Earth Day Tragedy-Of-Sorts: Wal-Mart, Hemp and Right-Wing Anti-Cannabis Crusades
Born the same year in 1970, Earth Day and NORML have grown up side-by-side. Today, millions of Americans will celebrate and be mindful of the basic message of Earth Day: Living in harmony with nature.
Frustratingly, NORML recently discovered through a tip from a supporter and a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) that an anti-drug group based in Florida called Drug Free America Foundation (DFAF) in their zeal against anything having to do with cannabis harass major corporations and retailers to stop marketing all products that are made of hemp, books that educate about the plant and even CDs from musical artists that dare mention the word ‘hemp’.
One of DFAF’s targets was retail giant Wal-Mart. In 2005, DFAF director Calvina Fay (a former law enforcement employee) wrote to the CEO of Wal-Mart, S. Robeson Walton, bringing to his attention that of the tens of thousands of products Wal-Mart sells, DFAF took great umbrage with the company for selling two hemp-related books and a CD by Canadian rock band ‘Chixdiggit’.
“Save Money. Live Better.” (Wal-Mart motto)
A search of Wal-Mart’s webpage today, and a trip to a Wal-Mart in Maryland confirms, that apparently DFAF’s harassment of Wal-Mart worked as the company no longer sells any book titles concerning hemp, no hemp-related clothing, jewelry or backpacks. However, despite DFAF’s protest, Wal-Mart still retails CDs by Chixdiggit, featuring the song ‘Hemp, hemp hooray!’
What can cannabis consumers and concerned citizens do to counter the anti-cannabis advocacy of groups like DFAF? Do the same thing! Write to the CEOs and/or owners of retail stores and tell them that you logically want hemp-based products to purchase for all obvious reasons—hemp is an environmentally safe, responsible and valuable agricultural product that takes little fertilizer and almost no pesticide to produce a cash crop that is as utilitarian, if not more so, than the soybean.
Let prospective business owners who may have a commercial interest in selling hemp products know that virtually every country in the world (even though ‘marijuana’ is not legal in these countries to ingest) allows non-psychoactive hemp to be cultivated and used for industrial purposes/apparel, and that the two primary reasons that hemp is not a staple agricultural commodity in America is 1) because of the country’s misguided and blanket cannabis prohibition (a.k.a. Reefer Madness) created by the federal government in 1937, and 2) so-called anti-drug groups disingenuously confusing industrial hemp with marijuana for the purposes of continuing the mindless practice of opposing any human interaction at all with the cannabis plant, be it for adult recreant use, a safe/non-toxic therapeutic or as a valuable industrial plant that humans have been cultivating and employing for the betterment of society for thousands of years.
On this 38th Earth Day, do something bold for the planet and personal freedom: Support and commend your local retailers and stores that carry hemp products while at the same time opposing anti-drug groups like DFAF from making the war on some drugs any worse for society or the environment than it already has become.
Earth Day Bonus in Washington, DC – After nearly 12 years without a true hemp store, eco-minded consumers in the nation’s capital can finally purchase hemp apparel and products with the grand opening this week of Capitol Hemp in the Adams Morgan neighborhood. April 22, 2008