The name of Adidas’ new hemp-based sneaker has fallen under staunch criticism from exiting drug czar, Lee Brown. In a January 5 letter addressed to Adidas America President Steven Wynne, Brown asserts that the product’s brand name — “The Hemp” — was specifically chosen to glorify and capitalize on the drug culture. “On behalf of the children of America…,” Brown writes, “I call upon you not to market [this] shoe.”
In response to the drug czar’s sharp reproach, Wynne answers that the shoe’s brand name was chosen simply as a way to call attention to the industrial material used to construct the shoe. “Adidas … is working to produce products that are environmentally responsible,” responds Wynne. “One such material is hemp. …Consistent with this direction, we have produced a shoe using hemp. …” … [Furthermore,] products made from fiber hemp, including our shoes have no drug qualities. I don’t believe you will encounter anyone smoking our shoes anytime soon.”
This past Friday, Brown shot off a second letter to Wynne, chastising the “sarcastic” tone of his previous response and again repeating his demand that Adidas find another name for its shoe. “What the shoe is made of is not the problem,” Brown counters. “The problem is what you call it. …I do not think it is in the goal of curbing drug abuse to imply that drugs are cool.”
Adidas spokesman John Fread says the company has not yet decided whether it will respond to Brown’s latest letter. The controversial Adidas shoe hit stores in December, but has not yet been publicly advertised.
For more information on the uses of industrial hemp fiber, please contact Allen St. Pierre of NORML at (202) 483-5500.