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Category Archives: Industrial Hemp

seedHeadline: October 13, 2009Activists Dig into Efforts to Legalize Hemp in U.S. – American farmers yearning to grow industrial hemp came to Washington, DC to commit an act of civil disobedience at the headquarters of the Drug Enforcement Administration, to dramatize the stubborn refusal of the DEA to differentiate between hemp from marijuana  and to encourage the U.S. government to join the rest of the world growing this amazingly versatile and environmentally crop. The potential hemp farmers were joined by David Bronner, President of Dr. Bronner’s Soaps – a company that has included hemp oil in its products for years. Vote Hemp, a non-profit group advocating hemp agriculture, organized and documented the action:Hemp Farmers Arrested Planting Hemp at DEA Headquarters

The farmers were from Vermont and North Dakota –  among six states that have legalized industrial hemp farming, soon to be joined by Oregon, whose governor has said he would sign the Industrial Hemp Farming Act recently passed by the state legislature. The North Dakota farmer sued the DEA to force it to yield to the state law – he is appealing a negative ruling.

In a post from last year, we covered the legal effort by North Dakota farmers, having paid $2,300 to the DEA for a permit, to force the federal government to do the right thing. Another post featured North Dakota’s Commissioner of Agriculture extolling the benefits of hemp and details of the federal Industrial Hemp Farming Bill introduced by Re. Ron Paul (R-TX) (The federal bill was re-introduced this year). It should be noted that few crops can grow well in harsh prairie conditions without extraordinary amounts of water, fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides – but hemp thrives naturally in these conditions.

NEIn another video from Vote Hemp’s You Tube channel, a Nebraska farmer, having lost his wheat crop to Fusarium Head-Blight, considers the possibility of hemp saving his farm:Controversial Crop

As a charming interlude, please enjoy this music video of a song composed from the words that the spiritually-oriented Dr. Bronner printed on the label of his 18-in-1 Hemp Peppermint Pure-Castile Soap. From the chorus:

Full-truth our god, half-truth our enemy,
Hard work our salvation, unity our goal,
Free speech our weapon, all-one our soul,
Listen children,
Eternal father, eternally one.

Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap Song

Hempseed Photo courtesy of Hempology.org

“Based on claims made on your product’s label, we have determined that your Cheerios Toasted Whole Grain Oat Cereal is promoted for conditions that cause it to be a drug –  Federal Drug Administration  letter to General Mills, posted on the FDA’s website, May 12, 2009.

CheerLeafWith today’s Alternet headline, “Cheerios are a Drug? FDA’s Surprising Letter to General Mills”, the government’s subservience to Big Pharma should be obvious to mainstream America. By claiming that it’s product could lower bad cholesterol, General Mills challenges the notion that only pharmaceutical preparations can be considered therapeutic. This monopoly on medicine and suppression of natural plant cures (until pharmaceutical patents can be acquired) mirrors our experience with medical marijuana and hemp seed food products, both targets of government control and misinformation.

Jethro Kloss knew in the 1920’s that oats were good for us – it just took modern science to explain exactly how – “used to lower cholesterol and prevent, lessen or treat the disease hypercholesterolemia, and to treat and prevent coronary heart disease” (FDA quote). Interestingly, Cannabis Hemp seed oil (available alongside flax oil at your local health food store), having been called “Nature’s Perfect Oil” by Udo Erasmus for it’s Essential Fatty Acid profile and unsaturated fats that drive down bad cholesterol, is also used as a healthy replacement food.

ctc1This video from the Second Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics in 2002, hosted by Patients Out of Time, features Mary Beth Augustine, an Integrative Medicine Nutritionist, describing the nutritional profile of hemp oil and compares it to Flax, Fish and Soy oils.Hemp Oil Nutrutional Profile, MaryBeth Augustine, RD,CDN

fxglveThe confusion about plants and drugs seems rampant these days. Like Digitalis from the plant Foxglove, THC is derived from Cannabis. Our government warns us about the “new, more powerful marijuana” with high levels of THC, yet allows pure THC in the form of Marinol to be prescribed as a Schedule Three medicine. I hope beautiful Foxglove flowers will not also be banned from our gardens.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 2007 observation that marijuana was “not a drug, just a leaf” was a rare moment of clarity in an issue that affects us all – corporate control of food production and medicinal plants.Arnold Schwarzenegger – *Marijuana Not a Drug, Just a Leaf*

On a similar theme, last March at the United Nation’s Commission on Narcotic Drugs meeting in Vienna, Austria, Bolivian President Evo Morales chews on a cocoa leaf while urging the CND to remove the cocoa plant from it’s list of banned substances, as the natural plant  is “not a drug but a traditional medicine”.   Morales at the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs

I wrote last year about the worldwide corporate race to pharmaceuticalize Cannabis – to patent Cannabinoid derivatives and concentrates, while governments and the UN continue to deny access to the natural plant. Also, current U.S. legislation that would restrict what foods we grow in our own gardens and buy in Farmer’s Markets is awakening many to the new threat from Big Brother.

jeff2 If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.”
– Thomas Jefferson

paxflagAmerica is relearning a hard lesson these days – one that Al Capone, Sir Issac Newton and Lao Tzu could easily understand – that applied force triggers an equal and opposite reaction. Our modern prohibition – the “War on Drugs” – has plenty of unintended consequences and threatens to plunge our nation into a nightmare far eclipsing the short lived alcohol prohibition fiasco of the last century.

Paradoxically, Cannabis (marijuana) is the major focus of the drug war – the reason being sheer numbers. The abusers of narcotics like cocaine, heroin and ‘meth’ are statistically insufficient to politically justify the huge “prohibition complex” bureaucracy, sativaso marijuana is included to bolster the ranks of offenders. To further frighten the public, substance abuse statistics always include the ravages of alcohol and pharmaceuticals, skewing perceptions of the true effects of illegal drugs on society. For excellent analysis of this deception, check out Mike Gray’s book, “Drug Crazy – How we got Into this Mess and How we Can get Out” and listen to Mike Krawitz’s interview with Amanda Fielding of the Beckley Foundation, broadcast on the Drug Truth Network last week.

So, when President Obama walked to his first “Internet Town Hall Meeting” yesterday, where he would respond spontaneously to popular questions from the on-line public (supposedly unknown to him), he was pulled aside by an aide to warn him about the number one ranked question, “Would you support the bill currently going through the California legislation to legalize and tax marijuana, boosting the economy and reducing drug cartel related violence?”  Here is his response:Obama Says No to Legalizing Marijuana

That the President would break his own rules regarding this first digital fireside chat and refuse to seriously address the marijuana question is not surprising. “Drug War Exemptions” to the Constitution and Bill of Rights are routine – so why not exemptions to discussion. Laughing off any intellectual challenge to the drug war has become a tradition for politicians and the media. As it is said, “Truth is the First Causality of War” . In this silence of debate, perhaps we should look to wisdom of the past, Lao Tzu and the “I Ching” , for guidance in the present.

“By letting it go, it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try, the world is beyond the winning.”

oldboy“The more laws and order are made prominent, the more thieves and robbers there will be.”

“Govern a great nation as you would cook a small fish. Do not overdo it.”

“Violence, even well intentioned, always rebounds upon oneself.”

“The words of truth are always paradoxical.”

Ah, the Cannabis Paradox – not a narcotic, but often called that; an ancient medicine now legal in 13 states, but classified as “Schedule One – having no medicinal use” by the federal government; cited for crossing state borders even when it doesn’t; and blamed for undermining our national security when the best marijuana can be produced right here in the U.S.

The following video, featuring former Attorney General of the United States Ramsey Clark, medical marijuana patients on a “Journey for Justice” , victims of the drug war portrayed by the November Coalition and the Sacred Pipe and Conch bring the truth to the nation’s capitol:Ramsey Clark & Pot Activists, with “Give Chanumpa a Chance”

galax2“The illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world.” – Carl Sagan

amsaac* Call the White House to Urge President Obama to Immediately Suspend DEA Interference! * –  Americans for Safe Access

During his campaign, Barack Obama won the support of medical marijuana advocates by pledging to end the federal raids on Cannabis dispensaries in states that have legalized the plant for medicine. On this video, candidate Obama reiterates that position, saying, “I would not have the Justice Department  prosecuting or raiding medical marijuana users. It’s not a good use of our resources.” Barack Obama on Medical Marijuana Raids

January 22, 2009 –  Two days after President Obama took his oath of office, the Drug Enforcement Administration raided a medical Cannabis provider in California and two locations in Colorado where medical Cannabis was being grown. Drug War Chronical

nmlThe National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws is urging Americans to urge President Obama to keep his promise and direct his administration to respect the laws of thirteen states that have enacted medical marijuana programs. Visit NORML and learn how you can help!

The Herbal Minded Rational You Tube channel has posted a video that connects President Obama’s vision for America with the need to legalize and regulate Cannabis Hemp.Marijuana News for January, 2009

leapThe same You Tube producer has uploaded a series of videos featuring  members of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition – consisting of police officers, federal agents, corrections officers, judges and other law enforcement professionals. In this video, a retired federal officer explains why the current prohibition (“War on Drugs”) actually makes the situation worse.Federal Agent Tells Obama to Legalize Marijuana

ben2There never was a good war or a bad peace.
Benjamin Franklin (1773)

scrollnegPresident-Elect Obama’s transition team has opened a second forum for questions submitted and voted on by Americans – http://Change.Gov/OpenForQuestions

After the first round of questions was closed two weeks ago, the Change.Gov team posted responses to the most popular topics , including:

Question: “Will you consider legalizing marijuana so that the government can regulate it, tax it, put age limits on it, and create millions of new jobs and create a billion dollar industry right here in the U.S.?” 

Answer: President-elect Obama is not in favor of the legalization of marijuana.

This brief response to the most voted on question (according to NORML – see Previous Post) underscores the disconnect between government policy and the new silent majority recognizing Cannabis Hemp’s proper role in America – past, present and future. Thirteen states have now legalized medicinal Cannabis (an issue that has polled at least 75%  for decades); our farmers are suing to grow a crop their ancestors depended on; and thirteen states have now decriminalized small amounts of marijuana despite efforts by government officials to misrepresent and thwart reform.

vhsThis morning the good folks at Vote Hemp alerted me to the second round of questions now open at Change.Gov,  asking hempsters to search and vote for this question:

“Agricultural hemp is oilseed and fiber varieties of Cannabis that are low in THC. Please see CRS report RL32725. What is your position on supporting farmers in the U.S. having the opportunity to once again farm hemp, an important agricultural crop?”

Vote for this question (search “CRS RL32725) at:

http://Change.Gov/OpenForQuestions

* Current news and videos about industrial hemp – from the U.S. & Canada:

Headline: Nov 13, 2008 – US: Hemp Growers Take Case to Higher Authority – After paying $2,300 for a DEA permit in February 2007 and losing in federal court, two farmers in North Dakota are taking the federal government to the next legal level – in hopes of taking America to the next economic and environmental level. In a previous post, you can see ND’s Commissioner of Agriculture extolling the benefits of returning hemp to Dakota fields. Here is a local newscast, provided by Vote Hemp at You Tube:Wayne Hauge on KXMB Bismrck

canadaHeadline: Nov 13, 2008 – CN MB: Demand For Hemp Soaring, Firm Moves To Bigger Plant –  “In the last 10 years, the Canadian hemp industry has grown from an emerging niche market to a point where we are now being recognized as a global leader in hemp production”, said Mike Fata, chairman of the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance ( CHTA ) and president and co-founder of Manitoba Harvest Hemp. The following, a video produced by Manitoba Harvest , is hosted on  Mike Fata’s You Tube Channel:Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods & Oils – Harvest Video

Headline: June 25, 2008 – CN MB: Growers Breeding New Hemp – In another story from Manitoba, the Parkland Prairie Hemp Growers Co-Op announced exciting results from eight years of work – cross breeding modern hemp varieties with 18th century genetics– the hemp of our grandfathers. PPHG has just received a grant from Canada’s Agri-Food Research & Development Initiative (ARDI) to further pursue the science and profit of hemp genetics.

neMeanwhile, back in the U.S.A., the only hemp fields to be found are feral remnants of the 18th & 19th century genetics so carefully selected by our ancestors. Recently, Cannabis TV visited one gene pool oasis in eastern Nebraska, where the famous “Kentucky Hemp” variety was introduced to support the cordage industry.  In this video, plant breeder David West, PhD examines the ripe hemp seed heads so important to pheasants and other wildlife, details history of hemp in the region and laments the loss of an important American legacy.Feral Hemp Patch, with Dr. Dave West

thomas“An acre of the best ground for hemp, is to be selected and sewn in hemp and be kept for a permanent hemp patch.” – Thomas Jefferson’s Garden book 1849

chinHeadline: November 28, 2008 – China: Oldest Stash of Marijuana Unearthed in Ancient Tomb – Once again, the theory that Cannabis high in THC (aka “skunk“) is a recent phenomenon to be feared is debunked. Preserved in desert conditions in northwestern China, about 27 ounces (enough to get you in serious trouble in modern times) of still green Cannabis was found in a tomb near Turpan. Dated at 2,700 years old, the herb was “relatively high in THC” and clearly cultivated for psychoactive purposes“, according to a research paper in the Journal of Experimental Botany: Phytochemical and Genetic Analyses of Ancient Cannabis From Central Asia  http://jxb.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/59/15/4171

” To our knowledge, these investigations provide the oldest documentation of cannabis as a pharmacologically active agent” , said lead author of the study, neurologist Ethan Russo. An expert in modern medicinal applications of Cannabis, Dr. Russo has done extensive research into the symbiotic history of Cannabis and humanity. In this video from a Cannabis Therapeutics Conference in 2002, he examines studies conducted over the last couple of hundred years – specific to chronic (prolonged) use of Cannabis.Marijuana Use Studies – A History, with Ethan Russo, MD

Headline: Nov 28, 2008 – China: Researchers High On Ancient Pot Find – Another Canadian newspaper covering this story goes into more detail on the contents of the supposed Shaman’s tomb. “It was common practice in burials to provide materials needed for the afterlife.  No hemp or seeds were provided for fabric or food.  Rather, cannabis as medicine or for visionary purposes was supplied”, states Dr. Russo as he ponders the oldest sample of prehistoric Cannabis to be scientifically examined.

sativaHowever, there is voluminous written history to document the use of Cannabis Hemp by peoples all over the world (see our “Why do we call it Cannabis? page). In Dragons of Eden, Carl Sagan postulates that Cannabis was the oldest cultivated crop, circa 12,000 BC. Canadian author Chris Bennett wrote a wonderful book, Green Gold, The Tree of Life – Marijuana in Magic and Religion, that provides a view into the sacred herb’s influence in many lives and cultures. Here is Chris Bennett speaking on the history of Cannabis at the Global Marijuana March in British Columbia, 2007:Chris Bennett @ Global Marijuana March

“The Land of Hemp and Mulberry” – The following video refers to 10,000 years of Cannabis hemp history in China – first as food, then as fiber for paper, fishing nets, textiles and “5,000 other uses” – even playing a role in war.Hemp History

Next, this You Tube producer documents Cannabis Hemp in modern China, where it is “quite normal” to see hemp growing around houses, ponds and fields. Also, he visits an industrial hemp processing facility.Fields of cannabis in China

galax2“The illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world.” – Carl Sagan

      Tonight’s presidential debate is at Hempstead, NY – on Long Island, where just a few generations ago, huge fields of Cannabis Hemp waved in the wind. Especially important during WW2, when the military contracted for hemp to make parachute webbing, rope and canvas, industrial hemp had been established as an essential crop in Hempstead since Colonial times.

Given the amazing potential of modern industrial hemp utilization in America (the last of the G-8 not allowing its’ farmers to grow it) and the immediate need to support local economies during our coming economic restructuring,  tonight would seem an appropriate time to discuss joining the 21st century with our ancestors’ knowledge of this remarkable plant. High quality industrial fiber (already in luxury cars); cellulose suitable for papers, plastics and ethanol; high quality seed oil – found at health food stores for its’ EFA (Essential Fatty Acids) profile and even suitable for biodiesel!

Local hemp mills and biodiesel facilities could save the family farm and sustain America through turbulent times, all without poisoning the land like cotton or depleting the water, as corn does. Who would’a thunk it – except for Jack Herer back in 1989. Check out“The Emporer Wears No Clothes” for the details – it’s a classic.

Here are some recent news stories concerning Cannabis Hemp from around the world, inter-spaced with videos that just scratch at the surface of this urgent issue. With the growing problems with hydrocarbon fuels and products, it would behoove John McCain and Barack Obama, as Congressmen and a future President, to allow our farmers to benefit from the next wave in eco-agriculture.

Aug 19, 2008 – New Zealand: Perseverance Leads to Hemp Approval– After developing its’ own cultivar of hemp -“Aotearoa 1 “, the Catlins Industrial Hemp Group has been approved by the NZ Director-General of Health to proceed with the countries’ first planting of the versatile crop, promising farmers many future markets and sustainable biofuels for New Zealand’s long-term stability. Mack McIntosh, the developer of the new cultivar, foresees New Zealand’s strain of hemp to be marketed around the world.

In this video, from a Series on You Tube, Kevin O’Connell the Auckland central representative for the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party talks about the future of Cannabis in New Zealand.Kiwi Cannabis News Vault Update – Consequences of Legalization

Aug 24, 2008 – New Zealand: Holistic Way of Hemp– Luxury car maker Lotus is showcasing an eco-friendly concept car, the Eco Elise, that utilizes industial hemp in an exciting design conforming to new EU Flower Certification” standards for protecting the environment. Canadian hemp is already being utitlized in the automobile industry, e.g. – as a safer replacement for fiberglass in door and dashboard panels. 

Sept 7, 2008 – Europe: Marijuana Ingredient May Fight Bacteria – Another example of how our modern world needs Cannabis Hemp – researchers from Italy and Britian have found that Cannabinoids are effective as topical compounds that inhibit the growth of MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus), a nasty little bug that might just wipe us out if we don’t react correctly. This article points out that Cannabis has long been known to have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.

In this informative and imaginative video, a You Tube Producer details of the history and efficacy of Cannabis in germ fighting:Marijuana Cures Skin Bacteria

Sept 30, 2008 – WI: Legalizing, Taxing Pot Urged To Raise Cash – Drawing a parallel between the economic pressure to end alcohol prohibition during the Great Depression in 1932 and the logic of ending marijuana prohibition during our modern economic crisis, Gary Storck, co-founder of the Madison chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, joins a chorus of drug law reform advocates who have long recognized the potential of tax revenues from re-legalized marijuana sales and industrial hemp production.

Bruce Mirken, director of communications with the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project, said legalization and regulation could mean between $10 billion and $40 billion a year to state and federal budgets.

“An acre of the best ground for hemp, is to be selected and sewn in hemp and be kept for a permanent hemp patch.” – Thomas Jefferson’s Garden book 1849

Barak Obama was at a town hall meeting today in South Dakota today, talking about U.S. farm policy, hard economic times and buying American.  I hoped one of the questioners would be Alex Whiteplume, from the Pine Ridge Reservation – a land that’s hard to grow anything on and a people desperately needing viable industry close to home. 

Since 2000, Alex and his family have tried to grow Industrial Hemp on their land, first as a seed crop to build the stock of low-THC hemp seed, then as a fiber, oil and cellulose crop. Hemp is one of few crops that can do well in the harsh, arid land. Interestingly, the Lakota Sioux at Pine Ridge had contracts with the U.S. government during World War 2, to produce the strong, versatile fibers badly needed for parachute webbing, ropes, etc.

I hoped Alex could ask Barak if he would support a return to hemp farming in America, like his rival for president, Rep. Ron Paul (R) TX, who introduced the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2007. And I wished he could have time to tell his story – of betrayal by the U.S. government, which has come in repeatedly and destroyed the hemp crops, trampling on the sovereignty of the Lakota Sioux Nation. Here is a trailer of the film, “Standing Silent Nation“, which aired on the PBS, produced by Prairie Dust Films.Standing Silent Nation (Preview)

The hemp project at Pine Ridge was assisted by the Hemp Industries Association, the premier grassroots organization promoting industrial hemp to save the family farm and the Kentucky Hemp Grower’s Cooperative, who bought hemp bales from Canadian farmers and gifted it to the Native Americans at Pineridge. Soon, a house built of “Hempcrete” blocks, lightweight and resilient due to the long hemp fibers and hurds, and hemp insulation stood as proof that hemp could work at Pineridge. There were even prospects for sales of the Hempcrete blocks off of the Reservation. 

Cannabis TV has produced a  ten minute video giving the background to this story, including an interview with John Trudell, Native American musician, artist and activist. Long a supporter of Cannabis Hemp in its’ many manifestations, John Trudell clearly sees the benefits for the people of Pine Ridge and the motives of the government.Pine Ridge Hemp Project, with John Trudell

Well, you can’t keep a good people or a good plant down, even if they do stand silent. Alex Whitplume, his family and others have continued experimenting with industrial hemp at Pine Ridge, from making soaps and salves to homemade paper. And just yesterday, another You Tube producer posted a video series showing a building renovation with a  “Hempcrete” stucco, imported from England, where products like this have been in development for years.Hempcrete Construction – USA, SD

Here is a video featuring the patriotic members of the U.S. House of Representatives who co-sponsored the 2007 Industrial Hemp Farming Act, plus some of the products now made from hemp.Industrial Hemp Farming Act

As Hemp needs little fertilizer, herbicide or pesticide applications and needs far less water than corn, eco-friendly industries like Cellulosic Ethanol (see April.24th post) , biodiesel from hemp seed and products ranging from food to car parts become feasible, given the prolific production of this versatile plant. Rather than fighting the Sioux Nation  with my tax money, I would prefer that our government learn from Alex’s example and follow a path back to our past for sustainability in the future.

“Make the most you can of the Indian Hemp seed and sow it everywhere.” -President George Washington, 1794