That Are Receiving Financial Aid

The charges have a variety of consequences for young people, especially students in college that receive federal student aid.  I’ve represented dozens of those individuals.

Those cases are relatively easy to resolve. The trials take place in the District Court, now known as the Circuit Court, and that the penalties for marijuana are significantly smaller than what penalties could be imposed for more serious drugs.

I’ve also represented individuals in both the Superior Court of the State of New Hampshire in several different counties.  I have also represented individuals in the United States District Court for New Hampshire with respect to felony drug offenses.  That would be sale of controlled drugs.  The charges include possession with intent to sell and that would be simple possession of certain drugs, possession of which is a felony.

Which Drugs Are Commonly Attributed to Drug-Related Charges?

Interviewer: You’ve mentioned marijuana and you’ve mentioned there are harder drugs out there.  Can you down a list of what kinds of drugs are you seeing involved in drug cases these days?

Pain Medication and Heroin Are Commonly Attributed to Drug-Related Cases in New Hampshire

David Horan: Currently there’s an epidemic in New Hampshire with respect to the pain-killing medications and heroin.  I’m speaking from a public safety point of view. There are an outrageous number of heroin cases that are arising nowadays, especially drug overdoses.  With the pain-killing medications, people have legitimate prescriptions but then get addicted. They still feel a need for the medication after the prescription expires and after it’s no longer medically necessary for them to have a script for the medication.

At that point, they go into the street market and buy the illegal drugs which are the oxycodone and similar drugs.  There are a significant number of people that get arrested for those types of drugs.  People do get arrested for cocaine as well.  All those are felony charges and all those can end up in the Superior Court.

Interviewer: What about the hallucinogenic drugs?

David Horan: I’ve not seen very many LSD cases here in New Hampshire.  The crystal meth is one of the more popular drugs nowadays.
One of the hotels a short distance away from my office caught on to the fact that some people had set up a crystal meth lab in one of their rooms in the second day or third day they were there.