By: Michael Lotfi
NASHVILLE, April 17, 2014– Yesterday, the Tennessee General Assembly took the final necessary steps to send legislation to Governor Haslam, which if signed, will nullify the federal ban on hemp.
House Bill 2445 (HB2445), introduced by Rep. Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby), would mandate that the state authorize the growing and production of industrial hemp within Tennessee, effectively nullifying the unconstitutional federal ban on the same. Senator Frank Niceley (R-Strawberry Plains) is the chief Senate sponsor of the legislation.
Local media point to federal law citing hemp production is still banned on the federal level, and that the Tennessee legislation will only set Tennessee up to begin cultivation once the feds change the law. However, the legislation makes no such stipulation with regards to waiting on the feds.
The bill reads, in part:
“The department shall issue licenses to persons who apply to the department for a license to grow industrial hemp.”
Mike Maharrey, communications director for the TenthAmendmentCenter, noted that one word strengthened the bill considerably. “By including the word ‘shall’ in this legislation, it has a great deal of impact,” he said. “This means that rather than keeping it open-ended like other states have done, hemp farming will be able to move forward in Tennessee whether the regulatory bureaucrats there want it to or not.”
‘Shall’ is a legal term which creates a specific requirement far stronger than a word like ‘will.’ The former is more closely interchangeable with the word “must,” while the latter allows leeway for the object of the term to delay. In this case, the bill states that the Tennessee department of agriculture will have a mandate to license farmers for growing hemp.
With passage of HB2445, Tennessee will most likely become the 2nd state in the country to actively produce hemp. The legislation also ensures that not only will hemp licenses be issued, but the process for doing so will start quickly. It reads:
The department shall initiate the promulgation of rules … concerning industrial hemp production within one hundred and twenty (120) days of this act becoming law…
Federal laws still remain on the books. However, the United States Department of Justice announced that it would no longer presume enforcement of federal hemp and marijuana laws last August. The announcement delivered a return of state police powers with regards to cannabis strains.
Michael Lotfi is a Persian, American political analyst and adviser living in Nashville, Tennessee where he works as the executive director for the Tenth Amendment Center (TN). Lotfi founded TheLibertyPaper.org, which is an online news source that is visited daily by readers in over 135 countries. Lotfi also writes a column at The Washington Times called “American Millennial”. Lotfi graduated in the top 5% of his class with top honors from BelmontUniversity, an award winning, private university located in Nashville, Tennessee.
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