Friday, Oct 16th, 2009
You can buy hemp products in America, including textiles, nutritional supplements, soaps and ropes. You just can’t grow hemp in America. So all the hemp used in these products purchased by Americans is grown somewhere else: China, Canada, India, Chile and many other countries. Meanwhile, Americans farmers suffer under increasing debt and decreasing revenues from stalled crop prices. What’s wrong with this picture?
What’s wrong, it turns out, is that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) makes no differentiation between industrial hemp and marijuana. To the DEA, it’s all the same crop (never mind that smoking industrial hemp will only make you vomit, not high) and anyone caught planting hemp will be arrested and prosecuted using the same laws that were really only intended to halt hard-core street drug pushers.
As anyone who isn’t smoking crack has already figured out (and even a few who are), America’s drug policy is a scandalous failure. Not only has the so-called “War on Drugs” utterly failed to stop the flow of recreational drugs in America, it has criminalized struggling farmers who seek to grow industrial hemp as a profitable, renewable crop that’s in high demand across multiple industries.
The War on Drugs has accomplished one thing, though: It has filled the nation’s prisons with small-time “offenders” who got caught with an ounce or two of weed in their pockets. America’s drug policy, it seems, is a boon for the prison industry, but a curse upon our nation’s farmers.
To communicate this point, a small group of true American heroes recently marched to the DEA headquarters in Washington D.C. and planted hemp seeds on the front lawn. As cameras rolled, they were arrested for trespassing, but the point had already been made: Industrial hemp is good for America. It’s good for farmers, it’s good for the economy and it’s good for the environment (because hemp needs no pesticides and is a renewable crop that grows well even in poor soils).
Among those arrested at the event were David Bronner from Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps (www.DrBronner.com). David Bronner, whom I’ve interviewed on several occasions, is one of America’s revolutionary heroes. Along with other supporters like Ronnie Cummins of the Organic Consumers Association (www.OrganicConsumers.org), he fought hard to clean up organic labeling of personal care products by exposing the “organic cheaters” who falsely use the “organic” word on their product labels. He’s also been a strong advocate for the legalization of hemp seeds in America (which were only legalized as a food a few years ago) as well as a dedicated supporter of authentic Fair Trade practices.
David Bronner was joined in the hemp-planting protest by Adam Eidinger, another true American hero who has stood his ground on numerous grassroots advocacy issues. He’s the communications director for Vote Hemp (www.VoteHemp.com), a grassroots advocacy group seeking to see industrial hemp once again legalized across the United States of America.
Also present at the hemp planting were Wayne Hauge, a North Dakota farmer, and Will Allen, a Vermont farmer who seeks to grow hemp as one of his crop options.
These six men took courageous action to send an important message: America needs hemp. (And some would argue that, likewise, California needs marijuana, but that’s another story altogether.)
Legalizing the farming of industrial hemp has nothing to do with legalizing recreational drugs. Industrial hemp isn’t pot. You can’t smoke it. (Well, actually, you can, but you can also smoke dandelion weeds, and they both give you roughly the same nauseating result.)
The DEA’s stance against hemp is an outmoded, leftover remnant of an ancient drug policy that favored force over common sense. And it’s time to change it. America needs to end its irrational criminalization of industrial hemp farming.
You can help. This Take Action page allows you to easily contact your representatives in Washington to let them know that you support the de-criminalization of industrial hemp farming: http://capwiz.com/votehemp/home/
Let your representative legislators know that both U.S. farmers and the U.S. economy need a profitable, renewal crop grown right here at home. Hemp is the answer.
In the mean time, just so you know, two other strong advocates of hemp products are Ruth’s Hemp Foods (www.RuthsHempFoods.com) and Nutiva (www.Nutiva.com). They, as well as Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps (www.DrBronner.com) deserve your support.
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This article was posted: Friday, October 16, 2009 at 3:50 am