Saturday, January 19, 2013

Steve Levine on Jerry Brown's veto in California

An article from Steve Levine, president of the Hemp Industries Association and founder of the Santa Barbara Hemp Festival speaks about the great loss to his state when Governor Jerry Brown vetoed hemp. It has been frustrating to see this happen, time and again, first with Arnold Schwarzenegger, and now with Brown.

The Governor of California, who allegedly represents his state and is by law a defender of the state’s medical cannabis industry, has vetoed the California Industrial Hemp Farming Act because he is afraid of federal intervention. It saddens me greatly that half a lifetime ago I revered Governor Jerry Brown as a political hero in the mold of Tom Hayden, Cesar Chavez, and even Robert Kennedy. It’s tragic what time can do to a man, and Jerry Brown is no longer worthy of anything other than pity and anger. He has lost his courage.

Industrial hemp has great promise as a renewable, alternative raw material to petrochemicals in composite and textile products. Its seed, as a food source, is second to none nutritionally. With a perfect balance of omega three and six essential fatty acids, it is a nearly complete, easily digestible protein. Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps – an organic, free trade, and progressive company – currently imports 20 tons of hemp oil annually from Canada for use in their soaps. It is their goal to source this hemp oil from hemp grown on American soil. This is the case for many California companies.

Industrial hemp is not capable of producing any kind of high whatsoever, yet our government continues to block re-commercialization of industrial hemp by conflating it with medical marijuana. On October 9, Governor Brown of California used his voice to call the federal ban on industrial hemp farming “absurd” while at the same time hypocritically using his pen to veto the California Industrial Hemp Farming Act. The corporate stranglehold and hysterical drug warriors’ lock on cannabis/hemp policy continues unchecked under President Obama.

In a state that is floundering in a massive debt with high unemployment and, apparently, no leadership, the Governor has vetoed a bill that promised to give jobs to its citizens while growing an eco-industry that is sorely needed in this country. Moreover, it would not have cost the taxpayer a dime! Corporate members of the Hemp Industries Association – including Dr. Bronner’s, Nature’s Path, Nutiva and several others – have pledged to jump in and sponsor this amazing opportunity for California and the entire country at no cost to the government and its citizens. While every product derived from the industrial hemp plant is legal, we are the only industrialized country in the world that does not grow this versatile and durable plant. What the hell is wrong here?
As I see it, our government – state, federal and otherwise – is broken. It has become incumbent upon the people of this country to get involved and take back the freedom and power they have relinquished. This is a good place to start. If you also believe that industrial hemp is a unique plant that can help build a green economy in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way, please make yourself heard. For more information on industrial hemp and how to bring it back to our farmers, please go and
The veto of SB676, the California Hemp Farming Act, borders on treason. It will harm both the citizens and the environment of this country, respectively facing rising unemployment and disastrous global warming. At the very least, this veto by Brown was highly irresponsible and callous.

As Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis said, “To stay experimentation in things social and economic is a grave responsibility. Denial of the right to experiment may be fraught with serious consequences to the nation. It is one of the happy incidents of the federal system that a single courageous State may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.”

It’s up to us now, as it always has been.

Steve Levine is currently president of the Hemp Industries Association and on the Board of Directors of HIA and Vote Hemp. He produced the S.B. Hemp Festival from 1999 to 2007.


MinaBird said...

Steve is our front man! Thanks for all your hard work. This is our year!

MinaBird said...

BTW he is no longer the Pres of the HIA, it is Anndrea Herman who has vast knowledge... Will you interview her? Steve is the president of HEMP tho... :)

Kenyon said...

Steve has been at it for many years, decades, and we owe it to people like him to make hemp legal and come to closure on this issue, rather than just spin our wheels.
Thanks for the clarification, and yes I would love to interview her - Steve too is he is willing -

Mark Ski said...

Levine and others have worked very hard all these years, it is a shame some stupid politician can just destroy their work and that of the Founding Fathers.

GOPbuster said...

Yeah, stupid politicians on both sides - first GOP man Terminator - then the Dem gov terminated it.
Time for a centrist party - and I might add that there is more surveillance against that concept than there is against Al Qaeda. Both sides against the people!
That's why I was happy to see and sign that petition at Minawear.

Don Anser said...

I signed it too! And I am writing to a senator about this to do some lobbying, there is a new Congressman in Texas who is replacing Dr Ron Paul - we all should be writing to him, google Randy Weber Congressman Texas.
Steve and his crew did what they could in California, but when it went to Sacramento, which is a long way from Santa Barbara, the pols just spit on it.

Phil Telic said...

Steve Levine is cool. He is one of the longest serving hempsters in America and gets things done. Sadly, his state has bad press and a bas governor for hemp.
In Texas the new Congressman, Randy Weber, is doing nothing which is sad as his predecessor, Ron Paul, was the most active politician in America for hemp.
So we need more people to step in and write their pols and their journalists and get this issue up there in the public mind - so we can grow and manufacture hemp in the US - producing JOBS again.