Hemp industry leaders to donate $50K to Amendment 64, marijuana regulation act

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Bronner, who'll present Amendment 64 proponents with a check at an 11 a.m. press conference at The Alliance Center (more info below), is the man behind Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, a firm that uses hemp oil in its products. "It makes the lather smoother and gives it a less drying after-feel," he says. "We've done really well with hemp oil in our soap."

Problem is, American farmers are precluded by federal regulation from growing industrial hemp, even though this cannabis relative doesn't boast the psychoactive elements present in marijuana. Why? Bronner sees it as "basically a holdover of Reefer Madness policy. Basically, I think they realize that prohibition is a house of cards, and they feel that admitting there's any chink in the armor -- that industrial hemp has diverse and useful commercial applications in a wide variety of products, or that marijuana has medical benefits -- threatens the rhetoric that this plant is evil and has no redeeming qualities whatsoever."

For that reason, Bronner is forced to seek hemp elsewhere. "Currently, we import it from Hemp Oil Canada, a company in Manitoba, and contract with Canadian farmers," he says. "And we're paying a premium. They don't have to worry about competition in America, which is the largest market for hemp."

If American farmers were allowed to plant hemp, Bronner would save money: "Obviously, the freight would be less, for one thing," he notes -- and he believes more supply would drive the price down generally.

Just as important, though, are the benefits he sees for folks not in his employ. "This is an exploding industry around the world," he points out, "but American policy, even under Obama, continues this drug-war hysteria. It's a really ridiculous policy in a time of economic downturn."

Page down to continue reading about today's hemp industry event.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts