Vermont Nullifies Federal Hemp Ban

Vermont has become the most recent state to take a stand against the federal government and nullify the federal ban on hemp cultivation. Governor Shumlin signed the new bill into law in June.

Vermont Nullifies Federal Hemp Ban
Vermont Nullifies Federal Hemp Ban

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. –Senate Bill 157

According to VoteHemp, a hemp advocate website, Vermont is actually the 9th state to lift the ban on hemp, and 20 states have introduced industrial hemp legislation for the 2013 legislative season. However, what makes Vermont unique is that the new law does not hold a stipulation or amendment requiring the federal government to first lift the ban on hemp cultivation. Much like Colorado, Vermont will proceed regardless of the federal law banning hemp cultivation.

Mike Maharrey, national communications director for the Tenth Amendment Center, tells us:

I like hemp. The Vermont bill is more aggressive than the other bills we’ve seen pass. I’ve been heavily involved in Kentucky with the passing of their hemp bill, but they are waiting for the feds to actually lift the ban. This means that farmers still will not be able to cultivate. Vermont’s bill allows farmers to go straight ahead regardless of the federal law. This is a straight nullification bill. It gives them the green light as soon as they receive the licence from the state. I think this development is extremely important for the states because you will see markets develop and flourish. If more states begin to follow this path then the federal government may be forced to lift the ban. The US is the only industrialized nation that doesn’t allow cultivation of hemp. We have to import all of it. In fact, the US imports 1/2 of all Canada’s hemp. We have thousands of manufacturing companies and stores importing raw hemp and hemp products.

Maharrey says that many opponents argue the market for hemp doesn’t exist in America. “How can you say there isn’t a market when you have never allowed one to exist,” he counters. Maharrey adds, “If we are importing 1/2 of another country’s entire production- there is obviously a market. If not let’s lift the ban, and if the market isn’t there then it will simply vanish.”

According Ray Hanson with the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center:

The combined retail value of hemp food and body care products sold in the United States in 2010 was $40.5 million, up more than 10 percent from 2009, according to the market research firm SPINS. (The same firm estimated that 2009 sales of hemp products reached $36.6 million.) The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) estimated that the retail value of North American hemp food, vitamin and body care products was in the range of $121 to $142 million in 2010. When clothing, auto parts, building materials and other non-food or body care products are included, the HIA estimates that the total retail value of U.S. hemp products is about $419 million.

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Michael Lotfi

CEO, Political Director at BrandFire Consulting LLC
Michael Lotfi is a Persian-American political analyst and adviser living in Nashville, Tennessee. Lotfi is the founder and CEO of BrandFire Consulting LLC. The firm specializes in public and private technology centered brand development, lead generation, data aggregation, online fundraising, social media, advertising, content generation, public relations, constituency management systems, print and more. Lotfi is the former executive state director for the Tennessee Tenth Amendment Center, a think-tank focused on restraining federal overreach.Lotfi graduated with top honors from Belmont University, a private Christian university located in Nashville, Tennessee.

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  • g.johnon

    hmmmm….states rights. who ever heard of such a thing. usa, inc. will probably make this interesting.

  • Quick Tiff

    I am so excited for this! I can’t wait to get an entirely made-in-America hemp product! 😀

  • Matt Beaudoin

    I spend unGodly amounts of money for hemp rope for my fancy knotwork. It’s one of the only non-American made raw materials. I can’t wait for the day to be able to make historic pieces while keeping all the costs inside the US economy.

  • ForLiberty777

    Tenth Amendment Center rules!!
    If you haven’t already, you should really check these guys out!

    • g.johnon

      thanks fl, good link.

    • Troy South


  • Kevin Merck

    It’s good to see this happening around the country. The states need to tell the corrupt federal “family” and their Banana Republic Dictator ‘Strongman Obama’ to shove their bribes where the sun don’t shine.
    States will see the benefits as productive Americans flock to their states to avoid the bootlicking state criminals who would sell their mother and children (and do) for ‘federal matching dollars’.
    Freedom is popular with productive members of society. The only people who like Obama and his fascist minions are welfare scum and feminist degenerates.

  • Dennis Link

    This will create more jobs in the USA…Green Jobs

  • mytakeis

    It has come to my attention that federal law is not the be all and end all of what is allowed and not allowed under the rule of law. There is this thing called nullification and this nullification thing is going to stick a hot jabber into the heart of federal dictates. It does my heart good to see that both jury and state nullifications are no longer anathema to this country, and that the ‘status quo’ hardliner’s grip on legislation is waning. Hemp is a great beginning, and it is only the beginning of a whole lot of changes going on. Great.

  • Undecider

    The Federal government exists at the behest of the States so there’s no need to wait for them to provide “permission.”

  • Loki Luck III

    Excellent, keep the 10th Amendment practice going.

  • Kirschwasser

    The production of hemp was an integral component of American growth and development for nearly 300 years and from the first settlement at Jamestown, VA up until almost the beginning of World War II, hemp was right there riding shotgun as it accompanied American economic growth.

    For whatever reason though, after nearly 3 centuries hemp suddenly became you can’t ever tell me that some kind of funny business wasn’t taking place on Capitol Hill during the 1930’s in order to have an American mainstay like hemp suddenly criminalized…

    In that respect, then I’m glad that Vermont is giving them the middle finger and is back ready to grow hemp again…..I wish that other States had the courage to do the same thing.

  • db

    Hemp became outlawed due to I think it was William Hearst who owned newspapers and magazine and lots of timber. Hemp paper was a competitor that had to be eliminated. I think it was him than bankrolled “Reefer Madness” to make hemp socially unacceptable and dangerous to youth. This helped push the ban through.

    • LetsTryLibertyAgain

      Dupont was also pushing nylon, their new synthetic fiber product. Hemp rope was as strong and had less stretch, and was cheaper. Nylon won for long term water resistance, but nylon would be a niche product as long as it had to compete with hemp, so they did what every crony capitalist does. They invested in legislation that would outlaw the competition to increase their revenue and profits. Free market capitalism was kicked to the curb and corruption has won ever since.

      I was peripherally involved in Kentucky’s hemp legislation last year, and I was very disappointed that once again, our lily livered legislators sold us out to the federal tyrants… as if the DEA will ever issue a waiver. We had a great hemp bill pass years ago with the same results. It required federal approval that never happened.

      Go Vermont!

  • LetsTryLibertyAgain

    I live in Kentucky. During WWII, my mom grew hemp as a girl on the family farm in eastern Kentucky as part of the US war effort, under the Hemp For Victory program.

    The outlawing of hemp was one of many very bad things that happened around the same time, when nobody was looking and tyranny took root – employment taxes, the IRS, The Fed, wholesale abuses of the interstate commerce clause (Wickard v. Filburn), etc.

  • Troy G. Brown

    I just wanted to add this sight that has been up for some time. This really does outline the uses for Hemp and why it was brought down by our government.

    • Troy South

      Rockefeller’s, right? They control everything else.

  • Hillbilly Jihad

    Nullifying federal law does not solve the problem. The Feds still send their jack-booted thugs into states that have passed medical marihuana laws; arresting growers and patients. When are governors going to start activating their states National Guard units to arrest federal agents/shoot federal agent that violate state laws?

    • MadMax

      Governors that nullify federal law have an obligation to protect their citizens from federal police.

    • Kevin Merck

      That’s a good question.
      When are the people going to come out in mass and demand it? — is probably just as good a question?
      There are a lot of people in the police and government who want to do the right thing, but they don’t because they will be ostracized by the cooperate media and thrown under the bus by their own neighbors.
      People need to get more involved. When that happens, a lot of good people in the government and police will be more than happy to stand with us.
      Most of the public is still asleep or brain-dead and will stone anyone to death who tries to help them.

    • Cliff Hutchison

      It’s true that “nullifying” isn’t enough, but it is a necessary step so a governor knows that the legislature is willing to stand up to the unconstitutional federal ban on hemp. The next necessary step is getting a governor that will use state law enforcement to keep the DEA and other feds from raiding and arresting Vermonters who are acting within the new state law.

      It takes more than one step to enslave a people, it will take more than one step to free us.

    • justmy2cents

      The corporate State will never do such a thing, they have to suck that fideral teat as long as possible. the sovereign state is ‘the people’ and is the one to activate it’s national guard to arrest/shoot fideral agents of the coporation US.

  • valiantX

    I don’t understand why people ‘still assume’ they always need the government, which they created in the first place as trustees and also help maintain through taxes they give away, to tell them when it’s okay to do anything like a bunch of idiotic twats!

    Secondly, are people that clueless about the word ‘bill’? Hello, a bill is a sales receipt! Meaning this shit is corporate legalese crap and has nothing to do with the real law! Have people not wonder why they always use statutes, codes, regulations, prohibitions, and policies, but never the word law?!!! C’mon now, this is just another ruse to distract people again from the truth of it all, that anything that has the name U.S. on or affiliated with it in any shape or form, are only de facto government corporate policies! That’s it. It’s just business, that’s why it’s called a bill!

    More info if one is curious from Dean Clifford of Manitoba:

    • John de la Boston

      Here is the remedy. Read The Red Amendment. Learn the law. Be happy. Be free.

    • pnutbrand

      They have created a society of life long children where adulthood no longer exists. That’s why most people think they need to ask permission to do everything they would like to do, if they could.

  • minkxy

    next, and just as important, make sure freak monsanto DOESN’T touch it. Bet they are rubbing their palms together as we speak.

  • MikeParent

    If the Feds have a problem, tell them “See you in Court.” Currently, they haven’t been required to justify their morally bankrupt prohibition, which they prop up with taxpayer funded lies and propaganda. Let’s air it out.

    • Doug Schlitte

      I really like your comentary, I recognize you as a very good voice for justice, Thanks, keep it up, stay healthy and happy. :)

  • Randy White

    Ben, I have written Senator Merkley (Oregon) asking him to look into the studies of hemp absorbing radiation (Chernobyl case studies) since the US west coast is about to get a massive hit from what is headed our way from Japan. Imagine absorbing large amounts of radiation with hemp barriers that could then be turned into fuel.

    • Doug Schlitte

      By using radioactive hemp as fuel, would’nt the radioactivity absorbed by the hemp then be rereleased back into the environment?

      • Randy White

        Yes Doug!

        27 June 2009 by Fred Pearce

        CONTAMINATED lands, blighted by fallout from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, could be cleaned up in a clever way: by growing biofuels. Belarus, the country affected by much of the fallout, is planning to use the crops to suck up the radioactive strontium and caesium and make the soil fit to grow food again within decades rather than hundreds of years.

        A 40,000 square kilometre area of south-east Belarus is so stuffed with radioactive isotopes that rained down from the nearby Chernobyl nuclear power station in 1986 that it won’t be fit for growing food for hundreds of years, as the isotopes won’t have decayed sufficiently. But this week a team of Irish biofuels technologists is in the capital, Minsk, hoping to do a deal with state agencies to buy radioactive sugar beet and other crops grown on the contaminated land to make biofuels for sale across Europe.

        The company, Greenfield Project Management, insists no radioactive material will get into the biofuel as only ethanol is distilled out. “In distillation, only the most volatile compounds rise up the tube. Everything else is left behind,” says Basil Miller of Greenfield. The heavy radioactive residues will be burned in a power station, producing a concentrated “radioactive ash”. This can be disposed of at existing treatment works for nuclear waste, he says.

        The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency is not so sure, however. Its head of waste, Didier Louvat, told New Scientist that, while the biofuels process should be safe, neither Belarus nor Ireland has an adequate way of disposing of the radioactive residues at present. “The disposal facilities Belarus set up after the Chernobyl accident are not acceptable, so they will need safe storage until they have something better.”

        Belarus has been tight-lipped about the project, though it is clearly keen to tackle the problem. Last September Andrei Savinkh, Belarus representative at the UN in Geneva, called decontamination of the soil “the number one priority for the Belarus government”.

        Chernobyl is in Ukraine, close to the Belarus border. But prevailing winds meant 80 per cent of the fallout from the burning reactor fell in Belarus. Both were then part of the Soviet Union. The accident left vegetation and soils heavily contaminated with strontium-90, caesium-137, plutonium and americium. The most heavily polluted areas remain evacuated but 8 million people live in a much wider contaminated zone.

        Farmers grow some grain crops here. The radioactive material concentrates in roots and stalks, which they plough back into the soil after harvesting. So the soil is almost as contaminated now as it was after the accident. The Belarus government hopes that by growing biofuels and using the whole plant, it can cleanse the soil. “Instead of centuries of natural decay [of the radionuclides] this process will cut the time to 20 to 40 years,” Savinkh says.

        Greenfield plans to build the first biofuels distillery next year at Mozyr, close to one of the most contaminated areas (see map). The €500 million plant will turn half a million cubic metres of crops a year into 700 million litres of biofuels, starting in 2011. As many as 10 more plants will follow provided funding can be raised, says Miller. The European Union reckons it will need about 25 billion litres of bioethanol by 2020 to meet green fuel targets.

        One of Greenfield’s partners will be Belbiopharm, a state biotech company that wants to develop genetically modified crops able to clean the soil more quickly.

        The hope is that in the long run these measures will make life safer for local people. A study in 1999 by Nick Beresford of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in Lancaster, UK, found that tens of thousands of people in the contaminated region are consuming dangerous levels of radioactivity in their food.

  • P Chanterelle

    Paper produced from hemp is light green and because there is no bleaching there is little pollution problem. It is unlikely anyone is going to be killed by having a hemp plant fall on him. Timber cutting is right up there in the top 10 most dangerous jobs. And paper bleaching produces some the most dangerous industrial by-produced know to man. Easy start up cottage industries popping where hemp fiber is cheap. WWII hemp was a vital commodity.

  • Justin C.

    This has a lot to do with the pollution created in Lake Champlain, Vermonters themselves cannot do much about it due to the Ticonderoga paper mill in New York. You can bet your ass every Vermonter will buy hemp over any wood product.

  • Doug Schlitte

    The light patches on this page make it very difficult to read many of the posts.