US Conference of Mayors to Feds: Stop Interfering with State Marijuana Laws

The U.S. Conference of Mayors resolved last week to support “states setting their own marijuana policies without federal interference” and specifically called on President Obama to stand down on the crackdowns.

“The United States Conference of Mayors urges the President of the United States to reexamine the priorities of federal agencies to prevent the expenditure of resources on actions that undermine the duly enacted marijuana laws of states.”

The entire resolution is available HERE.

The resolution featured 18 cosponsors, including Seattle, Wash., Mayor Mike McGinn; Las Vegas, Nev., Mayor Carolyn Goodman; Oakland, Calif., Mayor Jean Quan and Alexandria, Va., Mayor William Euille.  Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker even supported the resolution. That’s worth noting, considering Utah isn’t exactly a haven for pot enthusiasts. Sales of any amount calls for five years incarceration plus a $5,000 fine under state law.

“The bipartisan resolution we passed today simply asks the federal government to give us time to implement these new policies properly and without interference. Cities and states across the country are enacting forward-thinking reforms to failed marijuana prohibition policies, and for the federal government to stand in the way is wasteful and contrary to the wishes of the American people,” Aurora, Colo., Mayor Steve Hogan said in a press release.

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Non-compliance Works: Statistics are Proving Our Point

We can neuter the feds simply by refusing to join them on the playground.

There is a lot of talk these days about how liberty yields to “security” and how government has grown in size and power with the “War on Terror.” But in reality, this national security state has existed as a permanent installation since the Cold War. And its not just foreign wars driving the militarized state. The decades long War on Drugs has contributed as much, if not more.

But here is some good news: recently released data on the “Drug War” indicates  so-called security may, in fact, be yielding to liberty!

“Decreased availability of local law enforcement personnel to assist in eradication efforts” is one of the primary concerns for the unconstitutional Drug Enforcement Administration. Federal statistics showed a drop of 60 percent  in the amount of marijuana destroyed. In 2009, over 10 million plants were seized, but in 2012 that number fell below four million.

Buried in this statistic, we see the power and potential of state nullification. With 19 states authorizing medical marijuana, and Washington and Colorado legalizing weed for recreational use, we see the carpet slipping out from under the feds. Each time a state takes control of its own marijuana policy, it has less incentive to cooperate with the feds in eradicating weed. That leaves the DEA to operate on its own. And it simply can’t do it. The feds lack the funding and manpower to control marijuana in all 50 states against the will of the people.

And the will of the people has turned against the war on marijuana. A Pew Research poll shows 59 percent of Democrats and 57 percent of Republicans think the feds should back off enforcing federal drug laws in states with legalized marijuana. The lack of public will translates to a lack of political will. With states facing tight budgets, officials simply won’t waste resources helping the feds enforce unconstitutional and unpopular acts. In California and other states, the funds simply aren’t there to lend support to the feds. Even if people don’t embrace, or even understand, the principles of nullification, the effect is the same: the federal “laws” become unenforceable.

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California Senate Unanimously Asks Feds’ Permission to Legalize Hemp

After a veto from Governor Jerry Brown in 2011, another hemp legalization bil unanimously passed the California Senate on Tuesday, June 4.

SB 566 was written to acquiesce Governor Brown’s out-of-touch constitutional ignorance. Under the current bill, hemp production would only begin once California receives permission from the federal government.

“We feel confident that California will finally have an industrial hemp law later this year ensuring that California farmers are ready and able to cultivate hemp upon federal approval,” Patrick Goggin, California legal counsel for the industry group Vote Hemp said.

Should SB 566 be construed as some mechanism to make the federal government act? Hardly. But it does indicate the growing support for hemp production, not only in California, but across the United States.

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Prosper, Texas Resolves to Preserve the Second Amendment

PROSPER, Texas – On May 14, the town council voted unanimously in favor of a resolution to “recognize and affirm the constitutional right to keep and bear arms,” joining other Texas communities standing up for the Second Amendment.

The council took up the measure after Ann Lieber and another member of the Prosper Tea Party shared a similar resolution passed by the Rockwall city council with Mayor Ray Smith.

“We did have a lot of residents that were very interested in having the council support this amendment,” he said. “The council obviously supports the Constitution, but it was important to the community that we support this amendment.”

Resolution 13-29 grew out of a discussion item at an April meeting. When several citizens showed up to speak favorably, it became a department item. Now Mayor Smith is working with town manager Harlan Jefferson to spread the word to all Texas lawmakers.

“Let’s get it out to everybody since we are Americans and we are Texans,” he said.

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Rockwall, Texas Resolves to Preserve Second Amendment

ROCKWALL, Texas – The City Council of Rockwall  voted 5-2 in favor of a resolution “to protect and defend the Constitutional right to keep and bear arms” during its meeting in March.

A Dallas TV station called the packed out meeting “a grass roots show of support for gun rights.”

A Rockwall High School senior and future Air Force Academy cadet joined at least nine other residents speaking in favor of the resolution.

“Our rights — specifically our Second Amendment rights — are being threatened by the federal government,” Zach Maginnis said. “As a citizen of Rockwall, I’d like to see my hometown lead by example and prepare a public response to these threats.”

Rockwall joins a wave of Texas cities and counties passing resolutions against the federal government and its infringement on the Second Amendment. Rockwall joined Cooke and Bandera Counties, as well as the cities League City, Gonzales, Temple, Tiki Island, Lake Worth, and most recently Prosper.

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TSA “Unlawful Contact” Criminalized in Maine Bill

How many times must we hear that line of pretended outrage “Has the TSA gone too far?” before something is done about the tormentful pat downs to which America’s most vulnerable are subjected?

Maine Representative Aaron Libby (R-Waterboro), no stranger to the Tenth Amendment Center, is sponsoring legislation to protect people from the Transportation Security Administration’s screening policy when it goes too far. LD 841 would create Class D crimes for officers who make “unlawful contact” during a security screening for access to public facilities, exempting prisons. Unlawful contact is defined in the bill as:

touching of the anus, genitals, breasts, buttocks or inner thigh directly or through clothing or touching in a manner that would be offensive to a reasonable person.

LD 841 is currently in the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee and has eight co-sponsors. One of them is Representative, Diane Russell, a Democrat who doesn’t expect partisanship to be an issue in advancing this legislation.

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Two hemp legalization bills introduced in California

Two bills have been introduced in California to nullify unconstitutional federal laws by legalizing hemp, the industrial companion to the conscious-altering plant marijuana. Thomas Jefferson would be proud that his pastime of hemp farming, criminalized by the federal government since 1970, is being revived by 16 state legislatures this year.

California’s Assembly Bill 1137 from Asm. Allan Mansoor and Senate Bill 566 from Sen. Mark Leno make an exception for industrial hemp under the legal definition of “marijuana.” They stipulate a .03% THC potency limit, about 1/50 of the amount found in medical marijuana. Both bills cite these economic facts surrounding the issue:

(d) According to a study commissioned by the Hemp Industries Association, sales of industrial hemp products in the United States have grown steadily since 1990 to more than two hundred fifty million dollars ($250,000,000) in 2005, increasing at a rate of approximately twenty‑six million dollars ($26,000,000) per year.

(e) California manufacturers of hemp products currently import from around the world tens of thousands of acres’ worth of hemp seed, oil, and fiber products that could be produced by California farmers at a more competitive price, and the intermediate processing of hemp seed, oil, and fiber could create jobs in close proximity to the fields of cultivation.

Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a similar bill in October 2011 citing federal supremacy. SB 566 acquiesces to Brown’s constitutional ignorance making it unenforceable “unless authorized under federal law.” AB 1137 is not self-limiting in that way.

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New Maryland Bill Would Nullify Unconstitutional Federal Laws on Marijuana

On Feb. 21, Maryland Delegate Curt Anderson introduced a bill that would allow the state to regulate marijuana like alcohol. HB 1453, was referred to the Rules and Executive Nominations committee.

Like Washington and Colorado did in 2012, federal marijuana laws within the borders of Maryland would be nullified.

Described as an Act concerning Criminal Law – Marijuana – Regulation, Penalties, and Taxation, HB 1453 reads in part:

(A) EXCEPT AS OTHERWISE PROVIDED IN THIS SUBTITLE, A PERSON WHO IS 21 YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER IS EXEMPT FROM ARREST, CIVIL OR CRIMINAL PENALTY, SEIZURE OR FORFEITURE OF ASSETS, DISCIPLINE BY A STATE OR LOCAL LICENSING BOARD, AND STATE PROSECUTION FOR THE FOLLOWING ACTS:
(1) ACTUALLY AND CONSTRUCTIVELY USING, OBTAINING, PURCHASING, TRANSPORTING, OR POSSESSING:

(I) 1 OUNCE OR LESS OF MARIJUANA AND THREE OR FEWER MARIJUANA SEEDLINGS OR CUTTINGS; OR

(II) A MIXTURE OR PREPARATION OF MARIJUANA, INCLUDING 5 GRAMS OR LESS OF HASHISH, 16 OUNCES OF MARIJUANA–INFUSED PRODUCT IN SOLID FORM, OR 72 OUNCES OF MARIJUANA–INFUSED PRODUCT IN LIQUID FORM, AND THREE OR FEWER MARIJUANA SEEDLINGS OR CUTTINGS;

Delegate Anderson’s legislation taxes $50 per ounce of marijuana and licenses as well as regulates the cultivators, distributors, wholesalers, and retailers. Collections go to substance abuse prevention programs. HB 1453 has garnered three co-sponsors, Delegates Jill Carter, Cheryl Glenn, and Nathaniel Oaks, all Democrats. Both the House and State Senate are 2/3 controlled by the Democratic Party, but this bill cannot be expected to pass on partisan lines.

Saying no to the unconstitutional War on Drugs, or marijuana prohibition at the very least, and reasserting control at the state level, where it belongs, is the duty of all legislators regardless of affiliation.

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California Bill Would Nullify Drone Spying

They’re coming. Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) as they’re otherwise called, have been cleared to use the public airspace since the Federal Aviation Administration Modernization and Reform Act passed last year. It is now up to the states to integrate this emerging technology with handouts to pay for them from the Department of Homeland Security. In California, Assembly members Jeff Gorell, a Republican, and Steven Bradford, a Democrat, have teamed up to severely limit the use of drones by state and local law enforcement as well as private individuals.

AB 1327, similar to the Privacy Protection Act, stipulates when a warrant is required:

9 (b)  A law enforcement agency may use an unmanned aircraft system, or contract for the use of an unmanned aircraft system, if it has a reasonable expectation that the unmanned aircraft system will collect evidence relating to criminal activity and if it has obtained a warrant based on probable cause pursuant to this code.
(c)  A law enforcement agency, without obtaining a warrant, may use an unmanned aircraft system, or contract for the use of an unmanned aircraft system, in emergency situations, including, but not limited to, fires, hostage crises, and search and rescue operations on land or water.

The bill goes on to limit the use of unmanned aerial vehicles by private persons as well:

14354.  (a) A person or entity, other than a public agency subject to Section 14350 or a person or entity under contract to a public agency, for the purpose of that contract, shall not use an unmanned aircraft system, or contract for the use of an unmanned aircraft system, for the purpose of surveillance of another person without that person’s consent.

In other states where varying anti-drone bills are introudced, hobbyists of first person viewer (FPV) unmanned aircraft have voiced concern in online forums over infringements on their rights. The fear is that requiring the consent of any person being surveilled would make personal use of this technology all but impossible.

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Minnesota Firearms Protection Act Introduced

The race between individual liberty and government intervention is tightening up on the issue of guns. Bans, registers, limitations, and regulations emanating from Washington, D.C. are up against resistance from at least two dozen states entertaining bills which would nullify federal infringement on the 2nd Amendment. State Representative Steve Drazkowski is making Minnesota the next challenger to gun control advocates with the Firearm Protection Act, a.k.a. HF 419.

Minnesota is not a haven for gun owners. The Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party holds majorities in both legislative houses and the office of Governor. State Rep. Drazkowski, a Republican, has garnered 21 co-authors but none are Democrats who at the same time are introducing similar policies to those recommended by President Obama. HF 419 or SF 400 as it is numbered in the Minnesota Senate covers:

any new federal law designed to ban or limit any personal firearm, magazine, accessory, or ammunition or to require the registration of any firearm or firearm owner shall be unenforceable; providing for criminal penalties;

Rep. Drazkowski has been quoted saying, “Our citizens have a Constitutionally protected right to bear arms in the 2nd Amendment, and legislators have a duty as described in the 10th Amendment to ensure that our citizens’ liberties are not taken from them by the federal government.” This line might be useful for those moved to contact their legislators. It’s going to take all the lobbying the citizens of Minnesota can muster to get past the partisan rhetoric heard on the national stage.

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