Jun 13 2012
The Activist Beat with Rose Aguilar, host of Your Call on KALW in San Francisco is a weekly roundup of progressive activism that the mainstream media ignores, undercovers, or misrepresents.
David Bronner, the CEO of the popular Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, was arrested in front of the White House on Monday after he locked himself and a dozen industrial hemp plants in a 64-square-foot cage. The plants were grown from industrial hemp seed and contain less than .3 percent THC. That means they have no potential use as marijuana. Still, a truck full of firemen forcibly removed Bronner with a power saw. He was charged with disorderly conduct and attempted distribution of marijuana, and spent the night in jail.
David Bronner was charged with attempted distribution of marijuana for merely possessing hemp plants, while CEOs of pharmaceutical companies make billions off of their so-called legal and often deadly drugs. According to a recent AP analysis, two legal painkillers, oxycodone and hydrocodone, caused 14,800 overdose deaths in 2008 alone. And yet the US government’s hypocritical handling of the drug policy issues is rarely mentioned in the national media.
The arrest got nationwide coverage, but most articles were brief and very few bothered to explore drug policies.
David Bronner, whose company is based on Escondido, traveled to the nation’s capitol to raise awareness about the ridiculous policy that prevents US farmers from growing industrial hemp.
Bronner spends over $100,000 a year importing more than 20 tons of hemp oil per year from Canadian farmers. He’d rather buy the oil from American farmers, but if they grow hemp, they will be arrested.
In a statement, Bronner said, “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. 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.”
On Thursday, Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat from Oregon, introduced an amendment to the Farm Bill that would allow farmers to grow industrial hemp. Hemp supporters recently managed to get 28,000 signatures on a hemp legalization petition.
There’s a lot of activism surrounding this issue and the country’s failed drug policy more broadly, but it’s rarely covered.
Drug law defines hemp as a controlled substance, the same as marijuana. The White House recently stated that there is no difference between industrial hemp and marijuana grown for medical or recreational use.
According to Green Left, for thousands of years, hemp was used for food, clothing, and paper. In the 1900s, oil and timber companies had a vested interest in making hemp illegal, and they’ve been wildly successful.
It’s time to stop the insanity, legalize hemp production, and most importantly, end the drug war.
I’m Rose Aguilar for Uprising.