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Hemp: Industry Group Seeks "Beer Summit" on Capitol Hill Following Seizure of Legal Demonstration Fibers

Submitted by David Borden on (Issue #597)
Drug War Issues
Politics & Advocacy

press release from Vote Hemp

Hemp Seizure in Capitol Underscores Confusion Over Cannabis
Hemp Industry Seeks Beer Summit with Capitol Police

WASHINGTON, DC -- Vote Hemp legislative assistant Ben Droz was shocked when Capitol Police seized his samples of industrial hemp fiber that he needed for a scheduled presentation to congressional staffers. Police refused to release the fiber after the search, while saying they knew it had no drug value and was "just hemp." The group of officers decided they needed to confiscate all the hemp seeds because no food was allowed, but the hemp fiber was also seized even though it is not food. "I just want to throw this out," said one officer, who ultimately did.

Mr. Droz explained to police that the items were being used to illustrate the environmental properties of hemp. "This is just another example of the confusion between Industrial Hemp, an important crop for farmers across the country, and marijuana, a distant cousin also from the Cannabis family." The United States is the only developed country that does not recognize the distinction between the two varieties. Mr. Droz admits, "I gave up the hemp to police, fearing arrest at the time, and now feel compelled to raise this issue so it does not happen again because I carry hemp every time I visit the US Capitol."

"The fact that this level of confusion among law enforcement still exists today is exactly why federal policy on hemp needs to change," says Vote Hemp President Eric Steenstra. "We hope for the return of Vote Hemp's property, an apology, and perhaps, a Capitol Hill beer summit or Congressional hearings to discuss our differences with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)."

Hemp products have been subject to confusion in the past. In 2002, the DEA attempted to ban imports on hemp foods, despite the growing recognition of its value to farmers and consumers. Vote Hemp, the Hemp Industries Association, and several US and Canadian companies, successfully challenged the DEA in a lawsuit calling the ban unwarranted and illegal. Since this ban was lifted, the hemp industry has grown substantially every year. Last year alone, grocery store sales of hemp food products grew over 40%.

Since 2005, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act (H.R. 1866) and its predecessors have waiting for a hearing in the House, but it's been tabled the entire time. The bill has a dozen bipartisan cosponsors, and allows states like Oregon (as of Jan. 2010), Maine, Vermont, North Dakota, Montana (and many others) to grow hemp based on State laws. Sixteen states have already passed legislation, and many, like the ones listed above, are simply waiting for the federal ban to be lifted once again. Mr. Droz has been working with Vote Hemp in order to raise congressional awareness about this marginalized issue.

The growing market proves the case of hemp. Food sales have grown every year since the ban was lifted. Other parts of the hemp plant, such as those confiscated from Droz, can be used to make any number of consumer products, while all jobs generate from the industry could be as green collar jobs.

Despite a growing global industry, US farmers are still unable to grow hemp. All hemp in the US must be imported from other countries to be either processed or sold here.

"It's ironic that the very items I was using to clear up confusion, became the subject of contraband and were confiscated," Mr. Droz commented after the incident.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


herbie (not verified)

want real healthcare reform? FREE THE WEED. STOP THE GREED.

the US gov holds a patent on cannabinoids; U.S. Patent # 6630507 states unequivocally that cannabinoids are useful in the prevention and treatment of a wide variety of diseases including auto-immune disorders, stroke, trauma, Parkinson's, Alzeheimer's and HIV dementia. The patent, awarded in 2003, is based on research done by the National Institute of Health, and is assigned to the US Dept. of Health and Human Services.
the non-psychoactive cannabinoid, cannabidiol (CBD), is rich in industrial hemp flowers and is very beneficial for people.
countless benefits would accompany the end of the prohibition of hemp.
the real question is, what do they have to gain by the continuing prohibition? ironic, the (endo)cannabinoid deficient brains of these backwards thinking peoples and the symptomatic accompanying fear and hate of the unknown could easily be alleviated by some hemp seed oil.
as for the luciferian plutocracy that keeps this most useful plant from us, enjoy the lake of fire.

Thu, 08/13/2009 - 10:03pm Permalink

They what? The cops actually seized hemp fiber--like the stuff that is in the shirt I am wearing right now? But, it is not even illegal anymore. Shouldn't we at least expect the cops to know their own laws? This seems more than a bit ironic.

Are these cops part of some type of conscious effort to undermine change, or are they just pricks? Furthermore, the DEA needs to be held accountable for their actions; they need to be the subject of an open, honest debate. Let them try to argue with LEAP, that would be entertaining.

Also, while I am grateful for the efforts of Vote Hemp, I believe that their demand for change would be heard much more quickly if they were to acknowledge the big picture--that prohibition is a massive failure, which is also fueling terrorism and destroying the environment throughout the world. LEAP, the Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy, the United Nations and many others all now agree that drug use is not a criminal issue--it is a health problem.

And, as I think we all know by now, this is also a very big economic opportunity: a chance to reallocate hundreds of billions of dollars towards something other than a perpetual war that feeds principally on our children. If we don't demand substantial change immediately, economic recovery and sustainable industries will never become a reality.

Fri, 08/14/2009 - 4:29pm Permalink
maxwood (not verified)

I commend Mr. Droz for his diligence keeping this issue visible, but meanwhile it is now time to go to the root of the problem: all problems with hemp legalization can be traced to the disproportionate but inadequately recognized power that the tobacco industry has over the entire world political system through its stranglehold on the U. S. government.

(I don't entirely buy the story that DuPont and Hearst were to blame originally for the whole problem . Hearst newspapers carried massive tobacco advertising, did they not?)

Clearly the near-total dependence of Big 2Wackgo on the hot-burning-overdose cigarette format to maintain their profit margin is now threatened by the emergence, in recent decades, of an alternative herb strong enough that it disciplines its users to smoke in moderate quantities (25-mg. per toke instead of 700-mg. every time you want a "smoke"), behavior which once imitated by tobacco users is the deathknell for profits in that industry as we have known it. Thus their blind frozen panic to fend off marijuana legalization at any cost spills over into an assumption that the appearance of any hemp growing anywhere will disguise and aid the introduction of their hated nemesis.

Study the pattern of tobackgo contributions to political candidates, especially the Republican Party since "War on Drugs" Nixon, and remember that for every dollar this oligarchy actually contributes directly it spends several more on well-dressed, well-trained "clean-cut" "Lobbyists" (Law-buy-ists) whose job is to infiltrate Congressional offices, schmooze with staff members, charm and persuade etc.

Now there is an important opportunity to address these issues more directly, believe it or not, than by advocating hemp legalization, and that is to promote the total permanent elimination of the hot-burning-overdose genocide cigarette and its replacement by the vaporizer and the E-CIGARETTE. Within the last two weeks I heard e-cigarette advertising on talk radio stations for the first time. An airline has now expressly permitted use of e-cigarette and commenced selling on board. Many flyers, in search of their nicotine fix, will thus experience e-cigarette for the first time and probably be converted.

(In the spirit of forgiveness, I suggest referring to the suckers, heretofore nicotine "addicts", as nicotine maintenance patients, and promoting a safe humane method of administering their drug. The reward will be that THC-loaded e-cigarettes will be available to medical marijuana patients. Forget beer, maybe the President will host an e-cig-meeting to reconcile the factions.)

It must be understood that the main benefit from promoting this "downdosage revolution" will be to cut off the $billions funding that Big 2Wackgo has been using to perpetuate marijuana prohibition and with it the 72-year stalling of modern hemp horticulture and related industry offgrowths.

Sat, 08/15/2009 - 1:13pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

The alcohol and tobacco industries are rich 'drug dealers' and they must be constantly attacked - and forced to spend their treasure protecting themselvs from the truth instead of attacking us with lies and politicians.

No mercy... slaughter them all... with the truth.

Fri, 08/21/2009 - 12:46pm Permalink

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