Pay no attention to the cronies behind the curtain.


I ran across this post by a little drive-by *sweetie* who I cannot believe is STILL employed:

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaa … ?

Why all the sneakiness and hijinks to permanently legalize hemp?  I think I have an idea.  Travel with me, folks, back to our site in 2015.

Here are the salient points:

[…] On psDecember 17, 2014, articles of incorporation were filed with the secretary of state for the North Carolina Industrial Hemp Association (NCIHA).  On January 30, 2015, Thomas Shumaker registers as NCIHA’s executive director and Jason Deans registers as the group’s lobbyist.   Does the Shumaker name sound familiar?  It should.  Thomas is the son of uber-consultant Paul Shumaker who — with Dee Stewart — was smack dab in the center of the whole solar subsidy brouhaha.    Jason Deans is a long-time close associate of the elder Shumaker’s ally Dee Stewart.

On the same day in January, Amanda Styron also registers as a lobbyist for the NCIHA.  Styron, according to LinkedIn, works for Deans at his lobbying firm.  (She also formerly interned at The Stewart Group, Dee Stewart’s operation.) 

On August 18, Joshua Ryan Ehrlich also registered as a lobbyist for NCIHA.

On September 10, Hemp, Inc. announces David Schmitt, chief operating officer of its subsidiary Industrial Hemp Manufacturing, had been elected to the NC Industrial Hemp Association’s (NCIHA, Shumaker’s group)  board of directors.

On September 24, NCIHA gained another lobbyist — Johnny Tillett of McGuireWoods. […] 

WAIT. There’s More:

Intended consequences of SB 313?

The legislation also creates the five-member North Carolina Industrial Hemp Commission. The rationale is that it is in the best interest of the state to promote and encourage the development of industrial hemp.

The first question is: If hemp is so benign and good, why does the commission require the appointment of two active law enforcement officers, one a sheriff and the other a chief of police? Are SB 313’s backers anticipating a problem with allowing the cultivation of a plant that was previously illegal?

The commission is allowed to spend up to $200,000 a year for staff support to the commission. An interesting provision of the bill seems to assume that someone is going to contribute a big chunk of money to get this commission running, as the bill says:ncleg

The Commission shall not meet or undertake any of its powers and duties under this Article until it has obtained funding from sources other than State funds of at least two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000) to support operations of the Commission. Funding from non-State sources for the Commission’s activities may be returned to the donor or funder if not spent or encumbered within 12 months, upon request of the donor or funder.

Who out there will be providing this money? Would lawmakers insert such a clause if they weren’t confident a funder was out there somewhere?

And you don’t have to worry about the commission once that funding is in place. The state is guaranteeing the eternal life of the commission by taxing the new hemp growers. The legislation says:

(3) To support the Commission’s activities, and to reimburse the Department for expenses associated with the issuance of cultivation licenses under subdivision (2) of this section, the Commission may charge the following fees: a. An initial, graduated license fee, to be paid by each cultivator, based upon the number of acres proposed for cultivation of industrial hemp, not to exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000), with incentive provisions to encourage the participation of small acreage farmers. b. An annual fee that is the sum of two hundred fifty dollars ($250.00) and two dollars ($2.00) per acre of industrial hemp cultivated.hippie111

So with funding being lined up for the newly created North Carolina Industrial Hemp Commission, who would be likely to become a paid staff member?

A favorite would have to be the son of a longtime NC political insider: Thomas Shumaker, the head of the non-profit organization that organized the lobbying effort. Thomas Shumaker’s LinkedIn account says he was “on loan to the North Carolina Industrial Hemp Association, serving as Executive Director since January 2015.” On loan, we gather, from Innovate Naturally, a venture whose general manager is Bob Crumley. Crumley is a personal injury lawyer who ran for N.C. attorney general in 2008. He employed Thomas Shumaker’s father, Paul, as his consultant for the campaign. Paul Shumaker, according to State Board of Elections reports, was paid over $120,000 for his services with the Crumley campaign, though candidate Crumley garnered only 39 percent of the vote.

Remember, there are only two staff members allowed for the Commission, and a logical inference is that Thomas Shumaker, given his present position, is a leading candidate for one of the two staff positions.

Thomas Shumaker graduated from college in 2014. He also lists stints with the Thom Tillis campaign (five months as the coalitions facilitator), and he says that he is executive director of another non-profit, Children Medical Expense Help (CME Help). In another bio found on Asheville Green Drinks, a networking site, we find that Shumaker attended NC State University (graduating in 2014) where he got his undergraduate degree in agriculture business and a minor in biology and “was involved with the Hemp Industry throughout college.” […]

This has apparently been in the works for at least eight years.  And the Paul Shumaker-Dee Stewart group appears to be in place to reap great financial benefit from the legalization.

In Raleigh, it is all about helping your cronies and filling your wallet.  Very little is done for the good of the state or the people back home.