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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time to stage a direct action on the grounds of the DEA Headquarters to help push public opinion towards changing the outdated laws.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:

Photograph of one of the farmers being arrested outside of the DEA Headquarters
Farmers try to plant hemp at DEA office, arrested
By JAMES MacPHERSON (AP) – Oct 14, 2009

BISMARCK, N.D. — A 51-year-old grandfather who grows garbanzo beans and other crops in northwestern North Dakota was among the protesters arrested for planting hemp seeds on the lawn of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration offices.

Wayne Hauge and five other people were arrested Tuesday for trespassing and part of a group of about 20 protesting the ban on growing hemp, said authorities in Arlington, Va. Hemp, which is used to make paper, lotion and other products, is related to the illegal drug marijuana.

Proponents argue it contains too little of the mind-altering chemical THC to make people high.

Hauge and David Monson, a Republican state legislator and farmer from Osnabrock, received the North Dakota’s first state licenses to grow industrial hemp in 2007, but they’ve never received approval from the DEA, which considers hemp a drug. They’ve sued the DEA, and their case has been before the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for about a year after a federal judge in Bismarck dismissed it and told the farmers to take their case to Congress.

“You might say this is outside of my normal character, and I don’t intend to make it a practice,” Hauge said in a telephone interview, after spending about five hours in jail. “My interest here was to show that hemp is just a crop. Hemp is not a drug.”

The Hemp Industries Association, which has been lobbying lawmakers on Capitol Hill to allow the growing of hemp for industrial uses, said it’s the first time the protesters engaged in civil disobedience.

DEA officials did not return telephone calls for comment Tuesday.

David Bronner, president of Escondido, Calif.-based Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, said his company has used hemp for a decade in its products. The company imports hemp from Europe and Canada, but Bronner said he would like to buy it from U.S. farmers.

“With the weak dollar and the high cost of freight, it’s something we should be able to source in the U.S.,” said Bronner, who invited Hauge to Tuesday’s demonstration.

Bronner said he, Hauge and four others dug several holes on the lawn of the DEA headquarters and planted about 1,000 hemp seeds. Hauge was one of two farmers arrested. The other was Will Allen of East Thetford, Vt.

“He dug a better hole than anyone,” Bronner said of Hauge.

Hauge and Allen’s trip was paid for by Vote Hemp, the lobbying arm of the hemp industry.

Hauge, who lives in Ray, a town of about 500 people, still has 400 acres of beans to harvest at home. He would like to add hemp to his other crops, which include lentils, barley and durum, and said he and other hemp proponents are frustrated by the lack of progress in legalization.

“My interest has been and will always be raising it for a crop, as part of my rotation,” said Hauge, who also is an accountant.

National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson, who pushed for legalizing the growing of industrial hemp in the U.S. while serving as North Dakota’s agriculture commissioner, said he was surprised by Hauge’s arrest.

“Wow, he didn’t strike me as the kind of guy who’d wind up in jail,” Johnson said. “He’s a rational kind of guy. He’s an accountant, for crying out loud, and a farmer.”

The National Farmers Union has not taken a position on hemp. But Johnson said he still believes U.S. farmers should be allowed to plant it.

“We still have folks in high places that seem to think hemp and marijuana are the same thing — they aren’t,” Johnson said. “We need to get past that.”

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Reprinted here for historical documentation purposes. I believe this republication falls under the Fair Use doctrine of United States Copyright law.

Photograph of the symbolic shovels used in the demonstration

Where to Go to Sow Protest? DEA Grass
Activists Dig Into Symbolism in Effort To Legalize Hemp
By David Montgomery
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 14, 2009

You want to dig a garden, you need a shovel. You want to dig a guerrilla garden of illegal hemp on the front lawn of Drug Enforcement Administration headquarters and get arrested for the cameras, you need a symbol.

Shortly before they all were happily handcuffed Tuesday, the farmers took one look at what the activists had brought to dig with, and just shook their heads.

The symbolic shovels were shiny, chrome-plated affairs, the kind for turning the earth in a Washington photo op, stamped with slogans: “Reefer Madness Will Be Buried.” When the shovel blades were experimentally pressed into the mulch outside the group’s hotel, they bent like toys.

“You’ll have a real hard time getting through the grass,” observed Wayne Hauge, 51, a North Dakota farmer whose previous interactions with police amount to a ticket for driving an overloaded truck of lentils. “Not exactly the divot I was thinking of.”

But never mind.

Time to leave for the demonstration, the protest, the blow against the empire of DEA regulations.

They piled into a 1985 Mercedes-Benz painted the color of a Granny Smith apple. Its diesel engine had been converted to run on waste cooking oil supplied for free by a restaurant in Columbia Heights. For the adventure, Adam Eidinger, communications director for the advocacy group Vote Hemp and owner of the Mercedes, spiked the cooking grease with waste hemp oil. He was wearing pants, shirt, socks and shoes all made from hemp.

The hemp mobile purred over the Potomac River on the road to Arlington.

Farmers and activists say that industrial hemp, as they call it, will not get you high. It has minuscule levels of THC compared with marijuana. But unlike governments in Canada, Europe and China, the DEA will not allow it to be cultivated in the United States, much less on its own front lawn across from the Pentagon City mall. So the expanding industry, estimated at $360 million annually by advocates, is based on imports.

Hauge has been certified to grow hemp by North Dakota. He thinks the crop will help his fourth-generation family farm thrive. He has a federal case on appeal to force the DEA to yield to the state law.

Also in the car was Will Allen, 73, an organic sunflower and canola farmer from East Thetford, Vt. He has been arrested for protesting the Iraq war, he said. He wants to add organic hemp in rotation with his other crops.

The other passenger, tall and lanky in a pinstripe suit with Alcatraz cuff links, was not a farmer. He was David Bronner, 36, president of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps in Escondido, Calif.

Dr. Bronner’s! That iconically groovy peppermint liquid lather once was practically prescribed for all kids backpacking from Carmel to Katmandu. It was said to be excellent for washing everything from your face to your jeans to your dishes. David is the grandson of the late Emil Bronner, the original soap-meister. The grandfather wasn’t really a doctor, but who was going argue with a guy who loaded his soap bottle labels with tiny script imparting heavy philosophical musings about the “All-One”?

Bronner’s ponytailed presence on this mission was like the totemic blessing of a previous counterculture upon a new counterculture. Whereas the earlier counterculture was associated mostly with the kind of cannabis that you smoke, the new one has taken up the cause of the kind of cannabis that can go into food, textiles, particle board, automobile panels, biofuel. It’s a throwback to the old days, when George Washington grew hemp and the USS Constitution was outfitted with 60 tons of hempen rigging.

And soap?

Hemp, it turns out, has to do with so, so much.

“It gave the lather an additional smoothness,” said Bronner, who put hemp oil in the recipe 10 years ago.

The DEA referred questions about hemp and the protest to the Justice Department, and Justice referred a reporter to its brief in Hauge’s case. The government says it is simply enforcing federal drug laws, which do not distinguish among types of the species cannabis sativa. Hauge and another plaintiff lost at the lower federal court level; a ruling on the appeal is pending.

Meanwhile, a handful of state legislatures has approved industrial hemp farming — but awaits DEA action — and the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture has endorsed it.

There was a final huddle on the sidewalk near the DEA building. Besides the six with shovels who planned to be arrested, 15 other supporters came with signs and cameras. They passed around the number of a lawyer to call from jail. Hauge started writing it on a card.

No, said an experienced activist dressed in black. “Write it on your skin.”

They chose a patch of lush grass outside the entrance to the DEA Museum in Pentagon City. Sure enough, the shiny shovels bent like toys. The protesters bent them back into shape. The farmers showed the others how to dig small trenches. “One to 1 1/2 inches in moderately moist soil,” Hauge had advised earlier.

The seeds were packets of hemp crunch — toasted hemp seeds imported from Canada, a nutritious snack. Thousands went into the ground.

Private security guards and DEA employees gathered around the gardeners, puzzled.

“Do you have a permit?” asked security contractor David Smith.

“That’s what we want is a permit from the DEA,” said Bronner.

Smith chuckled at their bendy shovels. “Keep digging, fellas,” he said, not unkindly. “You’ll be going to jail in a minute.”

A DEA guy who wouldn’t give his name got on his cellphone to a colleague: “They are digging up the grass and planting hemp seeds.”

Arlington police officers gave two warnings and moved in. Hauge walked calmly in handcuffs to a squad car escorted by an officer who was sucking on a lollipop. All six were charged with trespassing and have hearings this week. Then Hauge has 400 acres of chickpeas to harvest back in North Dakota.

Inside the DEA Museum was a display of hemp products that could have come straight from the Hemp Pavilion at the Green Festival last weekend in the Washington Convention Center.

“In the 1600s hemp landed in the Americas where it was used to make rope, clothing, paper,” the uncritical DEA exhibit said. “Today hemp fibers are used in clothing and jewelry.”

The protesters couldn’t have said it better.

The six useless shovels were piled in a carton. Would they go on display? “I don’t think so,” said a DEA officer. “Evidence.” He took pictures of the seeds scattered in the grass.

As for the garden — no hemp will grow there. The toasting process to render the seeds tasty before importation also makes them inert, as required by law. Nobody was about to risk heavy drug-smuggling charges. The symbol was the thing.

Copyright © 2009 The Washington Post Company. All rights reserved.
Reprinted here for historical documentation purposes. I believe this republication falls under the Fair Use doctrine of United States Copyright law.

This YouTube video contains the same footage as the video above, but was minimally edited so that broadcast news organizations would include the coverage on their evening newscasts.

[Watch on YouTube]

Post Title: YouTube Videos, Photos, and Newspaper Articles About American Farmers and Businessmen Planting Hemp Seeds at the DEA Headquarters in Arlington, Virginia
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Posted in: Activism, Arlington, Associated Press, Cannabis, Gardening, Location, News, Photography, Virginia, YouTube
Last edited by Nikolas Schiller on 1/25/2015 at 3:41 pm

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