David Bronner of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps was arrested outside the White House on Monday while protesting the ban on industrial hemp in the United States.
“I had hoped that President Obama would not succumb to drug warriors’ hysteria regarding hemp,” he said. “I really don’t know what else to do to get our ‘Chief Law Enforcement Officer’ to take a rational science-based approach to hemp policy in this country.”
Bronner locked himself inside a steel cage, along with several hemp plants. Fire fighters cut open the cage and Bronner peacefully surrendered to police.
In May, Bronner told Democracy Now that the ban on industrial hemp highlighted “the absurdity and bankrupt nature of the drug war.”
Industrial hemp is a commonly used fiber that’s in tens of thousands of products currently sold inside the U.S., and has a long history of use by the U.S. government. During World War II, for instance, the government urged farmers to grow hemp for military use. The fibers were used for dozens of practical solutions, including uniforms, paper, parachutes, rope and more.
However, because it shares significant portions of its genetics with marijuana, American farmers are forbidden to produce industrial hemp, essentially banning them from joining an industry that’s enjoyed direct access to American consumers for decades.
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) has submitted an amendment to the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 that would legalize the production of industrial hemp.
Watch video, uploaded to YouTube on June 11, below:
Watch video of the arrest, courtesy of the Associated Press, below:
[Ed. note: Updated after publication to include new video]