Thursday, April 30, 2015

Vote Hemp organization prepares for Hemp History Week

By Vote Hemp

WASHINGTON, DC – The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) and Vote Hemp are organizing the sixth annual Hemp History Week, which will be held June 1-7, 2015. Encouraged by federal support in Congress, with the Industrial Hemp Farming Act introduced in both the House and Senate in January 2015, the campaign’s theme Sow the Seed will highlight spring plantings in states that have passed legislation legalizing industrial hemp farming, and encourage consumers to participate in our Take Action campaign to call for support among legislators to lift the prohibition on industrial hemp farming nationwide. Across the country, over 1,100 events will bring documentary film screenings, cooking demonstrations, retail promotions, educational outreach, spring hemp plantings and hemp home building courses to the public, catalyzing movement on the issue of lifting the federal ban on this versatile, sustainable crop. To learn more about Hemp History Week, visit:
Spring Hemp Plantings
HIA and Vote Hemp have partnered with University of Kentucky’s College of Agriculture, to coordinate a hemp planting demonstration, to occur June 2, 2015, on the site of the university’s hemp pilot program fields. Throughout the country, farmers in states that have legalized the cultivation of industrial hemp will begin to plant this spring, and Hemp History Week is coordinating events to celebrate the return of hemp to the American agrarian landscape. Spring planting events will be open to both community and media attendance. An environmentally sustainable crop, industrial hemp does not require chemical inputs of pesticides and herbicides to flourish. As farmers open their hemp fields to the public, grassroots activists will offer educational events about industrial hemp—its history, agronomy, health and ecological benefits—as we join together to sow the seed.
Take Action! Campaign
From May 18-31, Hemp History Week will launch its nationwide Take Action! campaign, in coordination with Vote Hemp, to encourage hemp advocates across the country to engage in concrete steps toward legalizing industrial hemp farming. Encompassing a diverse range of actions, including a citizen lobby day, letter writing drive, and education events, the Take Action! campaign will concentrate and amplify the voice of the hemp movement via the democratic political process. For more information about the Take Action! campaign, visit:

Farmer Spotlight
Hemp History Week has launched a new aspect of the campaign this spring: Farmer Spotlight Interviews. Farmer Spotlights will document hemp history in-the-making, focusing on a prominent hemp farmer each month and interviewing the farmer regarding such topics as hemp agriculture practices, benefits of hemp farming, how they became interested to grow hemp, and other issues pertinent to hemp farming and hemp industry. To view the first in the Farmer Spotlight series, visit the Hemp History section of the website:

The Health Benefits of Hemp
Among the fastest-growing categories in the natural foods industry, hemp seed is a rich source of Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acids (EFAs), providing both SDA and GLA, highly-digestible protein, and naturally-occurring vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin E and iron. An excellent source of dietary fiber, hemp seed is also a complete protein—meaning it contains all ten essential amino acids, with no enzyme inhibitors, making it more digestible by the human body.
Hemp Building Courses
HIA will organize a hemp home building course, in which members of the public will be invited to participate. The HIA Hemp Building Course will take place in Lexington, KY on June 26-28. Hemp structures are built with hempcrete— a natural material that is energy-efficient, non-toxic and resistant to mold, insects and fire, and which is more quickly renewable and sustainable than lumber. A multi-day course, these programs will cover contemporary construction methods and hands-on practical applications of working with hempcrete, including forming or shuttering, mixing and casting the hempcrete within a framed structure, as well as finishing with plasters and coloring. Students who complete the course will have the knowledge and skillset to pursue a hemp-building project of their own.
Celebrity Endorsements
Hemp History Week is endorsed by celebrities and high-profile wellness experts, including Dr. Andrew Weil, Alicia Silverstone, Phil Lempert, Ashley Koff R.D., Brendan Brazier, Elizabeth Kucinich, Ziggy Marley, Alexandra Jamieson, Dar Williams, Michael Franti, John Salley, Kevin Danaher, John Trudell, and Grammy award-winning band Ozomatli. For the 2015 campaign, musician Jason Mraz, and author Doug Fine have signed on as endorsers of Hemp History Week.
Grassroots Engagement
Over 300 grassroots events will take place nationwide, including an educational tour of college campuses, a restaurant program, film screenings of the documentary “Bringing It Home,” community outreach at farmers’ markets, state lobbying days, a letter writing campaign, spring plantings and other exciting engagement opportunities. Specific details for these Hemp History Weekevents are listed on the website:
United in the Effort to Bring Back Industrial Hemp Farming
An incredibly versatile crop, hemp fiber, oil and seed are used for a myriad of products—including health foods, cosmetics and body care products, building materials, automobile parts, bio-composites, batteries, bio-fuel, textiles, paper and other products. Now in its sixth year, Hemp History Week is an industry-wide effort made possible by the support of the leading natural product brands known for manufacturing the highest quality hemp products. These HIA members and platinum sponsor brands include Daily Greens, Dr. Bronner’s, Living Harvest, Manitoba Harvest, Nature’s Path Foods and Nutiva, and silver sponsor Himalania.
“Our line of hemp milks infused with green superfoods is a natural evolution from our core line of all-green cold-pressed juices. Hemp milk is the perfect plant-based milk alternative,” said Daily Greens founder, Shauna Martin. “Not only is it a complete protein with perfect proportions of Omegas 3 and 6, it is also high in iron and calcium. We are excited to participate in Hemp History Week in order to help educate folks about the rich nutritional benefits of hemp seeds and all the wonderful ways to consume hemp.”
“Hemp is an integral component in our body care products, as the Omega-3 rich hemp oil provides moisturizing nourishment to the skin, and imparts luxurious smoothness to our soaps’ lather,” says David Bronner, President of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, the top-selling brand of natural soap in the U.S.  “Dr. Bronner’s plans to source the twenty tons of hemp oil we use annually from American farmers, rather than import it from Canada, once the crop is legal and the infrastructure for hemp production is in place. Given the momentous progress made this past year, including the first legal hemp crops harvested in Colorado, Kentucky and Vermont since the 1940’s, we are determined to keep up the momentum on the issue in Congress so that 2015 lawmakers allow U.S. farmers to once again cultivate hemp.”
“With the ever growing number of food allergies, hemp seeds are an easily digestible plant protein and an impressive source of all 10 essential amino acids,” says Dan Ratner of Tempt, which makes the #1 selling hempmilk, coconut hempmilk, hemp tofu, and brand new hemp yogurt. “Currently, we must import our hemp seed from Canada and Europe, which translates to higher consumer prices and an increased carbon footprint. We continue to push for better industrial hemp legislation and hope to one day purchase our hemp from U.S. farmers."
"Here in Canada the legalization process started with research trials, so we are tremendously hopeful the same will be true in the U.S.," says Mike Fata – CEO & co-founder of Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods. "As the market for hemp food products grows, we need to source more hemp seed to meet the demand. Manitoba Harvest is eager to partner with U.S. farmers and has profitable production contracts waiting."
“Hemp seed is a nutritious superfood that Nature’s Path includes as a plant-based source of protein and fiber in a growing number of our foods – from snack bars to granolas, waffles and oatmeal,” attests Arran Stephens, co-founder and co-CEO of Nature’s Path Foods, North America’s largest organic breakfast and snack food company. “We’ve been cooking with hemp seeds for decades and are delighted to see the industry grow. We look forward to celebrating this important and versatile crop during Hemp History Week – a time to educate people on the benefits of embracing hemp; both in our farmlands and on our kitchen tables.”
“More Americans are choosing organic foods. Nutiva is the leading producer of organic hemp products and we've seen our sales grow over 60% annually for the past 10 years,” said John Roulac, founder and CEO of Nutiva. “It’s vital we legalize the cultivation of hemp within the U.S. so we can source domestically grown hemp and support our American farmers.“   
Legislative Progress and Challenges in 2015
When the 2013 farm bill was signed into law in February of 2014, the hemp amendment to the farm bill, Sec. 7606 Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research, defined industrial hemp as distinct from marijuana, which is subject to prohibition per the Controlled Substances Act. This was an historic moment in the longstanding effort to legalize hemp as the act asserts that industrial hemp is not psychoactive, having less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol on a dry weight basis and therefore presenting no drug value.
The bill further allows for states that have already legalized the crop to cultivate hemp within the parameters of state agriculture departments and research institutions. Read the full text of the Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research amendment on the Vote Hemp website:​.​
In defiance of clear Congressional intent regarding the legitimacy of industrial hemp for agriculture and industrial applications, the Drug Enforcement Administration has hindered attempts at progress made by agriculture departments in many states that have legalized industrial hemp farming, by refusing to grant permission for state licensing of potential hemp farmers and by not granting import permits for certified hemp seed​.​
In January of 2015, The Industrial Hemp Farming Act was introduced in both the House and Senate, H.R. 525 and S. 134 respectively. If passed, the bill would remove all federal restrictions on the cultivation of industrial hemp, and remove its classification as a Schedule 1 controlled substance.
Despite contradictory actions among federal authorities, the number of states that have pro-hemp legislation continues to increase. Currently, 22 states may grow hemp per Sec. 7606 of the Farm Bill, including California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia.

Hemp seed bill clears Colorado Senate


Industrial Hemp

DENVER (AP) - An effort to help Colorado's new hemp farmers find seeds that produce hemp and not marijuana is advancing in the state Legislature.
A bill approved 35-0 Thursday would set up a "certified seed" program through the state Department of Agriculture.
The lack of reliable hemp seeds has kept many farmers from experimenting with the new crop. Hemp and marijuana are the same plant, cannabis sativa. But hemp is low in the psychoactive ingredient in pot, THC. Plants with too much THC must be destroyed.
The state Department of Agriculture has already obtained clearance from federal authorities to import hemp. So once the program is established, farmers and researchers will have a reliable source for seeds that don't produce pot.

Pennsylvania farmers lobby to grow industrial-grade hemp


HARRISBURG – An image makeover for cannabis isn’t limited to convincing lawmakers that the drug can help children with seizures and veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.
As a proposal to allow use of medical marijuana makes headway, a growing segment of the farming community is pushing for relaxed bans on hemp production, as well.
Last year’s federal Farm Bill allowed state universities and agriculture departments to conduct research on industrial-grade hemp. Twenty states have allowed for some production of hemp, which can be used in food, fiber, plastics, building materials, textiles and paper, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
A handful of states have leap-frogged federal limits and allowed for even broader commercial production.
In Pennsylvania, businesses can use hemp products, but farmers cannot grow it. A proposal in the Legislature would allow farmers to follow the federal guidelines, growing a limited supply of hemp for research purposes.
“That’s why this bill is a game-changer,” said Steve Auerbach, a lawyer who heads the lobbying group Cannabis Growers Association of Pennsylvania.
State Sen. Judy Schwank, D-Berks County, who proposes allowing limited hemp production, compared differences in cannabis plants – those prized by marijuana users and the kind used in hemp production – to differences between sweet corn and field corn.
The industrial-grade hemp plant contains relatively little of the psychoactive chemicals that create a high for marijuana users.

Schwank noted that hemp parachute straps were used by former President George H. W. Bush when he was a World War II fighter pilot. The first two drafts of the Declaration of Independence were written on hemp. The flag made by Betsy Ross was sewn from the plant’s fibers, as well.

Governor blew opportunity for hemp


Another legislative session, more missed opportunities by our elected officials who consider themselves to be leaders.
All of us who pay attention, and even many who don’t, know that New Mexico is languishing at the bottom of national rankings in multiple categories. Our undiversified economy is dangerously dependent on federal spending and the oil and gas industries, and is deteriorating fast.
State tax dollars are being spent out of state when they could be spent at home. Texas is making a legal play to siphon our water. Our crumbling infrastructure is getting little to no attention. Sequestration in 2016 could strangle the already diminished flow of federal dollars into our state.
And on what do our government leaders spend their latest session? On frivolous initiatives like making Daylight Saving Time permanent, the result of which would be to place New Mexico even further outside the mainstream.
I wonder at times, despite their words, whether these people we’ve elected truly want to move the state into the modern era or whether they’d prefer to move us backward into the prior century (or perhaps the one before that).
There was one promising development, when the Democratic-controlled Senate and Republican-controlled House came together to pass an under-the-radar but economically important bill related to industrial hemp. Despite the bipartisan support for the measure, the governor inexplicably vetoed the bill – and scuttled a promising new addition to the state’s economic portfolio.
The Industrial Hemp Bill, introduced by Democratic Sen. Cisco McSorley and overwhelmingly approved in the Republican House, would have allowed research – research! – into hemp as an agricultural product. Virtually noncontroversial and with no organized opposition, it would have required only about $100,000 in state money to set up a system for issuing licenses – mimicking the federal law passed in the bipartisan Farm Bill of 2014. Research would have been done in-state, at New Mexico State University, our very own agricultural university.
But now the bill is dead and New Mexico has missed another opportunity for homegrown – literally! – economic development. Because hemp:
• Has a value to farmers approximately twice that of alfalfa
• Requires only about half the water of alfalfa if the right species is cultivated
• Cannot be abused as a drug like its cousin marijuana
• Has the potential to bring more industry and thousands of jobs to New Mexico.
Just think of the manufacturing enterprises that could build factories here and employ people to process our hemp.
The list of industries is long, including paper, fiber for clothing and rope, biofuel and cosmetics. Did you know that the U.S. Declaration of Independence is written on hemp paper?
Approximately 20 states have already approved hemp legislation aligned with the federal statute with restrictions for growing the hemp plant.
One of the leading national proponents for growing hemp in the United States is Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican senior senator from Kentucky and the majority leader of the U.S. Senate. Surely his support alone would give Gov. Susana Martinez the political cover to approve this forward-looking law that could be hugely important to our economic future.
But no. She instead chose to ignore the benefits of the hemp bill for reasons that are unclear.
Is it because she was more interested in somehow “punishing” the bill’s Democratic author than in moving the state forward? Did she simply not take the time to read the bill and become educated? Is our state’s economy important to her? She says it is, but her actions do not seem to support her words. We may never know.
But we do know this: Unless we can find leadership with an economic vision that transcends politics, New Mexico will continue to fail.

How to Make Perfect Breakfast Smoothie for Healthy Skin


PHOTO: Heres how you can make the perfect breakfast smoothie to help your skin looks its best.

A breakfast smoothie can be the ultimate beauty food pick-me-up, and it can also be great for the skin.
“You definitely are what you eat. And if you start your day with a beauty smoothie … not only will you feel better that day, but you'll notice a difference in your skin,” said Bobbi Brown, makeup guru and editor in chief of Yahoo Beauty.
Brown appeared on “Good Morning America” today as part of the Yahoo Your Day collaboration to give viewers the scoop on how to make a blended smoothie in their kitchens.
Brown detailed the ingredients in her smoothie.
“Water, coconut water, which is hydrating, coconut milk, which is the perfect oil for your skin and your hair, chocolate protein powder,” she said, noting that kale or spinach and frozen berries may also be added. “To me, that's … the perfect breakfast in the morning.”
Frozen fruits and vegetables can be used, Brown said.
“They're quick. They're just as nutritious. You don't have to wash them. And they also make the smoothie thicker, because it's ice,” she said.
Brown and “GMA”’s Mara Schiavocampo hit the kitchen to whip up their own smoothie. Their smoothie included water, coconut milk and protein powder – about two scoops per serving, Brown said.
She also added cacao, kale, ice, a banana and berries.
“There's nothing better for your skin than … berries,” Brown said, adding that berries were not only high in fiber but full of vitamins that are good for the skin.
They also added hemp seeds.
“Hemp seeds are great, because they make everything creamy. They're also high in protein. And they have beautiful omega fats in it,” Brown said. “And then I could put anything in from flax seeds to coconut, little bit of bee pollen … if you are someone that likes things sweet, you could put a little bit of stevia in it, a little bit of honey.”
List of Ingredients in Brown’s Smoothie
Coconut milk
Two scoops protein powder per serving
Little bit of cacao nibs
One banana
Handful of berries
Kale leaves
One scoop hemp seeds
Optional Ingredients
Flax seeds
Bee pollen
Blend it all – and enjoy!

Farmers frustrated by hemp hold-up


Tennessee farmers are frustrated. About 50 signed up for a permit to grow industrial hemp, but after several weeks, they still have no seeds and they don

PARROTSVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Tennessee farmers are frustrated. About 50 signed up for a permit to grow industrial hemp, but after several weeks, they still have no seeds and they don't know when they'll get them.
Industrial hemp can be used for oil, food, textiles and even construction.
When the opportunity to grow it became available, Chuck Mason jumped at it, hoping to be on the ground floor of a very lucrative industry.
Mason set aside 60 acres of his cattle farm for the hemp, and his father got a state permit to grow. The two are part of a pilot program to see what type of hemp grows best in Tennessee and if an industry can build around it.
But the Drug Enforcement Administration is standing in the way. The federal government considers hemp a cousin of marijuana since it contains THC.
"It doesn't make a lot of sense, actually," Mason said. "Hemp grows wild everywhere. God invented it. And I think you should be able to grow stuff that God grows on the Earth."
Mason said the THC in the product he'd grow would be below 0.03 percent, and he'd need to get it tested to be sure.
Next week would be an ideal time to start planting the hemp seed, according to Mason, but he doesn't have any seeds. In fact, the state can't order the seed until the DEA gives the OK.
"As a department, we're still optimistic we will get approval for this in time for farmers to go ahead and plant," said Corinne Gould, deputy director of public affairs for the Tennessee Department of Agriculture.
That seed needs to be ordered from Canada, according to Gould. They're not sure how long that turnaround will take.
"We are ready to place the order for the seed the moment we get the approval from the DEA. So we're not gonna be dragging our feet from this end," she added.
The latest Mason can get it in the ground is the first week of June. Otherwise, he'll have to use the land as hay for his cattle in the winter.

Federal Prohibition Prevents Billion-Dollar Industry from Helping Economy

BKathryn Bullington

Photo: Moonrise Extracts

Farmers can yield, at most, $1,000 per acre from corn. Moonrise Extracts, an industrial hemp operation in Colorado, expects to reap tens of thousands per acre, from what started as a few dozen feral hemp plants.
Moonrise Extracts was lucky to obtain local hemp seeds to start their plants. Seed procurement and local adaptation from foreign seeds are a big hurdle for the industrial hemp market. The dozens of plants harvested in the summer of 2014 became 12,500 square feet of greenhouse production and 15-20 varieties of native seeds for development.
Moonrise Extract’s high crop value is thanks to the cannabinoid, cannabidiol (CBD), found in the cannabis plant. CBD is used for cancer, HIV, anorexia treatments, controlling seizures, and pain relief. It works by interacting with cannabinoid receptors in the brain, nervous system, organs, connective tissues, glands, and immune cells.
Consumers can buy a month’s supply of CBD from Moonrise Extracts for about $100.
Zev Paiss, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Hemp Association, says Colorado hemp production is well suited for the extraction of CBDs for nutraceuticals, which are concentrated in the flowers of hemp plants. The soil conditions, higher elevation, abundant sunshine, and smaller amount of annual rainfall, however, may limit hemp fiber production.
Paiss said that experimentation is underway to determine the best cultivars for Colorado, but hemp in the state may be best used for seed, flower, and oil production.
Industrial hemp grown for cannabinol is different than the medical marijuana that is legal in 23 U.S. states. Both crops contain dozens of cannabinoids. The difference is that medical marijuana has high levels of THC, which produces psychoactive effects, along with various therapeutic effects.

In 2015, Moonrise Extracts will plant 293 acres of industrial hemp — mostly for CBD and food production — on organic soil. The company’s seed is considered organic because of its wild origins.
According to Rick Trojan, director of marketing and sales at Moonrise Extracts, organic branding increases the crop’s value. He added in an interview for IVN that it also guarantees a clean, healthy medicine for people whose bodies are already sick.
Non-organic CBD oils, Trojan says, can be contaminated with heavy metals, potentially complicating health issues. He expects their crop to bring in millions in 2015.
While medical marijuana is legal in 23 states, only 13 states allow industrial hemp production. Of those, only 3 states have planted hemp crops: Kentucky, Colorado, and Vermont.
Some, like Moonrise Extracts and Atalo Holdings, Inc., in Kentucky, have been very successful breaking into the U.S. hemp industry. However, a few key issues are holding the market back.
The most pressing issue is decoupling hemp production from federal DEA regulations.
Federal regulations prohibit seed from crossing state and national borders. Some hemp growers, like those in Vermont, are at risk of federal prosecution, even if states allow hemp production. Hemp seed has been illegal in the U.S. for decades. This, along with the prohibition of seed transportation, makes it difficult to start a crop.
One model, which is being used by farmers in Kentucky, is to import and plant seeds from other countries, with coordinated DEA permits.
Infrastructure is another barrier that will come down slowly. Few have equipment to harvest and process fiber at economies of scale, and procuring new equipment is expensive. Hemp oil is the breakout product for U.S. hemp, because harvesting and extraction can be done with available technology.
Bill Billings and Jim Bramer founded the Colorado Hemp Project and planted 2 acres of hemp in 2014. They hand harvested and processed their hemp into hemp oil products, like soaps and lotions. Billing’s daughter sells the products through her company, Nature’s Root. They also sold their hemp flowers to local beer makers.
Colorado Hemp Project currently has a cooperative of 4 farmers, but Bramer, who is 77, says he is not interested in trying another hemp crop in 2015.
“It will be a hard crop to pursue, until they come up with something,” he said.
He explained that the DEA restrictions are prohibitive, and the industry needs infrastructure for harvesting and processing hemp fibers.
Vermont grew less than an acre of hemp last year, largely because seeds cannot be transported over state lines unless they are crushed or sterilized, thus making them useless for planting. In an interview for IVN, Tim Schmalz of Vermont’s Department of Agriculture said that Vermont would like to add hemp oil to its state brand, but prospects are hard to gauge under federal prohibition.
It is clear that hemp can be a high value crop, but for many farmers, the path to profits remains a bit tangled.
Photo Credit: Moonrise Extracts

Cannabis for the rest of us

By David Dallas

Did you know the federal government has been growing marijuana in Mississippi for over 30 years? For government use? Not at some secret location on some Mississippi back road, but on the campus of the University of Mississippi in Oxford. Tons and tons of the really good stuff, so good even the feds have got the munchies.

For those who wonder why the fed’s marijuana crops are in Oxford and how Mississippi State University in Starkville was left out of millions of dollars worth of government supported marijuana contracts, imaginary sources have provided the MBJ with a justification. It goes like this: Mississippi State merely instructs its students in regular old agriculture. Ole Miss, on the other hand, enlightens it students in “High Culture” agriculture.

The Dude would think everyone in the country is lighting up as much press as marijuana has been getting lately. Even President Obama weighed in on legalization over the weekend. You just know that guy inhaled and probably a lot more than once. Perhaps it’s no coincidence the feds just awarded Ole Miss a $70 million contract to grow even more marijuana.

The nationwide push for the legalization of marijuana for both medical and recreational use may be nearing its zenith. Even Mississippi is proposing legalization in the upcoming statewide election. But Mississippi’s ballot initiative may have doomed itself by asking for too much too soon.

Last year, this columnist wrote about Mississippi’s need to jump out in front on industrial hemp. And that is where the focus should have been for this election year.

David Dallas
David Dallas
Instead we have Proposition 48: a ballot initiative that would not only legalize hemp production, but medical and recreational marijuana in Mississippi. Additionally, Prop 48 calls on the Mississippi governor to pardon all persons convicted of non-violent marijuana crimes. Wouldn’t you love to see Governor Bryant sign all of those pardons?

Non-violent drug offenders have no business being in prison. Our president suggested such cases should be addressed through a public health model. But as Mississippi’s former Department of Corrections director and his partner, the former Republican legislator, demonstrated, it’s much easier to run cozy no-bid contracts with no oversight using the incarceration model. The larger prison population has proven quite lucrative. Caring for just one prisoner cost taxpayers over $50,000 a year. By contrast, we pay less than $8,000 to educate a child in our public schools.

While plenty of people who voted for Bryant enjoy a good doobie, the part about pardoning is where Prop 48 supporters likely lost the conservative-pot-smoker vote. These well-heeled dope fiends have no problem finding the good stuff whenever they want it and for cheap. They know they’ll never wind up in prison for possession – mostly because they’re white – and these folks are not interested in seeing the poor users and dealers from the other side of the tracks getting out of jail anytime soon.

After all, the Pusher Men, as Curtis Mayfield called them, are a dime bag a dozen. There is always someone with little or no opportunity in life willing to risk hard time in prison and step up to sell whatever junk folks are willing to buy.
And we do buy it. Legal or not, we buy all sorts of drugs. But it is the illegality of it that creates problems world wide and in every neighborhood and small town in America. We must come to terms with that fact as we think about the drug trade and legalization.

Lest anyone think this an attempt to equate marijuana with other, harder drugs: It is. The same principles apply. It makes no difference whether cannabis is safer than other drugs, including alcohol and tobacco. We know it is. It’s probably safer than excessive tweeting or Facebook posting.

Tobacco is no longer celebrated and promoted like alcohol. People know how bad smoking is for them. Still, it continues to ruin lives and cost us millions in healthcare. Alcohol is so prevalent in our day-to-day lives we hardly take notice anymore. My young son sees dozens of beer ads every time we watch a college football game on television. You think I might have trouble convincing him drinking is not good for him?

Our all too human cravings for that next, even better high, will always exist. We seek it out. It’s just an effort to have a little fun. Too often, however, it helps us cope with the dissatisfaction and pain of life.

“Just say no,” is what Nancy Reagan said years ago as the drug war was heating up. Everyone from diehard conservatives to squishy liberals made fun of our First Lady, but she broke it down better than anyone has before or since.

Drugs are always going to be there for us when we believe we need them. We can make it difficult for the average user. We’ve already made it illegal. And now drug gangs and narco-terrorists are part of our lives. Children have been killed in the crossfire, families and entire economies have been ruined. The only way to really stop the problems associated with drugs is for individuals to say no to drug use. But we don’t and we won’t.

Prop 48 could make marijuana legal in Mississippi, easier to control, if not easier to manage. Of course don’t be surprised if some group like Koch Enterprises, ADM, or Monsanto winds up lobbying to be the soul producer and distributor of marijuana in Mississippi. Just wait and see who our governor would appoint to the Marijuana Board. And you think IHL is paranoid?

While the perception is all left-leaning liberals are interested in legalization, there are those of the liberal bent who question the timing of this new nationwide “cannabis for the rest of us” campaign.

They worry this is just another attempt by corporate oligarchs to make even more money off of the drug trade – kind of like when the families had “the talk” in the first Godfather movie. As if corporate control of our television and media weren’t opiate enough, they could gain more power while we all light up and zone out, legally.

Still, liberal or conservative, recreational user or mindless junkie, we should consider voting “Yes” on Prop 48. It is time to change the ground rules in the drug trade, to allow for the production of industrial hemp, free non-violent drug offenders from prison, and allow the medical profession to assist those in severe pain.

So vote “Yes” on Proposition 48, but remember you can always say “no” and probably should.

» David Dallas is a political writer for the Mississippi Business Journal. He worked for former U.S. Sen. John Stennis and authored Barking Dawgs and A Gentleman from Mississippi.

Cannabis culture: The new normal


Illustration by Liz Coffee

Depending on who a person is, it’s either the best or worst thing to have ever happened.
Pot has been around for a very, very long time.
Apparently a Chinese emperor even used it all the way back in 2727 B.C.
And of course, everyone has heard the story that Benjamin Franklin had a hemp farm in his backyard.
Honestly, is it that surprising?
Only someone who is high as hell would think flying a kite during a lightning storm is a good idea. 
How could pot not become an integral part of American culture?
Now, marijuana is sold in dispensaries in cities all over America.
And doctors are basically giving out medical marijuana cards.
As long as a person has $50 to spare and can come up with a good excuse, like having an ingrown toenail, they’re set.
Coming in many forms, like hashish, hemp and hash oil, the marijuana industry is booming.
It seems like the most outlandish strains are being developed everyday.
OG Kush, Granddaddy Purple and Hindu Kush are all actual strains of marijuana.
Plus, smoking is not the only option for marijuana consumption.
Edibles offer an alternative, which appeals to new consumers who may be concerned with the risks that come with smoking.
People can now get high off of peanut butter cups and even lollipops.
Currently, some form of marijuana use is legal in 23 states, and four of those have legalized recreational use.
Regardless of one’s feelings towards the drug, it is important to acknowledge that Mary Jane is not going anywhere.

It’s 4/20, So Here Are Some Hemp Products For Nourished Skin


You don’t need to be a pothead to enjoy the benefits of Mary Jane! In fact, you can forget about the hippie music festival stigma that comes along with hemp product branding. To get down to the nitty-gritty of it all, “hemp” and marijuana are not exactly the same thing. Wearing a hemp moisturizer won’t get you high (much to your disappointment, perhaps?), but it will add a natural element to your skin care routine! Basically, hemp and marijuana are two parts of the same cannabis plant.
So what makes hemp the right choice? Well, hemp contains eveything that can be good for your skin: omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, along with vitamins E, E, B-12, magnesium, iron and potassium. Hempseed oil can be used to moisturize and tone skin, without clogging pores.
In honor of 4/20, here are some skin-care-focused beauty products that utilize hemp, are free from phthalates, parabens and plastics and won’t leave you smelling like your just hot-boxed your college dorm room. Be prepared to have soft, moisturized skin:
1. Defined
This expensive line of beauty products utilizes hemp in a new way. The product is high-end and heavily focused on anti-aging properties. The line uses natural and organic botanicals and is free of harsh chemicals. Check out their products here.
HEMP2. The Body Shop
The Body Shops’ Hemp Body Care line is actually wonderful, inexpensive and has been on the forefront of hemp beauty products, with a whole line made out of fair trade hempseed oil from England for those with extremely dry skin. We especially love the hand cream, and will be using it during the drying winter months. Check out their products here.
3. Dr. BronnersI swear by this line of products. Their Hemp Green Tea Pure Castile Soap / shampoo /cleansing product is just fabulous and basically free of all harsh skin irritants. From Dr. Bronner:
“Dr. Bronner’s uses hemp oil as a superfatting ingredient in all our soaps because of its unsurpassed essential fatty acid (EFA) content. Hemp oil makes our soap lather smoother and less drying, and it is an excellent moisturizer in our lotions and balms.”
4. The Merry Hempsters
While their site looks like something a pot enthusiast might design, their products are really wonderful. They carry lip balms and salves for almost everything, including muscle aches. The plus side is that the products are organic and petroleum-freeCheck out their products here.
54cc9fbbedfae_-_esq-hemp-products-041912-xlg5. Hempz
The Hempz line carries great products (available at Ulta and other retailers) for a really decent price. They use 100% organic hemp seed oil and pride themselves on creating products for those who really want to protect their skin from aging and dryness. Check out their products here.

Do You Really Know The Differences Between Hemp and Weed?

By Phil Lempert

It is on trend these days to support the growing marijuana business model. There are two parts of the discussion – medical marijuana that is now legalized in twenty-three states and the District of Columbia; as well as the legalization of marijuana for recreational use in four states. On CNN’s Weed 3: The Marijuana Revolution hosted by Sanjay Gupta M.D., President Obama reiterated that, “I’m on record as saying not only do I think carefully prescribed medical use of marijuana may in fact be appropriate and we should follow the science as opposed to ideology.”
On the business side, music legend Willie Nelson today announced plans to roll out his own brand of marijuana, Willie’s Reserve, in Colorado and Washington State, where recreational use of the drug is legal. In December, CNBC aired a special, Marijuana Country: The Cannabis Boom, hosted by Harry Smith, which gave us a look at the family run, six-year-old Medicine Man, Denver’s largest marijuana dispensary.
BERLIN – AUGUST 07: Demonstrators march in support of the legalization of marijuana in Germany during the annual Hemp Parade, or ‘Hanfparade’, on August 7, 2010 in Berlin, Germany. The consumption of cannabis in Germany is legal, though all other aspects, including growing, importing or selling it, are not. However, since the introduction of a new law in 2009, the sale and possession of marijuana for licenced medicinal use is legal. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

The question I have, is how all of this attention can help (and not over shadow) marijuana’s more nutritious cousin, hemp, to finally become a mainstream crop here in the United States. Twenty-two states have actually legalized industrial hemp farming as per Sec. 7606 of the Farm Bill.  and the Industrial Hemp Farming Act  introduced in both the House and the Senate in January of this year is encouraging more farmers to grow this very sustainable crop. In a climate that many including myself view as under siege, hemp restores nutrients to the soil via phytoremediation and does not require chemical pesticides or herbicides. In fact, George Washington grew hemp crops, as did Thomas Jefferson and John Adams on their lands.
In 2007, as food trends editor to NBC’s TODAY Show, I dubbed hemp as one of the hot food trends of 2007 (you can watch the episode here)  and since that time the consumer interest in this crop has increased dramatically.
While our forefathers grew it for use in rope, canvas, fabric and paper, today hemp is even a more important ingredient in our move to consumer more nutritious foods. Hemp seeds are a rich source of Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids,  and other polyunsaturated fatty acids. Hemp actually has almost as much protein as soybeans and rich in Vitamin E along with a cadre of other beneficial minerals and have proven beneficial effects on our cardiovascular health. Which is why, in full disclosure, I became an advocate and supporter (unpaid) of Hemp History Week  when it first launched in 2009.
Foods that contain hemp, many of which are imported from Canada where it is legal to grow industrial hemp, range from milks, tofu, yogurt, snack bars, granola, waffles, pancake mix, oatmeal, protein powder, oil, shakes as well as being sold as seeds that you can sprinkle on just about any food. In 2014, the Hemp Industry Association  estimates that sales of hemp food and body care products topped $620 million and increased over 21% from the previous year.
For hemp foods to reach their potential it is important to discuss and separate the controversy over these two plants. It is true that both come from the same plant Cannabis sativa L. The important difference to note is that industrial hemp contains only less than 0.3% of Tetrahydrocannabinoids or THC (the ingredients that make a person high), while marijuana’s THC content can be 5-10% or more.
Expect to see a lot more headlines and discussion about legalizing marijuana especially as the presidential Campaigns gear up. It will be important for all of us to separate these two very different crops and not lose what could be one of agriculture’s most important and nutritious crops to misunderstanding and politics. Hemp History Week is June 1 through 7 and over 1,100 events throughout our country  will encourage better understanding to our legislators and shoppers.
Phil is known as “The SupermarketGuru” and writes and reports on food trends. Check out for more insights into the world of food and his new food product reviews