All Tied up in Hemp

My work took me this week to a place north of San Diego where they make Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap. It’s popular with the organic ingredients crowd, and one of the ingredients in it is hemp seed oil.

That is what caused the owner of the company to lock himself in a cage that was placed in front of the White House, where he was arrested by D.C. cops after they broke into his cage with a circular saw.

A little background.

Hemp is a fibrous plant that’s a close cousin of marijuana. Its fibers have been used for hundreds of years to make clothes, rope and ship sails. The owner of Dr. Bronner’s soap company told me the word “canvas” is derived from the word “cannabis.” I looked it up. He’s right.

He is David Bronner, a tall guy with a beard like Lenin who has a habit of snapping his fingers when he wants to emphasize a point he’s making. He’s a capitalist with a liberal political agenda. Buy a bottle of his soap and you’ll find it comes with lots of text that describes our spiritual unity.

Dr. Bronner Magic Soap is made with hemp seed oil, which you cannot produce in the U.S. because hemp is a cannabis plant that contains THC (the chemical that makes you high) therefore the oil has to be produced in and imported from Canada. Bronner thinks his cost of buying the oil would be 20 percent less if you could grow the stuff in the USA.

So his cause is part financial and part philosophical. Does he really need hemp seed oil to make his soap lathery and luxuriant? Maybe he does.

Bronner says you’d have to smoke an acre of  hemp to get high. But marijuana activism has gotten so tied up with hemp it’s hard to know whether the two can every be twain

I asked him if he was in favor of the legalization of marijuana, and he said yes… for recreational, medicinal and spiritual purposes. It’s possible that smoking dope will get you closer to God but the recreational aspect of the stuff is what makes the whole issue suspicious

As far as the government is concerned, hemp and dope are the same thing. So the industrial and cosmetic uses of hemp and its seed oil will have to take a back seat, thanks to the tiny fraction of THC that cannabis always comes with. You’d never know the stuff you use for making clothes and rope would be so demonic to gain a government prohibition, or so angelic that Dr. Bronner would risk jail to set it free.

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One Comment on “All Tied up in Hemp”

  1. David Secor Says:

    Follow the MONEY. From Big Pharma who want you addicted to their prescription painkillers and sleeping pills, to the Koch brothers who own Georgia-Pacific paper products, to plastics, clothing and other industries that prosper due to the prohibition of hemp production, “our” representatives in Congress actually represent the big contributors who (legally) bribe them. In these terrible economic times, the continued prohibition of hemp production (which would be a boon to, our economy and environment) by bought-and-paid-for politicians borders on treason.
    That is why my campaign for the U.S. House seat in the new District 50’s major focus is on getting the money out of politics. I take NO contributions from corporations, lobbyists, special interests, political parties or unions, and no contributions over $100. I NEVER will.
    If I can get my message out through news outlets and social media, we can send a message to the nation – Our representative’s vote in congress, like our own at the polls, is NOT FOR SALE.
    Until the People INSIST their representatives take no bribes, even obviously beneficial legislation such as the legalization of hemp production in the U.S. has NO CHANCE of even being considered. As Hopi elders said, “We are the people we have been waiting for.”

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