Why Are We An Association?
Under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution any individual, or group of individuals, have the absolute right to peaceably assemble. What does "peaceably assemble" mean? Well, obviously it does not mean simply gathering together as a group, for this activity is carried on regularly in nearly every country - regardless of their political leanings. What the Constitution is specifically guaranteeing is the right of individuals to assemble together into any type of collective organization for "peaceful" purposes. So, as long as the group does not promote harming others, or violating the law, they have a Constitutional right to assemble and organize to promote their purposes and ideas.
Specifically, an association is an organization created under the provisions guaranteed under the First Amendment or the United States Constitution. When an association is created and its purpose specifically identified, all individuals who join the association have their privacy and individual rights protected under the provisions of the United States Constitution.
In contrast, a corporation, limited liability partnership, or licensed business does not possess the same protection afforded to an association. This is best expressed by the Supreme Court decision in the case of Hale v. Henkel, 201 U.S. 43, 89 (1906)
"The individual may stand upon his constitutional rights as a citizen. He is entitled to carry on his private business in his own way. His power to contract is unlimited. He owes no duty to the State or to his neighbors to divulge his business, or to open his doors to an investigation.... He owes no duty to the State, since he receives nothing therefrom, beyond the protection of his life and property....He owes nothing to the public so long as he does not trespass upon their rights."
If you ask the state for a benefit, privilege, license, permit etc., you have established the fact that you do not have the "right" to do whatever it is you are asking the state for permission to do. In fact, the term license means: "A right, give by some competent authority to do and act, which without such authority would be illegal, or a tort or trespass." Bouvier's Law Dictionary, 3rd Ed, pg. 1974. Do you have the right to associate for a peaceful purpose?
Ozark Herbal Association has been established as a First Amendment Association. All of its members join by signing a "contract" which demonstrates their desire to participate in natural healing. As such, both Ozark Herbal Association and its members are protected via the provisions of the United States Constitution. The opposite is not true for "government created" entities. Such entities are entirely subject to the restrictions, inspections, rules, regulations, seizures, audits, and decisions of the government agency established and empowered to oversee these entities. The purpose of such agencies is to protect the public from potential abuses of "public" businesses. However, if a private association is created which is not open to the general public, it only influences the individuals who have voluntarily joined.
Of course, as an association you cannot get business insurance, the membership cannot use insurance for payments, you cannot get business loans, and there are a host of other benefits you cannot use that are available only to government created and regulated entities. On the positive side, if properly established and operated, the association cannot be sued by disgruntled members, it cannot be regulated by government agencies, and it owes no obligation or duty to open its books and records to government inspection.
In this day and age we recognize the fact that special interest groups use powerful lobbying activities to create laws in their favor. One such group is the American Medical Association. Laws have been written in such a manner as to protect the medical practitioners and to create a monopoly regarding the treatment of disease. At Ozark Herbal Association, we recognize this fact and have organized our association so that we are not subject to the laws regulating "health-care facilities". Additionally, we are careful not to use certain terms such as "heal" or "health care". According to the law, only a medical doctor can "heal". (I guess God is a doctor, then.)
The bottom line is, an Association:
- Protects us.
- Protects you by keeping these products and the information for them available to you.
- Enables us to keep our prices affordable.