Legalize Hemp! A Q&A with the CEO of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps
"We want to give our money to American farmers," says David Bronner, head of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, which uses non-psychoactive hemp in its products. "Why are we continually handing it to Canadians?"
The answer? Because it's illegal to grow hemp in the United States. You can import hemp from other countries, but home-grown hemp - related to marijuana but lacking any ability to get you high - is strictly forbidden in the U.S. Indeed, the feds consider the plant - famously grown by George Washington and one of the most versatile natural substances known to mankind - the equivalent of its euphoria-inducing relative, marijuana.
Bronner supports lifting the ban on growing industrial hemp inside the United States. He was recently arrested outside the White House after protesting the current policy by locking himself in a metal cage with hemp plants. He sat down with Reason's Mike Riggs to discuss his arrest, the industrial applications of hemp, and the paths to legalization.
The madness of the industrial hemp ban in the U.S. is plainly evident for any logical person to see; no matter what your feelings about marijuana legalization, there is no reason to support hemp prohibition.
Towns in Vermont Prepare to Host Medical Marijuana Dispensaries
Medical marijuana dispensary operators like Shayne Lynn are gearing up to open for business in Vermont soon. Shayne is going to operate a dispensary in Burlington, along the waterfront.
"There will be an old-fashioned glass countertop, and then there will be a selection of cannabis products underneath the glass. I see it as a small waiting area," said Lynn.
Lynn, who is 42, is passionate about medical marijuana. He founded a nonprofit called Champlain Valley Dispensary two years ago and then submitted his application for a state permit.
When the state approved it, he says he was thrilled and humbled.
"It gives you pause to make sure this is something that you really want to do," Lynn said. "I think the law that the Vermont Legislature passed is good and those regulations are what will help this program succeed."
All the dispensaries in Vermont, of which there will be 4, must be operated as non-profits.
Lynn also has the support of city officials, including Mayor Miro Weinberger.
"There have been successful dispensaries in many parts of the country," Weinberger said, standing in his office just blocks from Lynn's dispensary. "We're watching, but we're certainly hoping that's exactly what happens here."
With those high expectations, Lynn feels a certain responsibility. "There are stereotypes out there about cannabis use, and this is an opportunity to change that and show that people really use it for symptom relief - and that it can be a positive," he said.
It’s true that a stigma surrounds medical marijuana, and dispensaries in particular. But as more dispensaries open up, more people will see first-hand that dispensaries are just like any other business with a valuable product, and that they too can be an asset to the community.
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