Vermont Law Nullifies Federal Hemp Ban

MONTPELIER, Vt. – In June, Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin signed Senate Bill 157 (S157) into law legalizing hemp cultivation, nullifying the federal prohibition on growing the crop.

Industrial hemp falls under the Controlled Substance Act of 1970. It technically remains legal to grow industrial hemp, but farmers must obtain a permit from the DEA, a nearly impossible feat. The new state law opens the door for Vermont farmers to grow it anyway.

Hemp is an agricultural product which may be grown as a crop, produced, possessed, and commercially traded in Vermont pursuant to the provisions of this chapter. The cultivation of hemp shall be subject to and comply with the requirements of the accepted agricultural practices adopted under section 4810 of this title.

The new Vermont law requires hemp farmers to register with the state and allows for state inspections. It also stipulates the THC level (the active ingredient in hemp’s cousin, marijuana) must remain below .03 percent. The registration process will also include a disclosure statement letting the farmer know hemp production violates federal law – essentially a “buyer beware” provision.

“The reason we want to push for a change is that hemp is potentially a valuable crop,” Rep. Caroline Partridge, chairwoman of the Vermont House Committee on Agriculture and Forest Products told the Huffington Post. “People want to grow it. Hemp oil is a valuable product, and there’s so much of the hemp plant that can be used for very, very productive purposes.”

Industrial hemp has literally thousands of uses, including production of paper, clothing, cosmetics, construction materials, automobile parts and foods. It also has incredible potential as a biofuel.

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Why the 2,776 NSA Violations Are No Big Deal

by Ron Paul

Thanks to more documents leaked by Edward Snowden, this time to the Washington Post, we learned last week that a secret May 2012 internal audit by the NSA revealed 2,776 incidents of “unauthorized” collection of information on American citizens over the previous 12 months. They are routinely breaking their own rules and covering it up.

The Post article quotes an NSA spokesman assuring the paper that the NSA attempts to identify such problems “at the earliest possible moment.” But what happened to all those communications intercepted improperly in the meantime? The answer is, they were logged and stored anyway.

We also learned that the NSA routinely intercepts information from Americans while actually targeting foreigners, and that this is not even considered a violation. These intercepts are not deleted once discovered, even though they violate the government’s own standards. As the article reports, “once added to its databases, absent other restrictions, the communications of Americans may be searched freely.”

The Post article quotes an NSA official explaining that the thousands of unauthorized communications intercepts yearly are relatively insignificant. “You can look at it as a percentage of our total activity that occurs each day. You look at a number in absolute terms that looks big, and when you look at it in relative terms, it looks a little different.”

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Nullification: The Natural Way to Grow the Economy

So often, when some people think of Nullification, they think of a formal process involving a smaller government or individual taking action by producing documents, or sending requests, or petitioning to nullify the action of a larger government. I have to admit that much of the work I do with Florida Tenth Amendment Center follows that exact template. The “formal process” idea of nullification was certainly in view when Jefferson and Madison formulated the Principles of ’98 and encouraged states to block unconstitutional federal acts. So, that’s one way to nullify, to be sure.

However, Rosa Parks nullified laws without issuing a single formal document, and there are certainly  many other examples of personal nullification, both informal and frequent.  So, we see that nullification is hardly a formal process. It’s any act or set of acts the makes a law null, void or simply unenforceable.

We tend to think of nullification as simply stopping a government act, but would you believe that nullification can actually BOOST the economy?

In a recent TED video by writer Robert Neuwirth, he talks about the power of the “informal economy.”  He also has some other terms for this “informal economy,” like “System D” and “DIY.”  He’s talking about the economy of people unhindered by government edicts restricting human interaction. What I believe he means to communicate is how vast the power of the people’s economy can be when not regulated through codified governmental laws, licenses, patents and other government regulating processes.  He’s not saying the laws don’t exist, but his experience is that  individuals and businesses can’t succeed by knowledge of, or submission to, all of those regulations. So, they essentially nullify them through non-compliance.

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An Anti-Federalist’s Purpose for Proposing the Supremacy Clause

As the Philadelphia Convention concluded,  55 delegates returned to their home states and began the promotion/demotion phase of the ratification process. This process commenced with the convention delegates addressing the citizens of each state and each state’s ratification delegation.  Each Framer communicated his comprehension of the legal elements of the charter negotiated for during this historic endeavor.

The delegates generally represented two distinct factions known as the Federalists, supporters of ratification, and the Anti-Federalists, those opposed to the proposed constitution. Delegates regularly traded intellectual barbs through written prose promulgated in the local periodicals of the states.

An occurence which became commonplace during this process was Maryland’s Attorney General, Luther Martin responding to letters written by the Landholder,  a nom de plum (pen name), utilized by fellow Philadelphia Convention delegate Oliver Ellsworth of Connecticut,  in which Mr. Ellsworth attempted to minimize Martin’s contributions and negatively impact his service.

Martin’s letter was published in the Baltimore Maryland Gazette on March 19, 1788.

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