Hemp advocates tout potential jobs in effort to gain support

Al Kamen
Columnist August 7, 2012

Advocates of legalizing hemp are noting that the “Obama campaign is raising funds” by selling a lovely Monique Pean scarf made of 45 percent cotton and 55 percent hemp imported from China (although the scarf is made in the U.S.A.).

Lots of companies use imported hemp, of course, including food, soap and clothing manufacturers, the hemp advocates say.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993. View Archive

And they wouldn’t have to import it but for federal law and regulations that don’t distinguish between “non-drug” varieties of cannabis and the kind that gets you high, Vote Hemp President Eric Steenstra said in a news release last week.

The hemp folks — and their Hill supporters — are jumping on the central issue of the 2012 campaign, jobs, by saying that allowing hemp farming would translate to a $400 million industry and “instant job creation,” right here in America.

It’s unlikely that the legislation will go anywhere this year. But it sure has attracted a motley crew of backers, including senators such as Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Reps. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) and Ron Paul (R-Tex.), Rand’s dad.

And who knew that Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps — “a California company that manufactures the number-one-selling natural soap in the U.S.” — Vote Hemp says, sells “products made with hemp.”

So that’s what makes the soap magical?

Bagging Chinese dog food

Critics of the safety of food imported from China are enlisting the aid of a figure very close to President Obama: Bo Obama.

Hmm . . . if a president’s kids are off-limits, what about the first dog? Ah, what the heck — the pooch has already entered the political fray by cutting his own campaign commercial.

Food & Water Watch, which lobbies for stricter food-import laws, accompanied a recent article with a photo of the adorable pup taken in front of the White House. “Is the First Dog being fed risky chicken treats from China? The President owes Bo and all of us finalized food safety rules to protect our health,” the photo caption says.

The group’s bone to pick: There aren’t any regulations on the safety of pet food imported from China, a country whose poultry processing has often been a bit dicey (cough, bird flu, cough). Still, the amount of food flowing to U.S. pets from China has increased 85-fold from 2003 to 2011. That’s a lot of kibble.

And the Food and Drug Administration has issued warnings about Chinese chicken jerky doggie treats that have sickened and even killed American dogs.

“China should not be allowed to export any food — for humans or pets — to the U.S. until it gets its food safety act together,” the Food & Water Watch says in the article alongside the Bo shot.

We can only imagine that Bo doesn’t dine on plebeian Chinese jerky (we picture him instead noshing on organic, free-range steak tartare whipped up by a White House toque), but the group’s point may have some bite.

And at least they’ve got a good-looking poster pup.

WWHT?

We asked, you answered — and in fewer than 140 characters.

The Loop proudly presents the winners of our contest to suggest what Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton ’s first tweet should be. The deadline closed before Loop fans could get in any references to that run-in with bees during her recent Malawi visit, but you managed to hit all the classic Clinton-joke notes: her inveterate jet-setting, Bill, and even that famous remark about baking cookies.

And we couldn’t help but notice that many entrants (and a few winners) came from State Department employees. Seems poking fun at the boss is a favorite pastime.

Congratulations to our winners, each of whom scored a fabulous Loop T-shirt:

“Dressage! Why didn’t I think of that?” — John Meagher, Fairfax resident and the executive director of education nonprofit ReSet.

“If anyone sees Bill, ask him to pick up milk on the way home.” — Vince Morris, a staffer for the Senate Commerce Committee who lives on Capitol Hill.

“It’s 3 am. Who do you want answering your tweet?” — Pete Morelewicz, graphic designer in Washington.

“@hkarzai @speres @jtalabani @aazardari Miss u guys! @SecStateGov loooonnng flight I’m wiped ttyl!” — Michael Jordan, marketing manager in Fairfax.

“Tweeting from salon seat. Finally have time to get my hair cut back to a manageable length.” — Peyton Williams, a retiree from Charlottesville.

“Soooo bored of those 2016 prognosticators. . . . Can’t a gal take a break? Looking forward to knitting baby booties . . . and baking cookies!” — A State Department employee from Rockville who wants to remain anonymous.

“Now that I can tweet, I wonder what diplomatic protocol is on Facebook friending Dear Leader Kim Jong Eun and Comrade Ri Sol Ju.” — Michael Gould, Washington business owner.

“Still can’t find @MLauer” — John Brandolino, a government employee from Arlington.

“Can I keep my frequent flier miles after January?” — Robert Leventhal, a Washington resident and foreign affairs officer at the State Department.

“Putin! Merkel! Cameron! Look who’s on Twitter! Your turn, dweebs!” — Matt Neufeld, news editor, Carroll Publishing, Bethesda.

With Emily Heil

The blog: washingtonpost.com/ intheloop; Twitter: @InTheLoopWP

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