Group Condemns Federal Bill S. 3187, Warns of Dangers of Driving Herbal Incense Business Underground.
July 9, 2012, Concord, NH - A bill that passed the Congress banning individuals from possessing a wide array of synthetic cannabinoids drew protests from small business owners and consumers alike nationwide. The bill, with a section entitled "Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act of 2012", currently awaits President Obama's signature or veto. Today, the North American Herbal incense Trade Association (NAHITA) warned of dangerous trends that occur when unconstitutional market prohibition like this takes place. Advocates and attorneys say that this legislation relies on inaccurate and erroneous information perpetuated by irresponsible media, and has passed without publicly available information about the impacts on our already overburdened judicial process, overcrowded incarceration facilities, costs, oversight, accountability, and the potential effects of civil rights complaints.
“The passage of Federal bill S 3187 will create a new class of criminals and continue the dangerous and disastrous effects of market prohibition” said Rick Broider, NAHITA President. “Passing a multi-part 140 page bill with a review period of only 5 1/2 weeks severely undermines the process of due diligence within the legislative process. Every new law passed requires additional people, systems, and resources to enforce. The last thing the American taxpayers need amidst a recovering economy and unprecedented fiscal deficit is loss of jobs and a new class of 'criminals' to incarcerate, at a national average annual cost of $30,000 per prisoner. President Obama should heed historical trends and act responsibly by vetoing this haphazardly malformed piece of legislation."
For the past few years, herbal incense products have been sold generally by responsible, tax paying small business owners, who are creating community level jobs and voluntarily restricting sales to patrons over 18 years old. These business owners are educating their communities on intended product use and checking ID's. Not only will this bill be ineffective in prohibiting a new generation of herbal incense products, but with the threat of this bill getting signed, legitimate retailers are becoming afraid of becoming a new class of criminals. Where media coverage has only increased market demand for herbal incense products, manufacturers will be forced to compromise the integrity of their distribution chain in order to maintain jobs created by the herbal incense industry.
Another deep concern is that this bill will enable law enforcement to harass business owners without probable cause. "Taxpayers are afraid. Even before its passage, there are already herbal incense products on the market that are not affected by S 3187. Although these products will continue to be legal even if S.3197 is signed, there is no way for law enforcement to delineate between products containing banned substances and those that don’t, without interruption of business and product confiscation a for an indeterminable amount of time for lab testing. With legitimate business owners being subject to raids, interruption of business, and loss of investment, there is no doubt that this bill has and will continue to deepen fear and mistrust of the police in our communities", says Broider.
Broider continues, "There has only been one time in America's history where market prohibition was allowed at the federal level, and that took a constitutional amendment. Once the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution took effect in 1920, (the Volstead Act - Alcohol Prohibition), it acted as catalyst to one of the worst time periods of corruption and violence that America has ever seen. Even though this amendment was overturned 13 years later by the Twenty-first Amendment by state ratifying convention, the US government continues expanding unconstitutional market prohibition and regulation today with no demonstrative success to its merits. Worse, the negative effects of market prohibition are still prevalent with other market-demanded products, despite billions of tax dollars spent on local, state and federal agency enforcement".
“This is a massive, invasive and untested federal drug enforcement measure that congress has been deceptive and secretive about from the start. Without more information on the impacts of this legislation, we cannot allow for the further spread of the dangerous impacts of market prohibition.”
The purpose of the North American Herbal Incense Trade Association (NAHITA) is to promote general business interest of persons, firms, and corporations in the herbal incense industry and its allied branches mainly located in North America, advance the common business interest of its members, and to enhance the knowledge and improve the skills of its members. Learn more about NAHTIA at http://keepitlegal.org