Upcoming Pennsylvania Bill: Sell Pot to Citizens for Education Budget

Marijuana is fully legal in Colorado and Washington while 17 other states allow medical exemptions or decriminalization that effectively nullifies federal prohibition. Now State Senator Daylin Leach wants Pennsylvania to be the third state to regulate and tax marijuana like alcohol. What’s different from the other two is alcohol in Pennsylvania is exclusively sold in state-owned stores. Leach’s proposal has yet to be introduced as a bill, but it is already drawing debate and competition.

At the crux of the issue is the state education budget’s funding. While Governor Tom Corbett prefers privatizing the state liquor stores for around $1 billion, Senator Leach makes his “long-run” financial case on his website:

In addition to raising millions of dollars per year from tax revenue, Pennsylvania would save more than $325 million per year by legalizing marijuana. The most conservative estimates say the revenue generated by taxing the sales of marijuana would amount to at least $24 million per year.

Governor Corbett, a Republican, favors the status quo on marijuana prohibition, promising a veto. Senator Leach, a Democrat, favors the status quo on state-owned liquor stores. One wishes their bipartisan instincts would kick in for full privatization and legalization, but common sense only goes so far even at this promising point in the progressing push back against prohibition of marijuana. Tenth Amendment Center’s Communications Director, Mike Maharrey sees a clear path for Leach to take:

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Indiana SB-127 Would Limit Federal Arrest Power

The power to arrest for federal officials in Indiana may face limits this year should State Senator Dennis Kruse’s legislation SB-127, the Indiana Sherrifs First Act, becomes law. That would mean as Sec. 1(a) states,

“a federal employee who is not designated by state law to act as a state law enforcement officer may not make an arrest, a search, or a seizure in Indiana unless, before making the arrest, search, or seizure, thefederal employee obtains the written permission of the sheriff or the designee of the sheriff who has jurisdiction in the county in which the arrest, search, or seizure will occur.”

There are exceptions in Sec. 1(b) which you can read here. The feds retain arresting power in federal enclaves, when a crime is imminent or witnessed and requires immediate action, the subject of arrest is employed by the sheriff, or if a state law designates the federal employee as a state law enforcer.

On Monday, January 7 the bill was read then introduced to the Committee on Rules and Legislative Procedure. If it passes, the law would take effect July 1. One sheriff hopes to see such a difference made.

“This is the type of positive state legislation that will help reign in federal usurpations of our Constitution,” said Sheriff of Elkhart County, Brad Rogers. If you don’t remember the name, this is the sheriff who took on the FDA when they threatened dairy farmers in his jurisdiction. Rogers continues, “However, we the people still have an obligation to elect sheriffs who will uphold their oath of office. Otherwise, a law such as this won’t go far in protecting us from what it is designed to do.”

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Gold and Silver Legal Tender Law Introduced in Indiana

Senate Bill No. 99 has been introduced by State Senators Greg Walker and Jim Banks to free US-issued gold and silver coins from sales, use, and capital gains taxes.

SB-99 will add a new Chapter to the Indiana Code effectively making all taxes on gold and silver coins and transactions a thing of the past. From the bill’s synopsis:

Specifies that gold and silver coins issued by the United States government are legal tender in Indiana. Provides that a person may not compel another person to tender or accept gold or silver coins that are issued by the United States government, except as agreed upon by contract. Provides that the sale or other exchange of gold or silver coins issued by the United States government is exempt from state gross retail tax and use tax. Specifies that capital gains incurred on a sale or exchange of gold or silver coins issued by the United States government are not included in adjusted gross income for purposes of the state adjusted gross income tax.

On Monday, January 7 it will be read and referred to Committee on Tax and Fiscal Policy where co-author Sen. Walker sits. Should it pass on to the rest of the legislature then on to the governor’s desk and signed, the bill would become law by July 1 and the income tax aspects would be in effect January 1, 2014.

The fiscal impact report estimates that 2% of the US Mint’s gold and silver coins are in Indiana, calculating a $9.4 million loss in state revenue from retail and capital gains taxes. If accurate, that is a nice takeaway for Indianans who choose to transact with what the US Constitution lays out as legal tender under Article I, Section 10 – which reads “No State Shall…make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts”

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Slowly but Surely the Left Embraces States’ Rights

Earlier this month Huffington Post ran a live discussion titled States’ Rights Liberals. The panel shared the same progressive values and goals expressed by many critics of states’ rights, but in reflection of marijuana and gay marriage legalization victories this year, the panelists recognized a positive result of people ignoring Washington, D.C.

Their focus was on the same column from The Atlantic that TAC’s Joel Poindexter wrote about last week. Notice how far they’re willing to go in discussing the legitimacy of state sovereignty. With no intent of diminishing their gradual learning of the role of the several states, I must point out that not once was the 10th Amendment mentioned by Alyona Minkovski or the four guests.

“Racism and states’ rights is alive and well but it’s not one or the other – we have to separate, not all states’ rights are created equal, while we would probably put the rights for states to have legal slavery and marriage equality both under potential discussions, one is really about the taking away of rights from a group of people whereas the other is about remedying something,” stated David Pakman. Does David know the historic nature of the word “remedy” here? Judging by his understanding of slavery and states’ rights, perhaps not.

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Washington D.C. is not Santa Claus

Christmastime myths are traditionally shared by millions of families across America and usually do no harm. There is one popular lore, however, that must be confronted once and for all: many still believe that Washington, D.C. is supposed to be Santa Claus, while the states are its worker elves.

The American system may be one of wonder and magic, but this common construction is just absurd. Or, at least, it would be absurd if not for the reality: the feds are constantly intervening as the welfare-warfare police-state, blindly believed to be a source of relief and generosity.

What has been the response to governors refusing to implement Obamacare exchanges? And to the voters choosing a different marijuana policy? Or to Texans legislating protections from the TSA? How about city councils not complying with NDAA indefinite detention? Calls of treason from the left and right have made the parable into conventional wisdom: resisting the central government is naughty, not nice.

“Stay in that assembled line states, just like good little elves so that Federal Santa can deliver the goods,” say the faithful masses.

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Fakes, Charlatans, and Moderates, Oh My!

Funny isn’t it? As the states rights debate gains more attention, the room gets too crowded for the actual Tenther viewpoint. Take for instance “Meddling for Morality: Republicans are for states’ rights – when it suits them,” a column in The Economist.

The writer largely gives Democrats a break but does mention them in the second to last paragraph (within parentheses). Credit is always due to mainstreamers who nail the GOP on its selectivity about where to draw the line between state and federal power. Nullifying ObamaCare is popular while simultaneously abortion restrictions ought to be legislated from D.C. say the phony conservatives, but couldn’t the author have gone a bit further?

Trevor Lyman of the Liberty Crier took The Economist to task for failing to mention Democrats as equally guilty for paying lip service to great nationalism while 17 states are actively disobeying Supreme Court medical marijuana proclamations. But there is something more sinister, something more deeply flawed in The Economist columnist’s approach.

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Farm Bill in Limbo, So is the Commerce Clause

Before Congress vacays for most of August, the 2008 Farm Bill will either be extended or replaced by a new 2012 version. One of the great debates to rise from this issue centers around Congressman Steve King’s (R-IA) amendment which nullifies state laws restricting trade with other states on issues of agriculture and food safety. Get this: some progressives are upset about a conservative citing the “power to regulate”! How does that work?

Typically, when a federal legislator invokes the Commerce Clause, some level of chicanery is afoot. Here, however, Steve King may actually have gotten it right. In 2008, California voters passed an initiative that in 2014 begins stricter regulations on egg production within the state as well as demanding the same level of animal protection from the other 49. The second half of that authority is what King recognizes as a violation of the Commerce Clause.

From steveking.house.gov:

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High Stakes for New York Medical Marijuana Bill

New York is close to becoming the 18th state to reject federal drug laws – and legalize medical marijuana. Perhaps not close enough though. Bill A-7347, allowing a licensed practitioner to prescribe marijuana to patients with serious conditions, passed New York Assembly by a vote of 90-50 on Wednesday.

While this may sound like good news, it’s not the first time the New York Assembly has made progress only to be denied vote in the State Senate. It would be the third time in five years.

Governor Cuomo is focused on his own decriminalization of small possession effort, so he has not taken a position in favor of medical issue. In April, he said the following:

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College Students Stand up for the Bill of Rights

ASUCSD Denounces Drug Enforcement Administration

From April 21 to 25, nobody heard the screams and kicks from Daniel Chong, a UCSD engineering student, as he was dying in a 5-by-10 foot antechamber without anything to eat or drink. No window, no toilet, no nothing. He survived on urine and whatever he could find in the cell, which amounted to unexplainable traces of methamphetamine.

The Drug Enforcement Administration in San Diego is responsible for this.

Immediately, it is clear there is absolutely no justification for such treatment of any person, no matter the crime. However the swift arm of justice is absent when armed bureaucrats are the offenders. William Sherman of the DEA issued an apology amounting to self-congratulation as “this event is not indicative of the high standards” to which he claims to hold his employees. Now Chong is suing for $20 million, but when their annual federal budget exceeds $2 billion, is this a realistic path to protecting the innocent from DEA desecration?

A wholly unrelated student also attending UCSD, Angad Walia, led the campus response by proposing a resolution to the Associated Students of UCSD condemning the intolerable DEA. The resolution in full can be found here. Read just a few of the highlights:

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