David Bronner among those arrested for planting hemp at DEA HQ

(Huffington Post) A group of civilly-disobedient hemp farmers and business leaders were arrested Tuesday morning while digging up the lawn to plant industrial hemp seeds at the headquarters of the Drug Enforcement Administration.
David Bronner, the president of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, a more than 60-year-old company that does tens of millions of dollars of business annually, was among those arrested.
Bronner buys the hemp used in his soaps from Canadian farmers. He was arrested outside the DEA museum, which shares space with the headquarters.
“Our kids are going to come to this museum and say, ‘My God. Your generation was crazy. What the hell is wrong with you people?'” he said as Arlington County Police handcuffed him and walked him to a waiting car.
Wayne Hauge and Will Allen, farmers from North Dakota and Vermont respectively, brought shovels and seeds to the protest, where they were joined by representatives of Vote Hemp, which advocates for federal legislation that would allow states to craft their own hemp policies.
Currently [eight nine] states — Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, [Oregon,] Vermont, and West Virginia — allow industrial hemp production or research, but federal law, which requires nearly-impossible-to-obtain-permits to grow hemp, trumps those state laws. A bill introduced by Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) would allow states to craft their own policies.

Of all the insanities in the War on (Certain American Citizens Using Non-Pharmaceutical, Non-Alcoholic, Tobacco-Free) Drugs, the ban on industrial hemp is the looniest. We have the Drug Enforcement Administration enforcing a ban on something that is not a drug! They’ll tell you that by strict interpretation of the law, hemp does contain THC, so it has to be banned, even though the THC contained in hemp is so minute that you could literally burn a field of the stuff and not catch the slightest of buzzes.

They’ll tell you that if hemp were legal, growers of illicit high-THC pot would hide their crops in-between the rows of hemp. Any farmer can tell you that what you’d get is cross-pollination; the hemp would ruin the high of the pot and the pot would ruin the strength of the hemp.
Then they’ll tell you that if hemp were legal, law enforcement would be burdened trying to determine which fields were hemp and which were pot. This doesn’t seem to be a problem for the police in China, Australia, Canada, or most of Europe, however, as they seem to be able to tell the difference between a tall, reedy hemp plant and a short bushy pot plant without much difficulty. Maybe our American cops are just too stupid to handle basic botany.
The ban on hemp remains for two reasons. One is to protect the entrenched business interests that would stand to lose market share to legal hemp crops. Hemp can produce anything you can make from a tree or a barrel of oil, and do it cheaper, make it better, and cause less environmental damage along the way. Hemp paper resists oxidation far better than wood paper. Hemp pressboards are as strong as steel and save our forests. Hemp seed oil has the highest energy value of any seed oil crop – all current diesel engines can run on hempseed oil with no modifications required. Hemp seed is one of nature’s highest protein foods and a source of important anti-oxidants. Hemp cloth is impervious to mildew, repels water, and holds heat better, and requires no pesticides. Can you begin to imagine all the companies that would lose money if forced to compete fairly with hemp?
And the second reason is psychological. If hemp is legal, cannabis is just a plant. It’s a subtle thing, but under the current framework, the government can tell us cannabis is an evil drug. But if hemp is legal, then sometimes cannabis is an evil drug and sometimes it is just a plant. Once cannabis is sometimes just a plant, it is harder to scare people into thinking it can be evil.
We are approaching the 400th anniversary of the first colonial hemp plantations in North America. Hemp is our American heritage – this country exists because of hemp and our entire history is infused with its cultivation and use. The forces that combined to ban hemp in the 20th Century have stolen our very birthright and declared nature itself to be illegal.

0 thoughts

  1. Russ, this is one of your best pieces yet. Keep up the good work! We should be celebrating hemp at this very moment for everything it does for us!

  2. Dear God! They went it alone, people! They went it alone and were arrested!
    We must all be that brave! To march up to the DEA headquarters and take them on directly was very heroic!
    But, we should increase our numbers! We should be at the level of Gandhi’s “March to the Sea” to cultivate “illegal” salt from the Indian Ocean.
    We, friends, can join in a “March to the Seed”. A civil act to plant a seed, regardless of whether it will grow – why? To provoke a response from our federal government!!!
    We, as these brave soldiers should have, should tell everyone before we march. The press, our friends, our family, and our government. Tell them our intentions, and gather peacefully to make good on our promise! No surprises, only the revelation of a national injustice!
    NORML, will you help us?!

  3. think its time to shed a little blood for lady liberty… Its time to start forcing our views onto society. By pen or sword!!!!!
    [Editor’s note: Um…no. Please don’t make posts to NORML’s blog that encourage violence…The pace of cannabis law reform is not satisfactory for most cannabis consumers and law reform supporters, but violence born of frustration will not advance the cause for ending cannabis prohibition.]

  4. Unbelievable. I’m shocked at the moxie of these brave and couragous patriots. The world needs more people and events like this.

  5. Once again I am asking NORML to find out if Obama’s decision to not waste federal tax dollars on raiding medical marijuana dispenseries in states where it is legal also applies to hemp farms in states where hemp farming is legal.
    More importantly I want to know Obama’s policy on hemp farming by Native Americans on sovereign land.
    I posted this question on Obama’s website change.gov but we all know how that farce worked out.
    I think a challenge by Native Americans now that Obama is in office might yield more successful results than what Alex White Plume experienced under Bush.
    I think NORML is one of the few organizations that could get the ball rolling on this idea but they seem to have little interest in the hemp issue.
    [Editor’s note: Since the late 1990s there are hemp-specific law reform organizations (i.e. Votehemp, HIA, NAIHC, etc…) that regularly ask ‘legalization’ and ‘medical’ organizations to NOT get steeply involved in hemp lobbying, which groups like NORML, DPA, ASA, SSDP, etc…have largely obliged in deference to their reform strategies and hard work.
    Today’s well-conceived protest today in support of American farmers to cultivate industrial hemp by David Bronner, et al deserves uber-kudos for what will be an interesting p.r. and legal battle with the DEA. An Obama DEA/DOJ….Stay tuned!]

  6. Shawn: no. no blood. don’t post anything like that again.
    AP: yes. we should all be doing things like this. planting a seed is not a crime.

  7. Thank you for that info.I didn’t know VoteHemp wanted you to stay out of it.I get the VoteHemp newsletter and have written them about the Native American issue but never got a response.I think I understand their reason for not wanting to be connected with the marijuana issue but we do have to stick together.
    Thanks NORML for all you do!

  8. How many of us out on planet earth have thought these words, “Our kids are going to come to this museum and say, ‘My God. Your generation was crazy. What the hell is wrong with you people?’”, We said this to ourselves or others over these long years of crazy insane unjust behavior of our employees. What will our child think when they get left with it’s mess?
    The fact that the government just outlawed the hemp farmers in America, never took the moment to ask them represents how the Constructive Fraud upon the poeple has caused a public harmed and is damaging to the health and welfare of the Nation. Arresting these folks clearly violates the equal protection right secure in the people.
    We must wake up the government just like these folks who were arrested, let this crazy shit thrown into the light.

  9. Where isour president in this issue? He could save billions of dollars just with the stroke of a pen. Why is he not moving to save our national resources and return the hemp farming industry rights. Allow doctors unrestricted of cannabis for traditional medicine. Allow the make of the holy oil for those requesting it in order to practice their belief system. We all know the listed goes on, so where is this President who is going to bring ethic and justice back to the nation?

  10. “They’ll tell you that by strict interpretation of the law, hemp does contain THC, so it has to be banned”
    What about Marinol? Oh, thats right…. big pharma says marinol is ok so its fine.

  11. Cops are too stupid, in my state you can get arrested for “look-alike” substances ie. oregano, salvia.

  12. “Maybe our American cops are just too stupid to handle basic botany.” HAHAHAH! That’s brilliant! And sooooo true.

  13. The stupid, hypocritical, self-serving cowards of the D.E.A. and their ilk could give a shit about truth, justice and the Constitution of the United States. They will continue to inflict their insanity on this nation until enough true American patriots demonstrate the inclination and will to end this reigh of counter-productive terror. Not cultivating hemp in this country is the very essence of the meaning of the word stupid.

  14. Don´t get me wrong I love to smoke herb, but the hemp issue in my opinion is by far the most important. We could literally save the plant from fossil fuels, and grow a plant that we could make just about anything from ending our need to import lots of things(ie helping the American economy instead of China´s). Read ¨The Emperor Wears No Clothes¨ by Jack Herer(stay strong and keep fighting Jack!!!) if you have not, if you have read the book or when you finish reading it give the book to a friend or family member and tell them to do the same. Keep talking about the book to everybody! Let´s save the world literally with a plant we all love! Great writing Russ, loving the stash and norml show live!

  15. A very well written piece. And yes EVERY cop even the very few good ones are all sadly dumb. You can see it in their slack-jawed faces. Lolol and what HUGE balls to plant hemp at the freakin DEA hq!

  16. Well , if somebody was digging my yard up I’d want them arrested , too .
    Wow # 13 Jon………….that’s incredible !
    They can arrest you for anything . They’ll find some reason to arrest you if they want you out of society . Look at , Marc Emery ….tens or even hundreds selling cannabis seeds & they never get arrested . Marc Emery was outspoken / pro marijuana & he gets arrested . It doesn’t take a Rocket Scientist to figure that one out .

  17. “Our kids are going to come to this museum and say, ‘My God. Your generation was crazy. What the hell is wrong with you people?’” Sorry to repeat what the doctor said but it is what we who are educated have thought all long. Our children have witnessed liberty under these condition described correctly above. It has been crazy, unjust, the law puts the general public at harm. It violates the mind and will of the people. It is based on a set of lies, O! yes, I want my children to think freely, learn creative, but restrict themselves to the guidance and educational constructs of the those who are supporting this grand Constructive Fraud which has injuried millions of our beloved nation’s people.
    This Scam is bigger than Watergate yet no media coverage, No 360, No investigative reporting about such a grand scaled fraud that has destroyed millions of lives it swore to protect.
    Did anyone think t bond these folks out of jail. Then give the folks a metal for attempting to plant seeds in the face of our wayward government.
    May the Nation of cannabis users follow his example and seed American Government Property! Forthy million people throwing a handful of seeds here and there in the face of this wayward government will expose this Constructive Fraud and the Media will not be able to suppress this movement, they will not be able to ignor this Sub-Culture any longer.
    Great move doc, sorry I wasn’t there to be arrested with you folks. I promise to continue to throw my seeds where they will be seen.

  18. We wouldn’t be such a strong nation today if not for Hemp!
    Gary Indiana can’t get rid of it! They have cops patrolling the fields in order to kill baby plants and they have been doing so for over 30 years! might as well use it instead of killing it and burning it creating massive carbon monoxide to be in the air.. Try breathing that in! Gary Indiana smells like Hemp almost everyday, and the fields are so nutrient rich that u can’t kill the hemp that was grown for world war 2!
    Fuck you American corporate bastards who fatten their wallets by destroying the environment.. fuck you.

  19. “The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all. I like a little rebellion now and then.” – Thomas Jefferson

  20. Nature is not illegal.. what is wrong with American hemp activism? you guys are insane- whether from huffiing bud or spite of it- you are old and redundant and boring and never achieve anything in 70 years of fighting the man- this time with matching chromed shovels on the DEA front lawn..sowing hemp seed in October-Duh- what did you expect it to grow into over the winter ?? – a Christmas tree??
    Duh you hippy retards
    try making a rail road tie from hemp..or a 2 X 4 = or a pencil–FAIL
    [Russ responds: do a little research next time. Railroad ties, 2x4s, pencils (other than the graphite)… all possible from hemp.

  21. PS – the guy who got busted swinging a shovel of the front lawn of satan was DAVID BRONNER– not > DR Bronner..
    ” Dr ” Bronner was the forward thinking inventor of the wonderful natural soaps that Grandson DAVID Bronner now makes with hemp oil.. DAVID Bronner is the only one of the bunch with a sincere career in job – the rest are almost hemp farmners, & almost famous hemp activists .. almost something something etc.. but all under arrest ..
    Say hello to Marc Emery when you see him in the exercise yard
    [Russ responds: Thanks for the correction.]

  22. can’t take a few truths huh ??
    > so somebody at the NORMAL HQ hits the delete button..
    have a nice day everybody
    [Russ responds: Truths are fine with us. But all new posts are moderated and may not show up immediately or even soon after you post them.]

  23. RR ties possible from hemp?? get real there hippy office staff
    it would take a 50% binder to hold the chips together, a binder made from petroleum.. and then compress them in a huge hydraulic press – you could never keep up VS a saw mill knocking off precision cut logs..
    hemp composite wood products are way heavier than tree cut virgin wood..and only a fraction as strong as tree wood- a hemp RR tie would be one huge presto fireplace log laying under two steel rails.. swelling up after a rain and bursting into sawdust = FAIL
    how about sharpening a hemp composite pencil? you’d need a lathe.. Maybe forget pasting links to fantasy explanation and start thinking rationally – & for yourself

  24. ” Do a little research next time ? ”
    excuse me your Googleness
    how about getting some real life experience ?

  25. BTW Russ-
    Canada has already crossed the 400 years of hemp threshold,,The first hemp sown in North America was in New France 1608 – Did you know that Canada has had fully commercial legal hemp for over a decade now?
    Canada has a much more suitable climate and industrial /agricultural infrastructure >in place to grow & process hemp than the USA ever had, has now or ever will… they grow hemp by the tens of thousands of acres every year at a fraction of the cost the US ever could, And its a better fiber & seed product from growing so far north on fresh moist soil during such – looooong summer days
    Chromed shovels- forward to hemp for victory !! – just as soon as the DEA gives them back from the evidence locker

  26. Aspirin. For you who don’t know it comes from the Willow tree. Surprising, I would have thought it would be illegal to. Quite some time ago we started banging our heads against a seemingly solid concrete wall, well even concrete breaks. The thirteen states with legal medical cannabis, and decriminalized cannabis are some very big cracks. The Berlin Wall came down, this one will fall to.

  27. Yes Russ, in complete agreement.
    But I have a heavy heart and today am very sad that cannabis is illegal. We are seriously considering moving to the Netherlands.
    Everyone start purchasing Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps too.

  28. hey everyone. Heres an Idea. Next time there is a protest such as David Bronners, we need to join them. Yes many thousands(if not million)standing side by side planting seeds.

  29. I agree with the first poster, David. It was a very thoughtful article.
    I’ve noticed some folks on this forum and on Paul’s recent piece regarding law enforcement’s opposition to cannabis reform on Opposing Views who are very critical of NORML. They’re not being critical because they disagree with some or all of your goals. They’re more critical of some apparently imagined lack of progress.
    I’m sure this is nothing new. I’m sure NORML has taken some shots, because I know you’ve fired some. As far as firing shots go, I commend you on your very peaceful, pro-law approach. While Smokey Stover makes the point that a relatively small amount of progress has been made over the years, I note that things ARE progressing… and you know what? It’s better than nothing. I mean, now that its ok to openly advocate for legalization again, suddenly everybody is impatiently saying, “what’s taking so long?” and “get out of the way!” I haven’t experienced those criticisms before. It sounds a bit like a divide and conquer thing, but that’s just me being paranoid, right?
    I can’t decide if its some mass phsychological phenomenon or if its an organized effort. Maybe its both? Anyways, as I said before, well written piece, Russ. IMHO you struck just the right tone of righteous indignation coupled with American patriotism.

  30. so how do we get the governement to shit or get off the pot. They make marinol but say thc isnt a medicine. SO WHICH IS IT?! They cant have it both ways under current law.

  31. ” Dr ” Bronner was the forward thinking inventor of the wonderful natural soaps that Grandson DAVID Bronner now makes with hemp oil.. DAVID Bronner is the only one of the bunch with a sincere career in job – the rest are almost hemp farmners, & almost famous hemp activists .. almost something something etc.. but all under arrest ..
    Can’t see the forrest for the “smoke”, please don’t tell me he’s a happy member! FYI, although David Bronner is and has been a true hero in my book for many years, he is not the only person in the group to have a full time, productive job. Judgement of your fellow man is a weakness of spirit that, in my opinion keeps people like David, Steve, Wayne, Adam, Alex Whiteplume, Jack Herer, the list goes on and on, from cementing the bond we need to reach our goals. We gain momentum, then “smokey” clouds the issue and the responses stop along with the momentum. I might also add that none of these men are working for personal recognition, don’t care if they’re famous, and do this work from their hearts and pockets and have done so for at least the past fifteen years and more. I’m proud of them all and owe them a profound debt of gratitude. You go guys:)

  32. *sigh*….some Stovers will never come to terms that he has been backing the WRONG side all his life. Can I order this soap by mail/online??? Sounds like a business I’d like to support.

  33. gee smokey, seems you have a thorn way up in your ass.wow i guess someone may have made a mistake.ah suppose you have never done that.come on dude, these people at norml are doing something good but it requires a collective effort from us all.maybe if they had some more funds to work with, or waiting for opportunity to make a difference.lighten up dude.you need to hit the bowl once or twice….

  34. Smokey Stover you are one ignorant bastard. It goes beyond cannabis into just plain freedom. And i kno violence is shunned on this site, if i ever come across a smokey stover braggin about bein a dick on the norml comments area…. or hatin on weed period im gona beat his fucking head in. Than YOU have a good day.. dick.

  35. I’ve used Bronner’s soap and shampoo for years. A great soap, and nice scents. Support this company that supports hemp.

  36. Hey Smokey
    Hey Smokey, I suppose you never heard of a demonstration. Belittle people if you must, it appears that makes you happy, and ridicule things you don’t understand. It was never their intention to plant the hemp seeds and have them grow. The entire thing was to bring media attention to the ridiculous policy concerning hemp prohibition. Without the enormous backing of most politcal lobbyists, grand gestures are all most people have.

  37. The laws against industrial hemp are even more senseless than cannabis prohibition. Even second graders in Nebraska know the difference between ditch weed ( wild hemp left over after WWII)and the good stuff growing in the neighbors back yard (they always manage to snitch a little while checking it out). If law enforcement can’t tell the difference then I guess they are not as wise as a 2nd grader.

  38. When Shamwell does a demonstration,
    they manage to mop up all the water
    media attention?? maybe- but that stunt set US hemp farming back ten years- its called NON COMPLIANCE – who issues cannabis permits?? the people who’s lawn they messed up//the DEA– they did a demonstration and you didn’t seem to care for that one too much.. it was called enforce the laws they are charged to enforce.. so how did 6 hippies getting arrested fit in to the wider media attention plan? that sounds more like _desperation for attention..
    anyway– nice shovels– your HIA dues at work
    & maybe i do understand,, maybe thats why you are so annoyed and as for violent hippies? who cares? go smoke your worries away – again
    you weepy hippy flakes are real sad sacks..no wonder hemp is illegal in America -YOU don;t know the difference between credible and fanciful.
    — spark up for freedom- stay out of traffic and enjoy your pizza

  39. Fantabulous article.
    To think you could take a container of hempseed oil, fill your tank with it, and then finish it off by bringing it to your mouth and drinking the last of it is astounding!

  40. It would be very unwise to fill your fuel tank and then take a swig from the hemp oil can.. as hemp oil, first has to be processed with strong non organic alkaline chemicals to precipitate the pectins before it can be burned in a diesal engine, No engine could burn cold pressed food grade hemp oil for long before it would gum up and seize up and die . — Seed oil, even old french fry grease has to be chemically altered first.
    Maybe let that woodstockian fantasy slide before you start drinking motor fuel, of any kind- unless, of course, you get off on chugging vegetable oil out of the jug..

  41. Hey Smokey,
    News flash: you whine more than all the hippies put together, you ignorant douche.

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