American Farmers Continue to be Shut Out of Booming Global Industry
WASHINGTON, DC — David Bronner, CEO of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, America’s top-selling natural brand of soap and an importer of more than 20 tons of hemp oil per year from Canadian farmers is staging an action at the White House today to protest Federal policy that prevents U.S. farmers from growing industrial hemp. Mr. Bronner has explained that he is waging a “beer bet” with President Obama that the 12 industrial hemp plants growing in soil he is harvesting today inside a large secure steel cage on H St. at 16th St. NW Washington, DC are not marijuana and have no drug value. Grown from Canadian industrial hemp seed, the plants per Canadian regulations contain less than 0.3% THC and have no potential use as a medicinal or recreational drug.
The hemp oil pressed from hemp seed contains high amounts of the omega-3 Essential Fatty Acid, which the American diet is chronically deficient in and doctors traditionally recommend certain types of fish to obtain. In Dr. Bronner’s soaps, the hemp oil imparts smooth lather and less drying after-feel. Fifth generation soap-maker David Bronner, equipped with a hand-powered oil press, is harvesting the hemp seed from the plants and pressing fresh hemp oil, which he will serve on hemp bread to the public and media, in full view of the White House. Mr. Bronner is enclosed with the plants and equipment in a locked, steel bar cage, to prevent interruption by police until the entire harvesting and pressing process is complete.
Follow David Bronner’s hemp civil disobedience from inside his steel cage at the White House http://www.ustream.tv/channel/hempaction. A second video feed from outside is available at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/hempaction2.
“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 David Bronner, President and CEO of the California based Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps. Mr. Bronner says, “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.”
Mr. Bronner’s protest is a direct action in response to a recent White House statement falsely conflating non-drug industrial hemp with marijuana. This intentional conflation by White House officials is used to justify a policy that prevents American farmers from growing industrial hemp, even under existing state licensing programs. Information on the new regressive White House hemp policy can be found here: http://votehemp.com/alerts/vote_hemp_alert-20120503.html
Mr. Bronner is in possession of laboratory tests that confirm the psychoactive chemical THC in the plants he is harvesting is below 0.3%, which is the global standard for the maximum allowed to ensure that hemp cannot be utilized for any drug purposes. “Industrial hemp is an agricultural crop grown on large farms in Canada, Europe, and China, which all prohibit marijuana cultivation and their police have no problem distinguishing agricultural hemp,” says Bronner. “Farmers in other countries are laughing all the way to the bank as the US is the biggest market on the planet for healthy hemp seed and fiber products with retail sales in 2011 of over $400 million. The US government should get out of the way and allow American farmers and producers to cultivate and capitalize on hemp’s many product applications and markets.”
Last week Senator Ron Wyden introduced, and Senator Rand Paul co-sponsored, an amendment to S. 3240, the Agricultural reauthorization bill, that clarifies that industrial hemp is an “agricultural crop” that should not be considered the same as “marijuana.” “Senator Wyden’s effort is truly commendable, but in my view the existing prohibition of hemp farming stems less from current law than the deliberate misinterpretation of existing law by regressive drug warriors entrenched in the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Office of National Drug Control Policy and other high level members of the Obama Administration,” says Bronner.