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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (Feb. 6, 2018) – Last week, a Missouri House committee overwhelmingly passed a bill to decriminalize industrial hemp, setting the foundation to nullify federal prohibition of the plant in practice.
Rep. Paul Curtman (R-Washington) introduced House Bill 2034 (HB2034) on Jan. 10. The legislation would decriminalize industrial hemp in the state by removing it from the list of controlled substances. The proposed law includes hemp products in its definition of industrial hemp.
On Feb. 1, the Agricultural Policy Committee passed HB2034 by a 10-1 vote with some technical amendments.
Final passage of this bill would open the door for a full-scale commercial hemp market in Missouri by treating it as any other crop for farming.
HB2034 would not require any license to grow hemp, and it would create no state regulatory structure. This would have a similar effect as a bill passed in Connecticut in 2015. In short, the state would treat industrial hemp like other plants, such as tomatoes. By ending state prohibition, residents in Missouri would have an open door to develop a commercial hemp market in the state, despite ongoing federal prohibition.
FEDERAL FARM BILL
In 2014, Congress cracked the door open for hemp in the U.S. with an amendment to the 2014 Farm Bill. The law allows hemp cultivation for research purposes, but prohibits “commercial” production.
The “hemp amendment” in the 2014 farm bill —
…allows State Agriculture Departments, colleges and universities to grow hemp, defined as the non-drug oil-seed and fiber varieties of Cannabis, for academic or agricultural research purposes, but it applies only to states where industrial hemp farming is already legal under state law.
In 2016, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Drug Enforcement Agency released a “statement of principles” to guide interpretation of the hemp section in the Farm Bill. It states, “The growth and cultivation of industrial hemp may only take place in accordance with an agricultural pilot program to study the growth, cultivation, or marketing of industrial hemp established by a State department of agriculture or State agency responsible for agriculture in a State where the production of industrial hemp is otherwise legal under State law.”
In short, the current federal law authorizes farming of hemp – by research institutions, or within state pilot programs – for research only. Farming for commercial purposes by individuals and businesses remains prohibited.
- SOUTH CAROLINA REVERSES YEARS OF MEDIA MOGUL WILLIAM HEARST’S REEFER MADNESS PROPAGANDA: MEDICAL CANNABIS BILL BECOMES LAW
The definition of “commercial” remains murky and has created significant confusion.
The statement of principles also asserted that industrial hemp programs are limited to fiber and seed. It didn’t mention the CBD oil or other edible hemp products.The DEA has interpreted that to mean they remain illegal. According to the DEA, CBD cannot be sold under any circumstances.
By ending state prohibition of hemp, passage of HB2034 would open the door for Missouri farmers to ignore federal prohibition and grow hemp commercially anyway. While prospective hemp growers would still have to take federal law into consideration, by ending state enforcement that treats hemp like a drug, the proposed law potentially clears away a major obstacle to widespread commercial hemp farming within Missouri’s borders. It would also remove any threat of state prosecution for retail sales of hemp products.
Several other states with federally-compliant hemp programs, such as Kentucky, North Dakota, Minnesota and New York, have grown significant acreage under federally-approved research programs. This takes the first step, but with federal shackles in place, these states are not legally allowed to develop any kind of commercial market. Ironically, many of these “federally compliant” programs are not actually federally compliant.
Recognizing its limited research program was hindering the development of the industry, West Virginia dumped its federally compliant hemp program during the 2017 legislative session and will now issue federally non-compliant commercial licenses to growers. West Virginia Public Broadcasting confirmed limits imposed by the old program due to its conformity with federal law were holding back the development of a viable hemp industry and everyday farmers cannot benefit.
“But because of the strict requirements under the 2014 bill, growers are not able to sell their plants and cannot transport them across state lines to be turned into those usable products. That’s limited the ability to create a real hemp industry in the state.”
Other states, including Colorado, Oregon, Maine, California and Vermont have simply ignored federal prohibition and legalized industrial hemp production within their state borders.
Colorado was the first state with widespread commercial hemp production. Farmers began growing hemp in southeast Colorado back in 2013 and the industry is beginning to mature. The amount of acreage used to grow industrial hemp in the state doubled in 2016 to nearly 5,000 acres, and nearly doubled again in 2017.
The Oregon legislature initially legalized industrial hemp production in 2009. While it was technically legal to grow hemp in the state, farmers didn’t take advantage of the opportunity for nearly five years. When the Oregon Department of Agriculture finally put a licensing and regulatory program in place early in 2014, farmers began growing hemp. The initial regulatory structure placed significant limits on hemp farming and effectively locked small growers out of the market. In 2016, Gov. Kate Brown signed House Bill 4060 into law. It relaxed state laws regulating hemp already on the books and made the crop more like other agricultural products. Within months, the Oregon Department of Agriculture had already promulgated new rules under the reformed law. According to Oregon’s Cannabis Connection, the rules set the stage to creates a “massive” medical hemp market. The state produced 3,469 acres of hemp in 2017.
Both Colorado and Oregon demonstrate how loosening rules at the state level encourage the market and allow hemp a legitimate commercial hemp industry to develop.
HUGE MARKET FOR HEMP
According to a 2005 Congressional Research Service report, the U.S. is the only developed nation that hasn’t developed an industrial hemp crop for economic purposes.
Experts suggest that the U.S. market for hemp is around $600 million per year. They count as many as 25,000 uses for industrial hemp, including food, cosmetics, plastics and bio-fuel. The U.S. is currently the world’s #1 importer of hemp fiber for various products, with China and Canada acting as the top two exporters in the world.
During World War II, the United States military relied heavily on hemp products, which resulted in the famous campaign and government-produced film, “Hemp for Victory!”
HB2034 now goes to the Rules – Legislative Oversight Committee where it must pass by a majority vote before moving to the House floor for a vote.
OLYMPIA, Wash. (Jan. 29, 2018) – Last week, a Washington state House committee passed a bill that would improve the state’s asset forfeiture laws and set the stage to close a loophole that allows state and local police to circumvent more strict state forfeiture laws by passing cases off to the feds.
Rep. Matt Shea (R-Spokane Valley) and Rep. Roger Goodman (D-Kirkland) introduced House Bill 2718 (HB2718) on Jan. 12. The legislation would take several steps to reform Washington’s asset forfeiture laws. While the state could still seize assets without a criminal conviction, HB2718 would increase protection for property owners and place the burden of proof squarely on prosecutors.
HB2718 would make several changes to current asset forfeiture law, explicitly providing that the burden of proof is on the seizing agency; allowing prevailing claimants to recover attorneys’ fees, expenses, and damages for loss of use of property; requiring that, when ordered to return property, the seizing agency return it in the same or substantially similar condition as when seized; and making all seizing agencies subject to detailed reporting requirements.
The House Justice Committee approved HB2718 by a 12-1 vote.
The reporting requirements include provisions relating to federal asset forfeiture. This would set the stage to close a loophole that allows state and local police to get around more strict state asset forfeiture laws in a vast majority of situations. This is particularly important in light of a new policy directive issued last July by Attorney General Jeff Sessions for the Department of Justice (DOJ).
A federal program known as “Equitable Sharing” allows prosecutors to bypass more stringent state asset forfeiture laws by passing cases off to the federal government through a process known as adoption.The new DOJ directive reiterates full support for the equitable sharing program, directs federal law enforcement agencies to aggressively utilize it, and sets the stage to expand it in the future.
Law enforcement agencies often bypass more strict state forfeiture laws by claiming cases are federal in nature. Under these arrangements, state officials simply hand cases over to a federal agency, participate in the case, and then receive up to 80 percent of the proceeds. However, when states merely withdraw from participation, the federal directive loses its impact.
Until recently, California faced this situation.The state has some of the strongest state-level restrictions on civil asset forfeiture in the country, but state and local police were circumventing the state process by passing cases to the feds. According to a report by the Institute for Justice, Policing for Profit, California ranked as the worst offender of all states in the country between 2000 and 2013. In other words, California law enforcement was passing off a lot of cases to the feds and collecting the loot. The state closed the loophole in 2016.
Including federal forfeitures in the reporting requirements will shed light on equitable sharing and potentially generate the awareness necessary to pressure policymakers into closing the loophole. This could be done by passing legislation prohibiting state and local police from passing cases off to the feds in most situations. We recommend the following language.
- A law enforcement agency or prosecuting authority may not enter into an agreement to transfer or refer seized property to a federal agency directly, indirectly, by adoption, through an intergovernmental joint taskforce or by other means for the purposes of forfeiture litigation and instead must refer the seized property to appropriate local or state prosecuting authorities for forfeiture litigation under this chapter unless the seized property includes U.S. currency in excess of $100,000.
- This paragraph preempts laws by township, municipal, county and other governments in the state which regulate civil and criminal forfeiture.
As the Tenth Amendment Center previously reported the federal government inserted itself into the asset forfeiture debate in California. The feds clearly want the policy to continue.
We can only guess. But perhaps the feds recognize paying state and local police agencies directly in cash for handling their enforcement would reveal their weakness. After all, the federal government would find it nearly impossible to prosecute its unconstitutional “War on Drugs” without state and local assistance. Asset forfeiture “equitable sharing” provides a pipeline the feds use to incentivize state and local police to serve as de facto arms of the federal government by funneling billions of dollars into their budgets.
While HB2718 only makes modest reforms and does not directly address equitable sharing, we view it as a solid foundational step.
HB2718 now moves to the House Appropriations Committee where it must pass by a majority vote before moving forward in the legislative process.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Jan. 26, 2017) – A bill introduced in the Tennessee Senate would legalize medical marijuana for qualifying patients in the state, setting the foundation to nullify unconstitutional federal cannabis prohibition in practice.
Introduced by Sen. Steven Dickerson (R-Nashville), Senate Bill 1710 (SB1710) would allow individuals to possess medical marijuana if they suffer from one or more qualifying conditions. Dispensaries would be permissible under SB1710 to provide medical marijuana to qualifying patients as well. Patients would also have the option of naming a caretaker who could grow marijuana on their behalf.
“Now is the time for the General Assembly to embrace thoughtful, medically responsible legislation to help Tennessee’s sickest residents,” Sen. Dickerson said.
Rep. Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby) filed a companion bill (HB1749) in the House.
Despite the federal prohibition on marijuana, measures such as SB1710 remain perfectly constitutional, and the feds can do little if anything to stop them in practice.
Under the [Unconstitutional] Controlled Substances Act (CSA) passed in 1970, the federal government maintains complete prohibition of marijuana. Of course, the federal government lacks any constitutional authority to ban or regulate marijuana within the borders of a state, despite the opinion of the politically connected lawyers on the Supreme Court. If you doubt this, ask yourself why it took a constitutional amendment to institute federal alcohol prohibition.
Unconstitutional Powers By Repetition
Usurpations by one branch of government, of powers entrusted to a coequal branch, are not rendered constitutional by repetition.
The United States Supreme Court held unconstitutional hundreds of laws enacted by Congress over the course of five decades that included a legislative veto of executive actions in INS v. Chada, 462 U.S. 919 (1982).
Legalization of medical marijuana in Tennessee would remove one layer of laws prohibiting the possession and use of marijuana, but [unconstitutional] federal prohibition will remain on the [ir] books.
FBI statistics show that law enforcement makes approximately 99 of 100 marijuana arrests under state, not [unconstitutional] federal law [rules]. By curtailing state prohibition, Tennessee could sweep away some of the basis for 99 percent of marijuana arrests.
Furthermore, figures indicate it would take 40 percent of the DEA’s yearly annual budget just to investigate and raid all of the dispensaries in Los Angeles [If Allowed By The Constitutional County Sheriff In The First Place] – a single city in a single state. That doesn’t include the cost of prosecution either [If Allowed By The Constitutional County Sheriff In The First Place]. The lesson? The feds lack the resources [& Constitutional Authority] to enforce marijuana prohibition without state assistance.
A GROWING MOVEMENT
Tennessee could join a growing number of states simply ignoring federal prohibition, and nullifying it in practice. Colorado, Washington state, Oregon and Alaska were the first states to legalize recreational cannabis, and California, Nevada, Maine, and Massachusetts joined them after ballot initiatives in favor of legalization [Nullifying The Fed Overreach] passed last year.
With 29 states allowing cannabis for medical use [Nullifying The Fed Overreach], the feds find themselves in a position where they simply can’t enforce [Unconstitutional] prohibition anymore.
“The lesson here is pretty straightforward. When enough people say, ‘No!’ to the [ir Way Ward Employee aka;] federal government, and enough states pass laws backing those people up, there’s not much the feds [Way Ward Employee] can do to shove their so-called laws [Deep State Rules], regulations or mandates down our throats,” Tenth Amendment Center founder and executive director Michael Boldin said.
SB1710 will need to pass the Senate Judiciary Committee before it can be considered in the full Senate. HB1749 had not been referred to a committee at the time of this report.
For more stories like these, visit The Common Sense Show
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“We want [drug screens] to be routine in all medicine…”
It’s bad enough in 2018 that the war on drugs still exists in the deluded minds of government higher-ups, just as some states begin to legalize recreational marijuana. And just as they do, Attorney General Jeff Sessions dropped the bomb that the Federal Government ended its leniency toward states’ rights for medical marijuana. Thus, we devolve as a nation.
But the biggest blow to Americans was when Sessions’ DEA, although going after marijuana as a dangerous substance – in essence gave a Pharma opioid maker the rights to a partial national monopoly on synthetic THC!
What’s worse, it looks like the War on Drugs has just collided with Mad Medicine.
A top-level advisor to Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants doctors to drug test all their patients, and to force users, they suspect of addiction into rehabilitation against their will. If Robert DuPont gets his way, drug testing could become a required part of your visit to the doctor.
DuPont, 81, is one of a small group of drug-policy “experts” Sessions invited to a closed meeting last month to discuss federal response to marijuana legalization. He is one of the most hard-line and influential architects of the Drug War, having started out in the 1970’s as a liberal on the drug control issue. But by the 1980’s DuPont had taken a hard right turn, popularizing the long-debunked claim that cannabis is a “gateway drug.”
DuPont wants to force people into treatment for up to 5 years.
In an interview last year, DuPont pushed for expanding drug testing. His idea includes having physicians force patients whom they believe to have substance abuse problems to submit to drug tests, or lengthy stays in treatment facilities reports Newsweek.
“Among other things, he proposed giving doctors the authority to compel suspected substance abusers into treatment against their will,” reportsThe Daily Beast. “Once in treatment, patients could face up to five years of monitoring, including random drug tests.”
“We want [drug screens] to be routine in all medicine,” DuPont said. “Doctors already check for things like cholesterol and blood sugar, why not test for illicit drugs? Right now the public thinks that if we provide treatment the addicts will come and get well … that’s not true. So let’s use the leverage of the criminal justice system.”
It is quite the understatement to say that America has been ejected right off that proverbial slippery slope. Can you imagine anything more invasive when modern medicine and drug laws are already so intrusive?
DuPont doesn’t even want to try treatment but views all drug use as a forbidden crime for which there must be government intervention.
In 2010, he penned a national model bill that “called on cops to test anyone stopped for suspicion of driving under the influence for all controlled substances, and arresting them on the spot if the slightest trace showed up — regardless of the amount. While the bill includes an exemption for drivers with prescriptions, cannabis users would still get busted. Medical-marijuana patients don’t have prescriptions (due to federal law), just doctor recommendations.”
That bill would not only punish legal medical marijuana patients in states which permit its use, but anyone for any substance that is legal to consume – even alcohol or medicine. Any failure of a bodily drug test would constitute possession of the substance!
So with DuPont’s ideas, we could look forward to a nation of forced drug testing, invasive extraction of bodily fluids, zero tolerance of substances including alcohol or cold medicine, instant arrests and federal charges of crimes for any deviation. Bye, bye 4th Amendment.
A few notable things about DuPont:
- He was the former drug czar to Richard Nixon.
- Vaguely warned The Washington Post the marijuana would have “horrendous” effects on society.
- Although serving for the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) he later had ties to the drug-testing industry. (source)
- “In 2000, he appeared before the federal Food and Drug Administration, pushing for expanded hair follicle testing.” ! (source)
- Yes, it is and would be financially gainful for him to continue opposing friendly cannabis legislation. He was a ” paid consultant and shareholder in Psychemedics, which offered costly hair testing analysis.”
What else can we say? Whereas the state laws allowing cannabis freedom were a breath of fresh air in the midst of a war on freedom – we are heading back to the dinosaurs where the breath of aging, drug-war addled elites whispers into the ear of the Attorney General. President Trump is strangely absent from these conflicts.
Source Article from https://worldtruth.tv/marijuana-adviser-to-sessions-wants-to-drug-test-everyone/
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Here is a tragic joke: Why is synthetic THC deemed safe but natural marijuana is considered dangerous? Punchline: Because the government said so.
It would be funny, if this new nightmare scenario weren’t true and if the “war on drugs” didn’t result in the death and imprisonment of innocent people. Or, the denial of medical rights to people in severe pain. Or the assurance that those dependent on deadly opioids stay that way.
Last week we reported that the Federal Government just ended its leniency toward states’ rights for medical marijuana. Attorney General Jeff Sessions overturned a previous memo that granted federal leniency toward states’ marijuana rights. The statement last Thursday said, “today’s memo on federal marijuana enforcement simply directs all U.S. Attorneys to use previously established prosecutorial principles that provide them all the necessary tools to disrupt criminal organizations, tackle the growing drug crisis, and thwart violent crime across our country.”
He is, in effect, releasing the federal attack hounds. But it gets worse – while Sessions is rabid with his policy toward the marijuana plant, his DEA has just granted a Pharma fentanyl maker a partial monopoly over the sale of synthetic TCH – made to mimic cannabis exactly.
According to Free Thought Project:
Revealing the sheer hypocrisy and criminality of Sessions’ move—which vowed to uphold the archaic and despotic Controlled Substances Act of 1970 that prohibits the cultivation, distribution, and possession of marijuana—Sessions’ DEA granted a company a monopoly on the sale of the synthetic form of the plant which contains the exact properties of cannabis.
The active ingredient in cannabis, THC, remains classified as a Schedule 1 drug—meaning the government claims it is dangerous, addictive, and has no medical value. Coincidentally, over the Thanksgiving holiday, the DoJ’s Drug Enforcement Administration granted Insys Therapeutics—a rogue pharmaceutical company rife with corruption—a Schedule II classification on their synthetic form of THC, Dronabinol.
Instead of allowing people to use a natural form of a plant that can cure them, Jeff Sessions will use taxpayer dollars to continue cannabis prohibition while his DEA grants a monopoly on the exact same substance—only synthetic—to Insys.
For those who don’t know, Insys has become notorious over the last two years after six former executives and managers were arrested on charges that they engaged in a nationwide scheme to bribe doctors to prescribe a drug containing the opioid fentanyl. Now this same group of dangerous drug peddlers is being given a partial national monopoly on the sale of legal THC, by the group who claims to protect Americans from drugs.
It’s frustrating enough that the government’s perception on marijuana is only contingent on how it benefits them and their chosen corporate darlings. But it’s also insulting to everyone’s intelligence that their response to this safety disparity goes like this, according to VICE:
The DEA notes that FDA-approved products of oral solutions containing dronabinol [THC] have an approved medical use, whereas marijuana does not have an approved medical use and therefore remains in Schedule I.
Translation: “Because we said so.”
The revolving door between the government and Big Pharma and the revolving door between the government and the privatized prison complex has just reached officially insane levels.
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President Trump signed an executive order that was presented as an effort to improve veterans’ mental health treatment, just days after reports claimed that Attorney General Jeff Sessions plans to wage war on their medicine by rescinding a policy that keeps federal prosecutors from aggressively enforcing federal law in states where cannabis is legal.
Trump signed an executive order titled, “Supporting our Veterans during their Transition from Uniformed Service to Civilian Life” on Jan. 9. The order calls for the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and the Secretary of Homeland Security to work together to provide “seamless access to mental health treatment and suicide prevention resources for transitioning uniformed service members in the year following discharge, separation, or retirement.”
The measure is intended to improve reintegration into civilian life and to prevent suicide if at all possible. But the type of mental health services Trump is asking for almost certainly do not involve using cannabis for PTSD, depression, or chronic pain. That is because the U.S. Attorney General just rescinded the Cole memo, allowing state Attorney Generals to go after legal weed.
As The Free Thought Project has reported on numerous occasions, legal cannabis and access to it is not supported by VA hospitals. In fact, we interviewed one veteran who suffers from PTSD and lives in Phoenix. For privacy reasons we will call him “Jeremy.”
Jeremy told TFTP that his disability benefits are directly connected to his blood tests. If his blood does not demonstrate a measurable level of psychotropics then the VA will end his disability benefits. In other words, if he does not take dangerous antidepressants and antipsychotics then he loses his monthly cash benefit.
While Trump’s executive order will guarantee 100 percent of veterans will now be able to get mental health benefits (whereas only 40 percent were able to get them before), what veterans really want is access to legal weed. So do the majority of Americans. They also do not want to be forced to take psychotropics, drugs that have actually caused the very suicides the executive order has stated it is attempting to combat.
Jeremy is a budtender at a Phoenix-area marijuana dispensary. He said he loathes being forced to take psychotropics but cannot part with the significant disability payouts each month. So he takes as little as he possibly can and throws away the rest. He says weed works much better and he would use it exclusively if he could.
Sessions’ move to rescind the Cole memo follows months of similar actions by the government. As TFTP reported in July, the House Rules Committee blocked an amendment called the “Veterans Equal Access,” which would have allowed the VA to discuss cannabis as an option for veterans’ treatment in VA hospitals. The amendment did not pass largely because cannabis is still classified as a Schedule I narcotic (purely for political and Pharma-Cartel reasons) much to the dismay of a majority of Americans, including veterans advocacy groups, like the American Legion, who want cannabis made available to veterans.
Veterans who choose to go against the VA and to use cannabis as a viable mental health protocol not only face the loss of financial benefits, they run the risk of prison time as well. Kristoffer Lewandowski is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC was arrested in Oklahoma for personal possession of marijuana. He says the VA had him taking 18 different medications daily for his PTSD, which included deadly opiates. At one point, he was taking 180 Percocets per month, but the drugs were killing his liver.
After finding that cannabis worked better, Lewandowski quit taking his prescription pills. Because Oklahoma does not have medical marijuana, he began growing a few plants for his personal use and treatment of PTSD. The police discovered the plants and arrested him.
Lewandowski was charged with cultivating marijuana, and the police confiscated the ounce of cannabis they found. They charged his wife as well and took their children away. After getting approval from the OK district attorney, the family bonded out of jail and moved to California. But Lewandowski’s freedom was short-lived. After missing an appointment at the Veterans Administration’s psychiatric hospital, he was arrested again. Later, he accepted a plea deal and was allowed to stay in California to continue taking the plant he says saved his life.
While Trump’s executive order sounds like a great idea by giving all veterans access to mental health services, what veterans really need and want is universal access to cannabis as a natural treatment for depression, PTSD, and pain. Instead, they are given prescription pills, which are needlessly driving up the suicide rate among veterans.
Ironically, one of Trump’s campaign promises was for veterans was that they would be able to bypass the VA and go wherever they wanted for treatment. That promise has yet to be fulfilled and almost certainly did not mean going to the marijuana dispensary for their medicine.
It’s time for Congress to act on behalf of all veterans and Americans to legalize marijuana across the nation. Too many people are in jail, are going to jail, and are being charged with felonies for a plant—one that has demonstrated the power to treat pain, depression, addictions, and to prevent suicide.
RICHMOND, Va. (Jan. 8, 2017) – A bill introduced in the Virginia Senate would decriminalize marijuana possession. Passage into law would take a step toward nullifying federal cannabis prohibition in effect in the state.
Introduced by Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria), Senate Bill 111 (SB111) would make marijuana possession “subject to a civil penalty of no more than $50, upon a second violation is subject to a civil penalty of no more than $100, and upon a third or subsequent violation is subject to a civil penalty of no more than $250.”
There could be additional penalties levied at the discretion of the court for marijuana possession offenses. SB111 allows a court to “deprive the person so penalized of the privilege to drive or operate a motor vehicle, engine, or train in the Commonwealth for a period of six months from the date of such judgment.”
However, despite the possible consequences for simple possession, passage of SB111 would chip away at marijuana prohibition in the Old Dominion State.
“We cannot continue to hide behind a fear of a plant in our criminal code,” Sen. Ebbin said in a Washington Post report.
Despite the federal prohibition on marijuana, measures such as SB111 remain perfectly constitutional, and the feds can do little if anything to stop them in practice.
Nullifying Federal Meddling In State Laws
Under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) passed in 1970, the feds maintain complete prohibition of cannabis. Of course, the federal government lacks any constitutional authority to ban or regulate marijuana within the borders of a state, despite the opinion of the politically connected lawyers on the Supreme Court. If you doubt this, ask yourself why it took a constitutional amendment to institute federal alcohol prohibition.
Decriminalization of marijuana in Virginia would remove a layer of laws prohibiting the possession of marijuana, but federal prohibition will remain on the books.
FBI statistics show that law enforcement makes approximately 99 of 100 marijuana arrests under state, not federal law. By mostly ending state prohibition, Virginia essentially sweeps away most of the basis for 99 percent of marijuana arrests.
Furthermore, figures indicate it would take 40 percent of the DEA’s yearly-budget just to investigate and raid all of the dispensaries in Los Angeles – a single city in a single state. That doesn’t include the cost of prosecution. The lesson? The feds lack the resources to enforce marijuana prohibition without state assistance.
Passage of SB111 would begin to erode federal prohibition and that the first step toward nullifying it in practice in the state.
A GROWING MOVEMENT
Colorado, Washington state, Oregon and Alaska were the first states to legalized recreational cannabis, with California, Nevada, Maine and Massachusetts joining them after ballot initiatives in favor of legalization were passed in those states last November.
With more than two-dozen states allowing cannabis for medical use as well, the feds find themselves in a position where they simply can’t enforce prohibition anymore.
“The lesson here is pretty straightforward. When enough people say, ‘No!’ to the federal government, and enough states pass laws backing those people up, there’s not much the feds can do to shove their so-called laws, regulations or mandates down our throats,” Tenth Amendment Center founder and executive director Michael Boldin said.
SB111 was referred to the Senate Courts of Justice Committee where it will need to pass by a majority vote before moving forward in the legislative process.