David Bronner, the CEO of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, was arrested today after engaging in an act of peaceful civil disobedience outside the White House to protest the federal ban on industrial hemp farming.
Bronner locked himself in a steel cage with several hemp plants which he began harvesting and pressing for oil. Firefighters eventually cut open the lock and police then arrested Bronner.
In an interview with StoptheDrugWar.org on Sunday, David Bronner said, "It took [the Obama administration] seven months to answer our hemp petition, and when they did, it was with this Orwellian response calling hemp marijuana and opposing legalization. They also refused to meet with a North Dakota delegation, where everyone from the governor on down wants to grow hemp, so what are we going to do?"
"The industrial hemp plants I am harvesting and processing into oil cannot produce a high of any kind, but according to the Obama Administration I'm in possession of approximately 10 pounds of marijuana," says Bronner. "President Obama's US Attorney who handles drug cases in Washington, DC will not be able to prove my hemp has any more drug value than a poppy seed bagel. The Obama position on hemp is not science-based or good for the US economy. We've lobbied and campaigned for over a decade and feel abandoned by our President who as an Illinois state legislator voted twice for hemp cultivation."
Bronner adds, "I expected more from President Obama. The President can simply direct the Department of Justice to respect industrial hemp grown pursuant to existing state hemp programs, such as North Dakota's. Everyone is sick and tired of America's bankrupt policy on hemp that forces our company to send well over a hundred thousand dollars every year to Canadian farmers. I had hoped that President Obama would not succumb to drug warriors' hysteria regarding hemp. I really don't know what else to do to get our 'Chief Law Enforcement Officer' to take a rational science-based approach to hemp policy in this country."
Dr. Bronner's website highlights how, contrary to the U.S. policy, hemp is so versatile. "Hemp’s excellent fiber can replace virgin timber pulp in paper, glass fibers in construction and automotive composites, and pesticide-intensive cotton in textiles. Because of its huge market potential and high biomass/cellulose content, hemp is an ideal future crop for producing bio-ethanol and bio-plastics."
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Robin Bell has video of Bronner's hemp harvest protest today:
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Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps: Industrial Hemp: A Sustainable Alternative to Problematic Raw Materials
Industrial hemp is non-psychoactive varieties of the Cannabis plant grown for fiber and seed. Hemp has a remarkable number of beneficial uses, and we support its use in agriculture, manufacturing and trade. Hemp oil improves our soaps because it contains such a high proportion of poly-unsaturated fatty acids which make our soap milder and less drying.
The Bronner family is committed to helping transition our major industries away from polluting, unsustainable materials and methods to cleaner, sustainable ones. Hemp’s excellent fiber can replace virgin timber pulp in paper, glass fibers in construction and automotive composites, and pesticide-intensive cotton in textiles. Because of its huge market potential and high biomass/cellulose content, hemp is an ideal future crop for producing bio-ethanol and bio-plastics. However, the U.S. government, alone among the major industrialized nations, effectively prohibits domestic hemp cultivation — due primarily to the “reefer madness” and confusion regarding hemp’s psychoactive cousin, “marijuana.”
In 2001, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), under the Bush administration, attempted to destroy the U.S. hemp industry, issuing regulations purporting to interpret existing law to declare hemp illegal and seizing shipments of hemp seed and oil at the Canadian border. Dr. Bronner’s funded and coordinated the hemp industry’s protracted and ultimately successful litigation with the DEA, culminating in a clear victory on February 6, 2004 in the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. David Bronner serves on the Vote Hemp board and is currently President of the Hemp Industries Association (HIA).
The Bronner family is supporting Vote Hemp and the HIA’s legal, media, grassroots and lobbying efforts to recommercialize industrial hemp in the U.S. We teamed up with Gertrude Spindler to market her vegan, organic, gluten-free hemp snack bars (ALPSNACK), from which all profits are donated to hemp advocacy.
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— Dr. Bronner's Soaps (@DrBronner) June 11, 2012