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Originally published July 9 2015

Rhode Island nullifies oppressive government restrictions on hemp cultivation

by L.J. Devon, Staff Writer

(NaturalNews) Throughout history, big industries have lobbied and infiltrated the federal government, steering and influencing policymaker decisions. The federal government is routinely used as a vehicle of force to stifle out competition and prop one industry over another. This crony capitalism corrupts the free market, driving away honest entrepreneurial endeavors in agriculture, energy production and medicine, among other important fields.

One industry that has been stifled and shut down in recent US history is the hemp industry. The hemp industry produces a versatile crop that is a threat to the big oil, plastic, biotech and pharmaceutical industries. This is why, in 1970, the federal government was used to pass the Controlled Substances Act, which shut down the domestic cultivation of industrial hemp. Under the control of this law, farmers could no longer produce hemp freely. After 1970, farmers were forced to get permission from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to grow and cultivate hemp. The DEA began to treat hemp as a drug and did everything they could to keep farmers from growing the versatile crop.

Hemp agriculture could heal the US, economically and environmentally

Despite all the hysteria, hemp is not a drug. It's a beneficial plant that has over 25,000 uses. It's most popular uses are for producing cloth, cordage, fiber, paper and construction materials. It can also replace synthetic plastics and be used for producing cleaner fuel. The biotech industry hates hemp, because the plant can replace most of the genetically modified corn that is taxpayer-subsidized and harvested mainly for ethanol production. The pharmaceutical industry also hates hemp agriculture. The oil of the hemp plant can be used as a powerful medicine, making many pharmaceuticals obsolete.

Growing hemp is not about getting "high" on tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Traditional hemp harmlessly contains about a tenth of the THC content that recreational marijuana contains. (Marijuana is slang for a breed of the same cannabis plant that is specifically grown for its psychoactive qualities.)

For decades, hemp has been stifled and vilified, but now states are looking to free themselves from the crony federal power grab of the 1970 Controlled Substances Act. Rhode Island is joining several other states (including Connecticut, Kentucky and Tennessee) in a mass effort to nullify federal laws that prohibit the cultivation of hemp. Currently, hemp is imported. In 2014, over $600 million worth of hemp products were traded to the US, mostly from Canada and China. Now, US farmers are looking to tap into the growing hemp market, and they don't want to beg the DEA for permission and be turned down in the process.

The importance of state nullification of unconstitutional federal laws

Entire states are now disobeying unconstitutional federal laws through a strategy called nullification. The history of nullifying federal laws goes all the way back to the days of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. In 1798, their respective state legislatures adopted the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, which defined the doctrine of nullification. In nullification, a state can defy an unconstitutional federal action and refuse to enforce its provisions within the state's borders, even if the law is upheld by the Supreme Court. This movement echoes the sentiment of the 10th Amendment of the Bill of Rights, which clearly states that all powers not given to the federal government are reserved to the states and the people.

At that time in 1798, Kentucky and Virginia refused to follow a law called the Sedition Act enacted by the Federalist Party. This law made it a crime to write or say anything "false, scandalous, or malicious" about the President. Madison believed that the federal government's powers were enumerated or "few and defined." Regardless, the Supreme Court upheld the Sedition Act of 1798, even though it was a clear violation of the First Amendment. The only way for the states to restore the First Amendment was to adopt the idea of nullification, a powerful act of civil disobedience.

Today, Kentucky, Tennessee, Connecticut and Rhode Island are refusing to follow along with the federal government's prohibition of hemp agriculture. Their civil disobedience nullifies the crony capitalism that has hijacked the government and enslaved the people.

"What this gets down to is the power of the people," declared Mike Maharrey of the Tenth Amendment Center. "When enough people tell the feds to pound sand, there's not much D.C. can do to continue their unconstitutional prohibition of this productive plant."

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