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Safe Access DC’s Protest at the Department of Justice
|| 5/2/2011 || 10:12 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Today I attended the Americans for Safe Access demonstration at the Department of Justice Building in downtown Washington, DC.

Safe Access DC's Protest at the Department of Justice


Safe Access DC's Protest at the Department of Justice


Safe Access DC's Protest at the Department of Justice



This was written by Steph Sherer:

Stand in solidarity with me for a National Day of Action this Monday, May 2, 2011. Our community is sick and tired. We are suffering from chronic or debilitating conditions, and we are weary of false promises that do nothing to protect our rights as patients.

After previously giving us a false sense of security, the Obama administration now continues to ignore state laws and raid medical cannabis patients and facilities, while creating new ways to marginalize our community, including issues related to patient privacy, access, banking, taxation, and threats of filing suit against state employees who participate in upholding state law. This community is still under attack.

Just yesterday, our community witnessed raid activity in Washington State and on Monday, our community will lose two more of our brothers and sisters to the failed war on drugs. Dale Shafer and Dr. Mollie fry will turn themselves over to federal agents to serve five-year mandatory minimum sentences for legally participating in state sanctioned medical cannabis programs. Enough is enough and Monday, May 2, 2011 is our time to take stand against federal interference!

Fellow community members and local activists are preparing to deliver ASA’s Cease and Desist to local DEA offices and federal buildings across the country. Commit to do the same. Join activists in several cities across the country. Locations include, but are not limited to, the following areas: Washington State, Oregon, Rhode Island, Colorado, Montana, Michigan, Maine, New Jersey, Washington, DC, California, Arizona, Nevada, and Maryland. To find out what is going on in your area, email action@safeaccessnow.org, or print out the Cease and Desist Order and take it to a local DEA Office or Federal Building near you on Monday!! Remember: if you don’t stand up for safe access, who will?

Special Patients’ Rights Rallies will be occurring in both Washington, DC outside of the Department of Justice at 12pEST (event flyer) and outside of the Federal Courthouse in Sacramento, CA at 12pPST for Dale Schafer and Dr. Mollie Fry (event flyer).

It’s thanks to the support from our members that ASA is able to hold Days of Action like this one. Please consider making a donation to ASA today, so we can continue to strengthen our fight for safe access.

I look forward to participating in our National Day of Action for patients’ rights with you on Monday, May 2, 2011.



THE EXPECTANT HAND – The Mahoning Dispatch, June 04, 1909
|| 8/28/2010 || 12:02 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

The article below is a condensed short story from a biography by Frank Allaben on the life of Gen. John Watts De Peyster. I chose this article because it describes a doctor recommending Indian hemp, which is the colloquial name for one of these five plants: Cannabis indica, Apocynum cannabinum, Sida rhombifolia, Asclepias incarnata, Hibiscus cannabinus. The doctor was most likely recommending Cannabis indica because it is the only variety of Indian hemp which has medicinal properties. Sadly, today in America a doctor would lose their license to prescribe drugs if they were to assist their patient in acquiring Cannabis indica as described below.


Scan of the newspaper article

THE EXPECTANT HAND


No Charge Made, But a Present of Money Not Refused.

In recording an illness of his grandfather, Gen. John Watts De Peyster tells an amusing story in connection with Indian hemp. It is printed in his biography by Mr. Frank Allaben.

Indian hemp was recommended as a remedy during my grandfathers illness, but where to get it was the question. Finally some one said it was grown in the garden of old Mr. Henry Brevoort, who owned a large plot on the east side of Broadway, extending through to the Bowery above Tenth street. Grace Church stands on part of this ground.

Doctor Bibby gave me some money, told me to jump into his gig, drive up to Brevoort’s old low-storied cottage house on Bowery, and tell the owner that I wanted some Indian hemp for my grandfather, John Watts. I was to use diplomacy if necessary, but not to return without it.

I trotted briskly, roused Mr. Brevoort from a nap, stated my case, found no demur, and got the Indian hemp, which he dug up with his own hands.

“How much am I to pay?” I questioned.

“I never sells it,” Mr. Brevoort replied, “because if I takes money for Indian hemp, it weakens the vartoo.”

I stated that I was ordered to pay, and we discussed the matter, walking across the garden toward the gig, which I had left on Broadway.

I had made up my mind that I had met with a disinterested Christian, had replaced the money in my pocket, when I felt a brawny, sunburnt, freckled hand restraining me, and heard these words whispered in my ear: “I never sells Indian hemp, for that weakens the vartoo, but if I gives it, I never refuses a present.”

I extricated the money confided to me, placed it in the expectant hand, hurried home and related my story, and I have heard it laughed over many times.



If you don’t get the joke, don’t worry, its not that funny. My reading on this story is that “vartoo” is Mr. Brevoort’s Dutch pronunciation of the word “virtue.” As in, virtue is a trait or quality deemed to be morally excellent and thus is valued as a foundation of principle and good moral being. By selling something medicinal, Mr. Brevoort is saying that he would weaken the plants effectiveness by profiting off the sale. A contemporary aspect of this moral concept is that some medical cannabis dispensaries in California only take donations instead of selling their medicine. Maybe they don’t want to weaken the vartoo either.



YouTube Video Showing Where George Washington Grew Hemp at Mount Vernon
|| 7/4/2010 || 12:01 pm || + Render A Comment || ||


[ Watch On YouTube ]

In May I had the opportunity to participate in first annual Hemp History Week. From printing up an old newspaper article showing how hemp was used in the Civil War to taking a field trip to George Washington’s farms in Mount Vernon, Virginia, I had a great time learning about America’s historical use of hemp.

In the video above, I make a cameo at the beginning and later in the video the editor included a map of Mount Vernon from the Library of Congress that I submitted for inclusion in the video. The map nicely corresponds to the map shown during the interview at Mount Vernon.

When we arrived at Mount Vernon, the staff had prepared copies of a statement concerning George Washington’s cultivation of hemp at Mount Vernon. Below is a transcription of the document:



Hemp Production and Use at Mount Vernon

Throughout his lifetime, George Washington cultivated hemp at Mount Vernon for industrial uses. The fibers from hemp held excellent properties for the making of rope and sail canvas, which was a major industry in the age of sailing ships. In addition, hemp fibers could be spun into thread for clothing or, as indicated in Mount Vernon records, for use in repairing the large seine fishing nets that Washington used in his fishing operation along the Potomac.

At one point in the 1760’s Washington considered whether hemp would be a more lucrative cash crop than tobacco but determined that wheat would be a better alternative. During the period when he was considering hemp, he wrote to his agents in England in the hope of determining the costs involved in production and shipping.

In September 1765 he wrote:

“In order thereto you woud do me a singular favour in advising of the general price one might expect for good Hemp in your Port watered and prepared according to Act of Parliament, with an estimate of the freight, and all other incident charges pr. Tonn that I may form some idea of the profits resulting from the growth.” (Fitzpatrick, The Writings of George Washington v. 2, September 20, 1765, George Washington to Robert Cary & Company, p. 430-431)

The Act of Parliament that Washington mentions in his letter to Robery Cary & Company, was enacted to promote hemp production in the American Colonies. In 1767, he did sell some of his Mount Vernon-grown hemp, gaining an income from the bounty that Parliament had laid on the crop.

Hemp Background and History:
“Hemp, Cannabis sativa, a plant originally from central Asia, was cultivated with, and sometimes in place of flax, because its stem fibers are similar to those of flax. Hemp seeds, like those of flax, can be used to extract an oil used in paints, varnishes, and soaps. By the seventeenth century, Russia, Latvia, and other countries around the Baltic Sea were major producers of hemp, and it was from this area that Britain obtained its supply, a situation which left the English vulnerable during periods of military hostilities. Hemp made into rope was vital to navies worldwide. Hemp was also used to make a coarse linen cloth as well as sacking, and other rough materials.” (Colonial American Fiber Crops, Charles Leach, from The National Colonial Farm research Report No. 20. the Accokeek Foundation, Inc. p. 3-4)

Although George Washington’s initial interest in hemp was to determine if it could be a viable cash crop, he proceeded to cultivate it just to meet the needs of his own plantation. Hemp was used at Mount Vernon for rope, thread for sewing sacks, canvas, and for repairing the seine nets used at the fisheries.

Washington’s diaries and farm reports indicate that hemp was cultivated at all his 5 farms, (Mansion House, River Farm, Dogue Run Farm, Muddy Hole Farm, & Union Farm.) In February 1794, Washington wrote to his farm manager, William Pearce, “…I am very glad to hear that the Gardener has saved so much of the St. Foin seed, and that of the India Hemp… Let the ground be well prepared and the See (St. Foin) be sown in April. The Hemp may be sown anywhere. (Fitzpatrick, The Writings of George Washington, v. 33, George Washington to William Pearce, February 24, 1794, p. 279.)

It must be noted that industrial hemp, Cannabis sativa, — the kind that Washington grew– is not the same strain of the plant as Cannabis sativa indica which is used as a drug (marijuana). Cannabis sativa (industrial use hemp) contains less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and therefore has no physical or psychological effects. Cannabis sativa indica grown for marijuana can contain 6% to 20% THC.

Therefore, there is no truth to the statement that George Washington was growing marijuana. His hemp crop was strictly the industrial strain needed for the production of rope, thread, canvas, and other industrial applications.



Washington, D.C., Approves Medical Use of Marijuana By Ashley Southall – The New York Times, May 5, 2010
|| 5/5/2010 || 8:07 am || + Render A Comment || ||

Screen grab of Washington, D.C., Approves Medical Use of Marijuana By Ashley Southall - The New York Times, May 5, 2010

Today my names appears for the first time in the New York Times:

Nikolas Schiller, the secretary of the D.C. Patients’ Cooperative, a nonprofit group that advocates legal medical marijuana, said the amendments would have clarified ambiguities in the bill. He pointed to an example of a Wal-Mart worker in Michigan, where medical marijuana is legal, who was fired in March after he tested positive for the drug, which he used to cope with sinus cancer and an inoperable brain tumor.

“We asked the Council to introduce the protection for that and they refused to,” Mr. Schiller said. “And it was very infuriating to sit and watch the best practices from other states, other jurisdictions be ignored.”

Although Ashley recorded a much longer interview with me after the District Council’s final vote, I am happy (read: not infuriated) with how this article is written. I wish she could have highlighted some of the more important issues I spoke to her about. Regardless, I am still disappointed the Councilmembers voted to create one of the most restrictive medical cannabis programs in the country. The reality is that Congress already approved a more liberal version earlier this year and these amendments are far away from the original intent of District residents. The next Congress can take the program away, so why not legislate to create the very best program in the country modeled off of what works? I am sad to say that without home cultivation and limiting growers to 95 plants, the program is going to have some problems, but I hope, in time, we can fix them.

Anyways, yesterday’s vote was an important start, but there is a long way to go…

Read the entire article:

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How the Scythians Used Hemp – Paragraphs 73-75 from Book 4 of The Histories of Herodotus [circa 440 BC]
|| 4/2/2010 || 4:05 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

The Histories of Herodotus is considered one of the influential works of history in Western literature. Written from the 450s to the 420s BC in the Ionic dialect of classical Greek, The Histories serves as a record of the ancient traditions, politics, geography, and clashes of various cultures that were known around the Mediterranean and Western Asia at that time. These paragraphs are about the Scythians, who were an Ancient Iranian people of horse-riding nomadic pastoralists who throughout Classical Antiquity dominated the Pontic-Caspian steppe in present day Kazakhstan, southern Russia, and Ukraine. Below is how the Scythians used hemp about 2,450 years ago:


73. Thus they bury their kings; but as for the other Scythians, when they die their nearest relations carry them round laid in wagons to their friends in succession; and of them each one when he receives the body entertains those who accompany it, and before the corpse they serve up of all things about the same quantity as before the others. Thus private persons are carried about for forty days, and then they are buried: and after burying them the Scythians cleanse themselves in the following way:–they soap their heads and wash them well, and then, for their body, they set up three stakes leaning towards one another and about them they stretch woolen felt coverings, and when they have closed them as much as possible they throw stones heated red-hot into a basin placed in the middle of the stakes and the felt coverings. 73. [1] οὕτω μὲν τοὺς βασιλέας θάπτουσι· τοὺς δὲ ἄλλους Σκύθας, ἐπεὰν ἀποθάνωσι, περιάγουσι οἱ ἀγχοτάτω προσήκοντες κατὰ τοὺς φίλους ἐν ἀμάξῃσι κειμένους. τῶν δὲ ἕκαστος ὑποδεκόμενος εὐωχέει τοὺς ἑπομένους, καὶ τῷ νεκρῷ ἁπάντων παραπλησίως παρατίθησι ὅσα τοῖσι ἄλλοισι. ἡμέρας δὲ τεσσεράκοντα οὕτω οἱ ἰδιῶται περιάγονται, ἔπειτα θάπτονται. [2] θάψαντες δὲ οἱ Σκύψαι καθαίρονται τρόπῳ τοιῷδε. σμησάμενοι τὰς κεφαλὰς καὶ ἐκπλυνάμενοι ποιεῦσι περὶ τὸ σῶμα τάδε ἐπεὰν ξύλα στήσωσι τρία ἐς ἄλληλα κεκλιμένα, περὶ ταῦτα πίλους εἰρινέους περιτείνουσι, συμφράξαντες δὲ ὡς μάλιστα λίθους ἐκ πυρὸς διαφανέας ἐσβάλλουσι ἐς σκάφην κειμένην ἐν μέσῳ τῶν ξύλων τε καὶ τῶν πίλων.


74. Now they have hemp growing in their land, which is very like flax except in thickness and in height, for in these respects the hemp is much superior. This grows both of itself and with cultivation; and of it the Thracians even make garments, which are very like those made of flaxen thread, so that he who was not specially conversant with it would not be able to decide whether the garments were of flax or of hemp; and he who had not before seen stuff woven of hemp would suppose that the garment was made of flax. 74. [1] ἔστι δέ σφι κάνναβις φυομένη ἐν τῇ χώρῃ πλὴν παχύτητος καὶ μεγάθεος τῷ λίνῳ ἐμφερεστάτη· ταύτῃ δὲ πολλῷ ὑπερφέρει ἡ κάνναβις. αὕτη καὶ αὐτομάτη καὶ σπειρομένη φύεται, καὶ ἐξ αὐτῆς Θρήικες μὲν καὶ εἵματα ποιεῦνται τοῖσι λινέοισι ὁμοιότατα· οὐδ᾽ ἄν, ὅστις μὴ κάρτα τρίβων εἴη αὐτῆς, διαγνοίη λίνου ἢ καννάβιος ἐστί· ὃς δὲ μὴ εἶδε κω τὴν κανναβίδα, λίνεον δοκήσει εἶναι τὸ εἷμα.


75. The Scythians then take the seed of this hemp and creep under the felt coverings, and then they throw the seed upon the stones which have been heated red-hot: and it burns like incense and produces a vapour so think that no vapour-bath in Hellas would surpass it: and the Scythians being delighted with the vapour-bath howl like wolves. This is to them instead of washing, for in fact they do not wash their bodies at all in water. Their women however pound with a rough stone the wood of the cypress and cedar and frankincense tree, pouring in water with it, and then with this pounded stuff, which is thick, they plaster over all their body and also their face; and not only does a sweet smell attach to them by reason of this, but also when they take off the plaster on the next day, their skin is clean and shining.

75. [1] ταύτης ὦν οἱ Σκύθαι τῆς καννάβιος τὸ σπέρμα ἐπεὰν λάβωσι, ὑποδύνουσι ὑπὸ τοὺς πίλους, καὶ ἔπειτα ἐπιβάλλουσι τὸ σπέρμα ἐπὶ τοὺς διαφανέας λίθους τῷ πυρί· τὸ δὲ θυμιᾶται ἐπιβαλλόμενον καὶ ἀτμίδα παρέχεται τοσαύτην ὥστε Ἑλληνικὴ οὐδεμία ἄν μιν πυρίη ἀποκρατήσειε. [2] οἱ δὲ Σκύθαι ἀγάμενοι τῇ πυρίῃ ὠρύονται. τοῦτό σφι ἀντὶ λουτροῦ ἐστι. οὐ γὰρ δὴ λούονται ὕδατι τὸ παράπαν τὸ σῶμα. [3] αἱ δὲ γυναῖκες αὐτῶν ὕδωρ παραχέουσαι κατασώχουσι περὶ λίθον τρηχὺν τῆς κυπαρίσσου καὶ κέδρου καὶ λιβάνου ξύλου, καὶ ἔπειτα τὸ κατασωχόμενον τοῦτο παχὺ ἐὸν καταπλάσσονται πᾶν τὸ σῶμα καὶ τὸ πρόσωπον· καὶ ἅμα μὲν εὐωδίη σφέας ἀπὸ τούτου ἴσχει, ἅμα δὲ ἀπαιρέουσαι τῇ δευτέρη ἡμέρῃ τὴν καταπλαστὺν γίνονται καθαραὶ καὶ λαμπραί. 


[ source ]



The Strange Narcotics Used in Asia and South America – The New York Sun, February 8th, 1880
|| 3/24/2010 || 6:01 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

This text is from a longer article about global drug use that was first printed 130 years ago. Since I have been working on DC’s medical cannabis legislation, I have found it very interesting to research the historical uses of cannabis and to see how it was written about before the “reefer madness” of the 1930’s. What I found most interesting is that today’s marijuana was then called “Indian hemp.” I have added a few notes in [brackets] as well as hyperlinks.


The Strange Narcotics Used in Asia and South America

The New York Sun, February 8, 1880

One of the earliest attempts to expand the popular acquaintances with the practical lessons of chemical science was made in Jonhsons’s Chemistry of Common Life, first published twenty-five years ago [in 1855]. The progress of inquiry since that epoch has rendered a new edition of the book desirable, and the work of revision and addition has been carefully performed by Mr. A. H. Church in the volume now issued by the Appletons. Mr. Church is himself favorably known as the author of several lucid and trustworthy handbooks on topics relating to the applications of chemistry, and in the portions here contributed by himself he has striven, not unsuccessfully, to emulate the cogency of method and simplicity of style which distinguished the original treatise. His additions comprise some valuable matter which had been gleaned by Prof. Johnston and inserted in that writer’s private copy of the first edition. Altogether, the book, in its present form, deserves to maintain its old preeminence as a readable exposition of the main uses of chemistry in the daily life of man. Of peculiar interest will be found the chapters which discuss the effect of the various narcotics, including opium, tobacco, Indian hemp, the betel nut, the coca leaf, the red thornapple, and the Siberian fungus. Some of the data relating to the least familiar of these narcotising agents deserve particular attention.

Few persons appreciate to what extent certain races are addicted to forms of narcotic indulgence with which Anglo-Saxons are almost wholly unacquainted. According to the work before us, the use of Indian hemp obtains among upwards of 200,000,000 of human beings, dispersed over a large part of the earth, viz. in Persia, India, and Turkey, throughout the whole continent of Africa, from Morocco to the Cape of Good Hope, and even in Brazil. One hundred millions of men in China, Hindostan, and the Eastern Archipelago consume, for the same narcotic purpose, the betel nut and betel pepper. Again, the chewing of coca is more or less practised among some 10,000,000 of the human race.

As regards the first named of these agents, Indian hemp, it seems at first sight curious that the narcotic properties of hemp should never have obtained popular recognition in southern Europe, when we consider that our common plant [Cannabis sativa], so extensively cultivated for its fibre, differs in no essential feature from the Indian variety [Cannabis indica] which, from the remotest times, has been celebrated in the East for its care-dispelling virtues.

In northern climates, however, the peculiar resinous substance residing in the sap is so small that it would naturally escape observation. Yet even in such latitudes the growing plant emits a peculiar smell, which sometimes occasions headache and giddiness in those who remain long in the field.

In parts of India resinous exudation is so abundant that it may be gathered by the hand in the same way as opium. The resin obtained this way is the most highly prized, and is known as the chorrus. It appears that that even the tops and tender parts of the plant, when dried, are powerful narcotic agents, but the seeds, it said, are not used for this purpose.

The preparation known as hashish in Syria is made by boiling the leaves and flowers of the hemp with water, to which a certain quantity of butter has been added, and evaporating and straining the decoction. The butter thus becomes charged with the active resinous principle of the plant, and acquires a greenish color. It is apt to have rancid taste, and hence is commonly mixed with sweetmeats and aromatics, so as to form a sort of electuary. One of these confections used among the Moors is called el mogen(?), and is sold at an enormous price; another is well known at Constantinople under the name of madjoun, and is reputed to possess aphrodisiac powers.

The dried plant is also smoked, and sometimes chewed, five or ten grains reduced to powder being mixed with tobacco in a pipe or narghile. The pure resin and resinous extract are generally swallowed in the form of pills or boluses.

In one or other of these forms the hemp plant appears to have been used from very early times. Herodotus, for instance, tells us that ancient Scythians excited themselves by inhaling its vapor. The potion which Homer makes Helen administer to Telemachus was prepared from a plant said to have been procured from Thebes in Egypt, where, there is reason to believe, a knowledge of the qualities of hemp existed as early as the eighteenth dynasty (1700 B.C.).

There is no doubt that hemp is often mentioned under the name of beng in the “Arabian Nights;” we may add that the derivation of the English word assassin from the hasisheens, or the hemp-eating followers of the Old Man of the Mountain, seems to be generally acknowledged.

The effects of the churrus, or natual resinous exudation, have been carefully studied in India by competent physicians. We are told that when taken in moderation, it produces increase of appetite and great mental cheerfulness, while, in excess, it causes a extraordinary kind of delirium and catalepsy. In the latter case, limbs of the patient can be placed in every imaginable attitude, and they will remain perfectly stationary in violation of the laws of gravity, the brain, meanwhile, being almost insensible to impressions from without.

It has been proved also by experiment that the hemp extract exercises the same extraordinary influence upon other animals as as well as upon man, and it is believed that the wonderful feats of the Indian Fakirs and snake charmers of India should, in many cases, be explained by their employment of this agent. It appears that after the cataleptic trance has passed, the patient is left entirely uninjured.

In general, indeed, the effects of hemp upon the human system are pronounced less deleterious than those of opium. Hemp does not lessen, but rather excites appetite. Moreover, it does not occasion nausea, constipation, dryness of the tongue, or the lessening of any of the secretions, and is not usually followed by that melancholy state of mental depression to which the opium eater is subject. It appears, however, that a long and gradual training to its use is requisite before its agreeable effects can be fully experienced; it is affirmed, also, that the remarkable cataleptic state above described has never been produced in a European.


Click here to continue reading the article on Chronicling America.



YouTube Videos, Photos, and Newspaper Articles About American Farmers and Businessmen Planting Hemp Seeds at the DEA Headquarters in Arlington, Virginia
|| 10/25/2009 || 1:36 pm || + Render A Comment || ||


[Watch on YouTube]

On October 13th, 2009, I was invited to document this demonstration at the DEA Headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. You can spot me in the YouTube video above in the beginning. I am wearing a black jacket and hat with a rose on it.


This story starts back in 2007 when farmers Wayne Hauge and David C. Monson attempted to obtain permits from the Drug Enforcement Administration to grow industrial hemp [well actually the story goes back further!]. Their respective state governments had granted the farmers licenses to grow the plant, but since the DEA still considers the non-psychoactive industrial hemp plant to be marijuana, they have refused to grant the farmers permits. Faced with no other legal option, they decided it was time to stage a direct action on the grounds of the DEA Headquarters to help push public opinion towards changing the outdated laws. A week later the Department of Justice officially clarified it’s stance on medical marijuana, but has not yet addressed industrial hemp farming. Below are two articles about the demonstration with photographs that I took that eventful morning:

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Tonight! Art Party @ Capitol Hemp
|| 6/6/2008 || 12:37 pm || Comments Off on Tonight! Art Party @ Capitol Hemp || ||

If you haven’t been to Capitol Hemp yet, come & check it out tonight!



D.C. to get it’s first hemp store: Capitol Hemp
|| 4/7/2008 || 12:53 pm || Comments Off on D.C. to get it’s first hemp store: Capitol Hemp || ||


Photograph by Gerald Martineau of The Washington Post. Mosaic by Jill Blankespoor

I’ve known about the store for some time now so it’s nice that it’s is getting some great exposure in today’s Washington Post article. The store is located near the intersection of 18th & Columbia NW below the Starbucks and should open soon. I’ve written about my antics & activism with. Adam over the years- from working on his last campaign for U.S. Shadow Representative to staging the first ever DC democracy lobbying effort on the Potomac and I’m looking forward to shopping at Capitol Hemp.

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  • thank you,
    come again!