David Bronner

David Bronner, CEO and President of the iconic organic soap brand, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap, founded by his grandfather Emil Bronner in 1948, was arrested earlier this week just outside of the White House for protesting the law that makes it illegal to grow the hemp plant in the U.S. because of its close relation to marijuana.

Bronner locked himself inside a metal cage with hemp plants and pressing equipment that makes the highly nutritious hemp seed oil, which he spread on some bread and ate to showcase the healthy benefits of hemp. But soon after arriving, the police and fire department were on the scene, cutting him out of the cage and arresting him for possession of marijuana and blocking public passage.

The cage—with Bronner securely locked inside—was dropped in front of the White House at 8 am on Monday June 11th–just one day after the 3rd annual Hemp History Week ended–with a sign atop the trailer reading, “DEAR MR. PRESIDENT. LET U.S. FARMERS GROW HEMP!” Bronner decided to protest after nearly 30,000 signatures on a petition to legalize hemp did not receive the substantial response advocates expected.

Because of its relationship with marijuana—different strains of the same plant—the non-psychoactive hemp plant is considered a controlled substance under U.S. drug laws, despite the fact that it lacks enough THC to cause any sort of altered state of consciousness. Hemp advocates have likened the ban to outlawing poppy seeds because of their relationship to heroin.

Although illegal to grow hemp in the U.S., finished hemp products are legal to sell in the U.S. Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap features hemp oil in all its soaps for its superior lathering and skin-softening properties.

Bronner was also arrested in 2009 when, along with other activists, he dug up the lawn of the DEA to plant hemp seeds.

In a recent interview with Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman, Bronner addressed the issue of the U.S. drug policy, and particularly marijuana prohibition, which he says, “is just a disaster around the world—and psychedelics prohibition, in general. It has such promise and hope for helping us lead more conscious and compassionate lives. In industrial hemp—these are the fiber and seed varieties of cannabis—they have no drug value whatsoever. And it just kind of highlights the absurdity and bankrupt nature of the drug war.”

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Image: Dr. Bronner’s