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New Hemp Fashion Suits Many to a T

Posted on March 4, 2000

By Lori Tighe, Honolulu Star-Bulletin

Honolulu, Hawaii — The only way you’ll get high wearing a new hemp-dyed T-shirt is by climbing a mountain.

Nonetheless, numerous people have complained to Crazy Shirts about its latest fashion statement, which they perceive as promoting marijuana, according to a company official.

The T-shirt debuted yesterday at all 44 Crazy Shirts stores and, despite the complaints, sales personnel are stoked.

Rachel Okasaki, assistant manager at the Ala Moana store, said, “It’s been blasting.”

“They’ve had to refill stacks constantly,” she said.

Crazy Shirts told its staff to educate the public that hemp is different from marijuana, said Brooke Berrington, a copy writer for Crazy Shirts. Hemp is used in some 25,000 products, including cheese and rope.

“We’re not promoting the drug,” Berrington said. “We are using hemp which has virtually no THC in it,” referring to tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical that produces marijuana’s high.

The confusion stems from hemp’s resemblance to marijuana. Both plants are in the cannabis family. But hemp contains only a minute amount of THC, less than 0.3 percent.

“If you smoke hemp, it’ll give you diarrhea and a headache,” said state Rep. Cynthia Thielen, adding, “it’s not going to be popular” as something to light up.

Thielen was instrumental in getting approval for the Wahiawa hemp farm started last year for research purposes, the nation’s first legal hemp farm in six decades.

“I applaud Crazy Shirts for doing this,” she said.

Thielen is talking to Crazy Shirts about donating some of its hemp-shirt profits to a soil clean-up project. Planting hemp in contaminated soil helps to remove toxins naturally, she said.

Crazy Shirts currently imports hemp for its T-shirt dye. But if the Drug Enforcement Administration publishes regulations allowing farmers to grow the plant, the company could use hemp grown here, Thielen said.

To relieve tourist fears that their hemp-dyed T-shirts may be stopped at airports by drug-sniffing dogs, the shirts are “canine approved” and will pass muster.

It says so on the tag.

Copyright © 2000, Honolulu Star-Bulletin. All rights reserved.