Henry Ford’s Car Made From Hemp – and those Responsible for the Prohibition of Hemp and Marijuana

Henry Ford demonstrates the strength of his car "grown" from a combination of hemp and other annual crops, and designed to run on hemp fuel, by smashing it with a crowbar. (Popular Mechanics, 1941)

By markthshark / Daily Kos

I must admit, when I first read about Henry Ford’s automobile made solely from hemp products the first image that popped into my head was of Cheech & Chong’s van made of marijuana (complete with Thai sticks for bumpers) from the 1978 movie titled “Up in Smoke.”

Strangely, my life was never quite the same after that movie came out. But that’s a whole ‘nuther story. lol (more about Henry Ford’s hemp car later)

A new theory has been posited about the origin of the prohibition of hemp in America. Like many other people, I had always subscribed to the conventional theory that it was the dirty deeds of turn of the [20th] century oligarchs like William Randolf Hearst and the DuPont family who were mainly (or at least financially) responsible for the demise of the hemp industry — due to the threat hemp posed to their respective commodity empires — i.e., lumber and paper, and textiles and chemicals. (link to DuPont company history here)

Turns out, that accepted theory may no longer be acceptable.

The history of the hemp plant and it’s truncated industry in the United States has been long and storied. Hemp’s nearly limitless industrial versatility was once widely thought to be America’s new economic engine for growth. In fact, the magazine Popular Mechanics even dubbed the hemp plant, America’s “New Billion Dollar Crop” in a cover story from an issue back in 1938.

Hmm, I wonder what that billion dollar crop would be worth in today’s standard, factoring in, of course, innovation, financial investments, and a steady progression of applicable technological advances since the early 20th Century.

So, what the hell happened?

From the Popular Mechanics article: (via the Northern Wisconsin Chapter of NORML)

American farmers are promised a new cash crop with an annual value of several hundred million dollars, all because a machine has been invented which solves a problem more than 6,000 years old. It is hemp, a crop that will not compete with other American products. Instead, it will displace imports of raw material and manufactured products produced by underpaid coolie and peasant labor and it will provide thousands of jobs for American workers throughout the land.

The machine which makes this possible is designed for removing the fiber-bearing cortex from the rest of the stalk, making hemp fiber available for use without prohibitive amounts of human labor.

Hemp is the standard fiber of the world. It has great tensile strength and durability. It is used to produce more than 5,000 textile products, ranging from rope to fine laces, and the woody “hurds” remaining after the fiber has been removed contain more than seventy-seven per cent cellulose, and can be used to produce more than 25,000 products, ranging from dynamite to Cellophane.



But just how easy is the crop grown?

From the farmers’ point of view, hemp is an easy crop to grow and will yield from three to six tons per acre on any land that will grow corn, wheat, or oats. It can be grown in any state of the union. It has a short growing season, so that it can be planted after other crops are in. The long roots penetrate and break the soil to leave it in perfect condition for the next year’s crop. The dense shock of leaves, eight to twelve feet above the ground, chokes out weeds. Two successive crops are enough to reclaim land that has been abandoned because of Canadian thistles or quack grass.

So, basically (and illogically, imo) hemp prohibition came about in the U.S. despite the plant’s well-documented eco-friendly, versatility; its wide availability, and its relatively simple, inexpensive growth and production processes. Go figure.

From Alternet:

For farmers, an alternative to taking land out of production and destroying “surplus” commodities would have been to plant crops they could market profitably. Thanks to advances in chemistry, there was at this time a rising “chemurgy” movement that Morgenthau, a farm expert, would certainly have known about. Chemurgy involves growing crops not for food but for transformation into various industrial products—plastics, coatings, thread, etc. As Dave West puts it, chemurgy is based on “the idea that anything you can make from a hydrocarbon you can make from a carbohydrate… Rayon from plants instead of nylon from petroleum.” Henry Ford was a leading proponent of chemurgy. Ford had his workers build a car out of hemp-based products and arranged for a promotional photo of himself, in an overcoat and hat, bashing the rear fender with a sledgehammer to show how strong the material was. (my emphasis)

Simply amazing

But on to the new theory…

During the FDR administration, in 1937, a racist, Harry Anslinger, was the longtime commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. He was widely considered the prime mover behind marijuana prohibition. But during the congressional debate on the subject, Anslinger was just one witness in a strange show trial.

He testified that marijuana induces homicidal mania and so forth, but it was not Anslinger who designed the complicated prohibitive-tax strategy. That maneuver was thought up by the Treasury Department’s top lawyer, Herman Oliphant. Nor was Anslinger called back to refute William Woodward of the American Medical Association, who argued that a federal prohibition was uncalled for.

Note: it’s important to explain the reason I called Anslinger a racist. He was infamous for his misguided disgusting and bigoted quotes of the era. Why FDR ever picked this guy is beyond me. But they are what they are. And he was what he was.

anslinger“Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men,” said Anslinger. “The primary reason to outlaw marijuana is the effect it has on the degenerative races.”

To make sure no one missed his point, Anslinger went on to offer a profile of the average marijuana toker.

“Most are Negroes, Hispanics. Filipinos and entertainers. Their satanic music, jazz and swing, result from smoking marijuana. This marijuana makes White women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others.”

from Common Sense for Drug Policy

As it turns out, it was Congressman Fred Vinson of Kentucky who dealt with Woodward, subjecting him to a snide, relentless grilling.

In the transcript of the hearing, Vinson comes across as an effective prosecutor committed to getting the prohibitive-tax bill enacted, while Anslinger seems like a carnival pitch man—yowza, yowza, yowza. Both men were carrying water for the Treasury Department, which had drafted the prohibition bill and was asking Congress to impose it on the nation.When the final curtain fell in my imaginary drama, the actual villain seemed to be Vinson, not Anslinger. As I was mulling over the implications, Dave West referred me to his eye-opening essay, “Low, Dishonest Decade,” published in 1999. West, who has a PhD in plant breeding and genetics, spent most of his career as a geneticist/breeder of “corporate maize” (his term). He pioneered the application of molecular markers incrop breeding.

In his essay, West argues that Anslinger did not push through federal legislation to enact prohibition with backing from Hearst, DuPont and Andrew Mellon. (the DuPont’s banker, Republican Secretary of the Treasury from 1921 to 1933, and the man who appointed Anslinger to run the Federal Bureau of Narcotics in 1930)


A conspiracy involving Hearst, Du Pont and Mellon was posited by Jack Herer, the man who in the 1980s discovered the suppressed history of hemp, its multiple uses and its economic potential. Herer shared his findings in a collage of documentation called The Emperor Wears no Clothes. Herer’s admirers should be open-minded about West’s take on the federal prohibition. Herer’s revelations and accomplishments are of an order of magnitude that won’t be reduced if his theory of three rich Republicans masterminding prohibition doesn’t pan out.

Alternatively, West suggests a leadership role in the prohibition of hemp for Henry Morgenthau, Jr., FDR’s secretary of the Treasury from 1934 to 1945. (After FDR died, Harry Truman replaced Morgenthau with the above-mentioned Fred Vinson.)

Morgenthau was well aware of the Nazi threat and the strong isolationist sentiment that could keep the administration from intervening on behalf of European Jews. He was tracking the expanding network of Nazi front groups in this country, and the German-American Bund. There were German-American hemp farmers in contact with Henry Ford, a leading anti-Semite. Morgenthau must have suspected they were associated with the Bund and wanted to keep tabs on them. As secretary of the treasury, Morgenthau was in charge of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, which had law-enforcement and domestic-surveillance capabilities. Its commissioner, Harry Anslinger, was an ambitious bureaucrat out to maximize his agency’s power. West’s theory is that Morgenthau orchestrated the federal prohibition and that Anslinger’s railing against marijuana was part of the play.

It is logical that the head honcho called the shots. In an interview in 1970, Anslinger himself told David Musto that Morgenthau wanted the ban in response to pressure from law enforcement in several states. But Morgenthau never wanted those reasons to become public information. The Treasury Department oversaw the entire process, according to the transcript of a congressional hearing on prohibition.

In a paper on the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act that ran in the Archives of General Psychiatry (and was reprinted by Tod Mikuriya in Marijuana Medical Papers), Musto wrote, “The hearings before the House were held in late April and early May. They were curious events. The Treasury’s presentation to Congress has been adequately described many times, although no retelling has equaled reading the original transcript.”

Herbert Levy’s 2010 biography of Morgenthau Henry Morgenthau, Jr.: The Remarkable Life of FDR’s Secretary of the Treasury by Herbert Levy (Skyhorse Publishing, 2010) seems to indicate at least indirect support for West’s hypothesis regarding Morgenthau as the prime motivator behind the federal ban on hemp and marijuana that stills stands to this day.

To me, this is sheer madness. Hemp (and all its byproducts) has the potential to be the biggest driver of a boom economy we’ve seen in this country in decades, if not centuries. Every aspect of its versatility is far superior to the corresponding alternatives were using now. Industrialized, together, — hemp and its intoxicating cousin marijuana — could improve our lives in many, many ways, potentially creating millions of jobs as well.

And the life improvements also pertain to recreational use:


What a waste


Feds: California teen alleges captivity, sexual abuse on marijuana ‘farm’

By Natalia Perez-Segnini, CNN

updated 11:18 AM EDT, Wed July 31, 2013

What began as an investigation into a suspected marijuana-growing farm in Northern California has led to <a href='http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/30/justice/california-teen-slave'>allegations of a 15-year-old girl being held captive</a> in a coffinlike metal box and sexually abused. Authorities said the girl sometimes was held in a metal toolbox 4 feet long, 2 feet wide and 2 feet high at the farm, where she worked trimming marijuana plants, in Lake County, north of San Francisco. She told authorities that two men "put her in the box to 'teach' her because they had a 'point to prove,' " according to a criminal complaint.

(CNN) — Two Northern California men are due in federal court Wednesday in what began as another big pot-growing drug bust but what has become a horrifying story of one teenager’s alleged torment, captivity and sexual abuse.

The criminal complaint against the two men — Ryan Balletto, 30, and Patrick Pearmain, 24 — outlines the allegations of a 15-year-old girl’s ordeal of being held in a coffin-like box for hours on end at a marijuana-growing "farm" where she worked trimming plants.

Balletto and Pearmain were criminally charged in federal court earlier this month — and are in custody without bail — with conspiracy to manufacture and distribute more than 1,000 marijuana plants and with using a minor in a drug operation. Additionally Pearmain faces state charges of kidnapping to commit robbery or rape and unlawful sex with a minor. Balletto faces state charges of lewd and lascivious acts with a child.

Efforts Tuesday to reach attorneys for the two men were not successful.

The girl sometimes was held in a metal toolbox 4 feet long, 2 feet wide and 2 feet high, authorities said. According to the criminal complaint, she told authorities that the men "put her in the box to ‘teach’ her because they had a ‘point to prove.’"

The girl referred to the marijuana operation as a "mission" and said the men locked her in the box to protect the operation, according to the complaint.

"Specifically, they did not want (the girl) to ‘ruin the mission’ or ‘go off and say something about the mission,’" the complaint stated.

Abused but alive

The box was hoisted at an angle to allow a hose to be inserted "to wash her off and rinse human waste from the inside of the box without letting her out," the complaint said.

Federal authorities declined to comment Tuesday on the whereabouts or current condition of the girl.

But a psychologist who had read about the case told CNN that he was shocked by the details and that he believes the girl will suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

"She is no different from, say, a POW … She was in a box. She’s going to need a lot of therapeutic treatment," said California-based clinical psychologist Mark Burdick, who is not involved in the case.

"This is obviously a very traumatic situation for her…It is cruel, cruel and unusual punishment for a 15-year-old girl, and she will undoubtedly need a structured therapeutic environment for what could be years," Burdick said.

According to the criminal complaint, federal agents began a suspected narcotics investigation in late 2011, and Balletto was one of the individuals suspected. Last August, agents identified land that he had bought in Lake County, California, north of San Francisco.

During a surveillance flyover of that land in April, a Lake County detective spotted two greenhouses that appeared to be full of marijuana plants.

Meanwhile, also in April, the Los Angeles Police Department "requested urgent assistance of the Lake County Sheriff’s Department regarding a missing juvenile from the Los Angeles area," the complaint stated.

The minor was traced from a cell phone call to a hotel in Sacramento, where she was found with Pearmain on April 30, the complaint said. He was immediately taken into custody, and the girl was placed in protective custody.

Authorities said they also found a black notebook in Pearmain’s possession with a script apparently for the girl to read from if confronted by police.

Balletto was taken into custody on May 1 when he was found in a trailer on the property that had been under surveillance.

According to the complaint, the minor said she worked for Balletto by trimming the marijuana plants on what she referred to as the "farm."

The girl then went on to describe an ordeal of being held in the box twice "for a total of approximately three days," according to the complaint. She said both men "engaged in multiple sex acts with her," and Balletto "told her she was a ‘trooper’ because she didn’t scream in the box," the complaint said.

"A poem signed by (the girl) found in Balletto’s trailer described her life as being locked inside a box with holes in it," the complaint added.

At the property, authorities found the two greenhouses with 970 individually potted and irrigated marijuana plants, according to the complaint. Authorities later found a third greenhouse with an additional 346 plants.

Authorities also uncovered a stash of weapons including, assault rifles, pistols, shotguns, loaded magazines, night-vision scopes, ballistic face masks and gas masks, body armor and a large cache of assorted ammunition, according to the complaint.

The Northern District of California U.S. attorney’s office said a search of Balletto’s residence uncovered even more weapons, including several sniper rifles and additional assault rifles.

Lake County Sheriff’s Department Lt. Chris Chwialkowski said the stash was one of the largest collection of weapons seized in his department’s history.

Tatum King, acting special agent in charge of investigations for the Homeland Security office in San Francisco, which mounted the federal narcotics investigation, said, "The criminal groups involved in growing and trafficking marijuana have repeatedly shown they have no qualms about using violence and intimidation against those who get in their way.

"In this case the alleged victim was only 15 years old."


Daniel Chong, forgotten in DEA cell, settles suit for $4.1 million

By Stan Wilson, CNN

updated 3:11 PM EDT, Wed July 31, 2013

San Diego (CNN) — A University of California San Diego student left unmonitored in a holding cell for five days by the Drug Enforcement Administration has settled a lawsuit for $4.1 million, his attorney said.

"This was a mistake of unbelievable and unimaginable proportions," attorney Julia Yoo said on Tuesday.

Daniel Chong, 25, drank his own urine to survive and even wrote a farewell note to his mother before authorities discovered him severely dehydrated after a 2012 drug raid in San Diego.

He was held in a 5-by-10-foot cell with no windows but a peephole through the door. It had thick concrete walls and was situated in a narrow hallway with four other cells, isolated from the rest of the DEA facility, said Eugene Iredale, another of Chong’s attorneys.

There was no toilet, only a metal bench on which he stood in a futile attempt to set off the sprinkler system with his cuffed hands, Chong told CNN affiliate KSWB.

He kicked the door and yelled, anything to get someone’s attention, the station reported.

"I was screaming. I was completely insane," he told KWSB.

One matter still unclear is why no one heard him. Chong told the San Diego Union-Tribune last year that he heard footsteps, muffled voices and the opening and closing of cell doors, even from the cell adjacent to his. Yet no one responded to the ruckus coming from inside his cell.

Chong was detained on the morning of April 21, 2012, when DEA agents raided a house they suspected was being used to distribute MDMA, commonly known as "ecstasy."

A multiagency narcotics task force, including state agents, detained nine people and seized about 18,000 ecstasy pills, marijuana, prescription medications, hallucinogenic mushrooms, several guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition from the house, according to the DEA.

It wasn’t until the afternoon of Wednesday, April 25, that an agent opened the steel door to Chong’s cell and found the handcuffed student, Iredale said last year.

Student drank urine to survive DEA cell

2012: Student feared death, dehydration

Upon his release, Mr. Chong told CNN affiliate KNSD that he was visiting a friend and knew nothing about the presence of drugs and guns. He was never formally arrested or charged, the DEA said.

While detained, Chong had given up and accepted death, using a shard of glass from his glasses to carve "Sorry Mom" onto his arm as a farewell message, Yoo said. Chong lost 15 pounds and suffered from severe post-traumatic stress disorder, she said.

"He’s the strongest person I have ever met," Yoo said. "As a result of his case, it’s one of the primary reasons the DEA placed a nationwide policy that calls on each agent at satellite offices to check on the well-being of prisoners in their cells on a daily basis," Yoo said.

A DEA spokeswoman declined to comment extensively about the settlement and told CNN that a review of DEA procedures was conducted and submitted to the inspector general’s office at the Department of Justice. She also referred CNN to a previous statement.

"I am deeply troubled by the incident that occurred here," said DEA San Diego Special Agent in Charge William R. Sherman shortly after the incident. "I extend my deepest apologies to the young man and want to express that this event is not indicative of the high standards that I hold my employees to."

Since the incident, Chong has returned to complete his undergraduate degree at UC San Diego, Yoo said. "He changed his major from engineering to economics and wants to finish school, pursue his career and help take care of his mother."


Bomb risk awaits bidders on New Hampshire tax militants’ land

Tax Militants Auction660.jpg

CONORD, N.H. –  Federal officials preparing to sell the New Hampshire compound of a tax-evading couple convicted of amassing an arsenal of weapons can’t guarantee that explosives and other booby traps aren’t hidden on the 103-acre spread.

In fact, they will openly warn bidders that land mines might be planted throughout Ed and Elaine Brown’s bucolic property in the small town of Plainfield. And they say prospective buyers won’t be allowed on the grounds until they submit a winning bid that frees the government of liability for dismemberment or death.

"It’s going to be a very interesting sale," said Chief U.S. Deputy Marshal Brenda Mikelson, who’s in charge of the auction.

The Browns, who do not recognize the federal government’s authority to tax its citizens, were in a nine-month standoff with authorities in 2007 after they were sentenced to five years in prison for tax evasion. U.S. marshals posing as supporters arrested them peacefully.

They were convicted in 2009 of amassing weapons, explosives and booby traps and of plotting to kill federal agents who came to arrest them.

Ed and Elaine Brown, now in their 70s, are serving sentences of 37 and 35 years respectively.

Mikelson said she has contacted numerous federal agencies that have explosive detection equipment and dogs, and none could ensure a clean sweep of the property, which is set back from the road and includes acres of storm-damaged trees and other natural debris.

"With the size of the property, there’s no way to search it and have any guarantees," Mikelson said.

However, the hilltop house and the grounds up to the tree line have been searched extensively and are deemed free of improvised explosive devices and other booby traps, Mikelson said.

Federal marshals say they are still hammering out the language of the disclaimer and the auction won’t take place before September.

Also being auctioned is Elaine Brown’s dental office in West Lebanon in the heart of the retail hub of New Hampshire’s Upper Valley region.

That commercial property has its own set of complications involving the disposal of patient records to protect their privacy, but it isn’t considered potentially dangerous.

By federal court order, the properties must be sold as is. Minimum bid for the Plainfield compound is $250,000, while the Lebanon office must sell for at least $507,500.

The court has ruled that the Browns and any heirs have no claims to the properties or any assets from their sale.

While the Browns kept federal marshals at bay, they welcomed a parade of anti-tax and anti-government supporters including Randy Weaver, whose wife and son were killed along with a deputy U.S. marshal in a 1992 shootout on Weaver’s property in Ruby Ridge, Idaho.

Mikelson cited those sympathizers as another reason not to open the property to bidders and gawkers.

"They had a lot of supporters," Mikelson. "We’re trying to maintain safety for all."

If the properties sell, the first entities to be paid would be the municipalities of Plainfield and Lebanon, which are owed back property taxes.

Attorney Shawn Tanguay, who represents Lebanon, said that the city as of mid-July was owed roughly $211,500 in taxes, interest and penalties. Plainfield tax collector Michelle Marsh says the town is owed $152,550 on the Browns’ property there.

"We’re all sort of waiting with bated breath to get this settled," Tanguay said.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/07/20/bomb-risk-awaits-bidders-on-new-hampshire-tax-militants-land/#ixzz2ZcTQlBgl

Incarceration of HI marijuana minister at odds with Sixth Amendment, his supporters say


By Malia Zimmerman | Watchdog.org

HONOLULU – An Hawaii Island minister in jail for three years on drug charges is treated more like a terrorist than a free-spirited minister whose religious beliefs include the cultivation and use of marijuana, some lawmakers and civil rights advocates say.

The minister, Roger Christie, is being held in Honolulu’s Federal Detention Center, without bail and, as of yet, without a trial.

Roger, his wife, Share Christie, and 12 others — the “Green 14” — in 2010 were charged with the sale and possession of cannabis, but only Roger Christie has been held at the jail since July 8, 2010. The others were either released on bail or are cooperating with authorities.

Christie’s 1,095-day incarceration has been costly to taxpayers, who have paid $116 per day — or $127,020 in hall — to keep him jailed.

The case has captured the attention of Hawaii lawmakers, drug legalization advocates, local Libertarians, Republicans, Democrats and civil rights advocates.

“The government is trying to put us at a distinct disadvantage denying me bail and bond and making me into a ‘political prisoner’ even though I have a clean criminal record,” Roger told Watchdog.org in an email.

Federal prosecutors deemed Christie, a state licensed and ordained minister who openly distributed marijuana as a part of his THC Ministry in Hilo, “a danger to the community.”

Prosecutors persuaded a magistrate judge and three judges on the U.S. District Court, as well as three panels for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, that the 64-year-old pacifist is dangerous because he’ll likely resume marijuana sales if released on bail.

In federal court papers, the government claims Christie operated a $1 million network, selling one-half pound of cannabis to 60 to 70 customers each day for a “donation” of the approximate street value, $400 per ounce.

The government seized nearly 2,300 marijuana plants, 33 pounds of marijuana, $55,000, nine weapons and four properties, court papers show.

Both sides blame the other for legal delays that have kept Christie behind bars.

The simple act of scheduling an in-person interview with Roger Christie has been difficult.

Numerous requests for the interview from Watchdog.org to the U.S. attorney’s office have been ignored since first submitted March 5. Tom Blumm, the assistant warden, denied access to Christie unless the U.S. attorney’s office grants permission first. According to the Christies’, no other media requests have been granted, including requests from National Geographic and Newsweek.

In fact, Christie has not been allowed to see visitors, with the exception of his attorney, Thomas Otake, and two state senators — Will Espero and Russell Ruderman — who serve on the Senate Public Safety Committee. Share said she was banned from the facility about a year ago, and the warden, David Shinn, has failed to respond to numerous written requests from Share Christie asking to see her husband.

Sens. Will Espero and Russell Ruderman at the federal prison where Roger Christie is being held.

“The government is using unfair tactics on both of us — a process of trying to wear us down by denial of even the normal rights that prisoners have. Without the ability to visit my husband, it’s as if I have been in prison as well for three years as he has,” said Share, who married Roger while he was in prison after dating him for many years prior.

Sens. Russell Ruderman, a Democrat from Hawaii Island, and Sam Slom, the Senate Republican Minority Leader, introduced separate resolutions asking the federal government to release Christie on bail pending trial.

Senate Resolution 42 and Senate Concurrent Resolution 75 were heard March 21. Hundreds of people came out to testify in support of Christie’s release.

Ruderman, who has known Roger Christie for 25 years, said, ” He is one of the most peaceful persons I know. To anyone who knows him, the claim that he is a danger to the community is absurd.”

Ruderman said while the charges against Roger Christie are federal, holding a defendant without bail while denying the constitutional right to a speedy trial is virtually unheard of in Hawaii. He said even people accused of serious crimes, such as large-scale drug dealers and violent criminals, are routinely released on bail pending trial.

Espero, who chairs the safety committee, said after a meeting with Christie: “I still feel that Mr. Christie should be released pending a trial.”

The Hawaii Democratic Party  backed Christie in a 2012 resolution, and former Republican Sen. John Carroll and former Hawaii Island Mayor Harry Kim have supported him.

Tracy Ryan, vice chair of the Hawaii Libertarian Party, said Roger Christie poses no danger to the community.

“In 2008, voters of Hawaii County, where the THC Ministry operates, spoke clearly to this very issue. They passed a county resolution making marijuana the lowest priority of law enforcement. Clearly the ‘community’ does not agree that Reverend Christie poses any danger. If the people of the community do not consider the activity to be dangerous and the prosecution offers no evidence whatsoever as to its danger other than to say ‘it is illegal,’ no one is safe,” Ryan said.

Hawaii Senate Resolution 12 asked President Obama to “initiate a formal investigation into the conduct of federal law enforcement personnel in regard to the violation of the constitutional rights of Hawaii County Resident, the Reverend Roger Christie,” but the resolution never received a hearing.

Senate Judiciary and Labor Chair Clayton Hee ultimately decided to kill the measure, although it had already passed the Senate Public Safety Committee and received support from his colleagues and the public.

Challenging the Political System

Roger Christie was born in Colorado and raised in New Jersey. After graduating with a degree from a two-year college and obtaining a commercial pilot’s certificate, he went on to careers in the military, in business and in the religious community.

He enlisted in the Army in 1970 and trained as an intelligence analyst but refused orders to deploy to Vietnam and was discharged honorably as a conscientious objector.

In 1991, just five years after he moved to Hawaii, Roger Christie launched one of the world’s first hemp retail outfits, Hawaiian Hemp Co.. But the company was accused of importing 25 pounds of hemp seeds that law enforcement called “active,” which led to marijuana charges. He and his partners, Aaron Anderson and Dwight Kondo, were never convicted.

An ordained minister for the Religion of Jesus Church, a division of the Universal Life Church, Christie founded his own THC Ministry, also known as the Hawaii Cannabis Ministry. The group believes is a “gift from God” and should be used as a part of religious services. The ministry’s web site stated: “We use Cannabis religiously and you can, too.”

Roger Christie ran for mayor in 2004 on a platform of legalizing marijuana garnering 3.3 percent of the vote.

The state Department of Health granted Christie license number 00-313, which allowed him to perform marriages as a “cannabis sacrament” minister.

He ran for mayor in 2004 on a platform of legalizing marijuana, getting 3.3 percent of the vote. Share Christie ran for mayor in 2012 on the same platform and received 1.2 percent of the vote.

“We were always open and public about what our ministry did,” Share Christie said on their websites and You Tube, noting the government spent an enormous amount of money to discover facts they openly proclaimed at the Hawaii Island County Council. 

“We thought we had federal immunity from prosecution due to Roger’s sincerity and the legitimacy of his ordainment and unique state license as a ‘cannabis sacrament’ minister,” she said.

“All the local and state cops left him and us alone and even said we were all good with them,” Roger Christie said.

“I’m sure our founding fathers, who grew Cannabis hemp, would be appalled at how we have treated what they fought for,” Share Christie said.

Roger said marijuana prohibition is a “modern-day witch-hunt,” and the Christies hope their case will be the “last marijuana trial” in U.S. history.

Christie’s next hearing in federal court is scheduled for 10:30 a.m.  July 29, and his attorney plans to argue a religious defense motion.

Federal prosecutors did not respond to multiple media inquiries for this story.

The Christies, if convicted, face between five and 40 years in prison. They’ve started a website and a Facebook page in their defense.

The Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Postal Inspector, U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, and U.S. Attorney have spent millions of dollars more on its two-year investigation and prosecution of the ministry’s network, the Christies’ estimate.

Reach Malia Zimmerman at Malia@hawaiireporter.com

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Malia Zimmerman


Uphold the Third Amendment


Glenn Harlan Reynolds 2:14 p.m. EDT July 7, 2013

It’s our right as American citizens to have privacy in our own homes.



Everyone has heard of the Bill of Rights. The First Amendment gets a lot of discussion, and so does the Second. On Independence Day this year, many people rallied in support of the Fourth Amendment in response to the National Security Agency spying scandal.

Several government officials — like embattled IRS official Lois Lerner — lately seem particularly enamored of the Fifth Amendment’s right not to testify. But how many Americans could even tell you what the Third Amendment protects?

Even among those who could, many would consider it a bit of a joke. But they just may be wrong about that. The Third Amendment may be coming into its own. It provides: "No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law."

I often tell my constitutional law students that the Third Amendment is the only part of the Bill of Rights that really works — because there are almost no cases of troop-quartering. If only the rest of the Bill of Rights were so effective.

In an article published in the William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal last year, however, Prof. Tom W. Bell points out that such violations, while perhaps rare, are not unknown. In 1942, for example, inhabitants of the Aleutian Islands were forced out of their homes, and in some cases troops were actually quartered there, but it took the federal government decades to admit wrongdoing or pay damages.

Likewise, in a 1982 case in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, prison guards evicted from their quarters and replaced with National Guard troops during a strike sued, and the Court of Appeals found that this action implicated their rights under the Third Amendment, which it characterized as "designed to assure a fundamental right of privacy."

Now we see another Third Amendment case, from Henderson, Nev., in which the plaintiffs, the Mitchell family, claim that Henderson police seized their home — battering the door open with a battering ram — so as to secure an advantageous position in addressing a domestic violence report involving a neighboring house. The police were quite rude — calling the inhabitants "assholes" and shooting both Anthony Mitchell and his dog with a pepper-ball gun — before setting up a lookout post in the house.

Should the Third Amendment have something to say about this? Well, it speaks only to "troops," not police — but then, professional police in the modern sense hadn’t been invented at the time of the framing. And given the extreme militarization of police nowadays — with Nomex coveralls, body armor, AR-15 rifles, grenades, armored vehicles, etc., all documented in Radley Balko’s new book, The Rise of the Warrior Cop, — maybe that’s a distinction without a difference anyway. Armed minions of the state seizing your home by force seem close enough to "troops" for me.

Personally, I think we need to return to the sense of one’s home as a castle, a "fundamental right of privacy" that the Third Amendment was intended to protect. Police, except in those rather rare cases where they reasonably think someone inside is being held hostage or the like, should have to knock politely at the door and — unless they have a warrant — should have to depart if the homeowner doesn’t want them to come in. Those who violate this rule should be prosecuted as criminals, and opened up to lawsuits without benefit of official immunity.

Some may protest that this rule will make it harder to go after drug dealers and such, who may flush their drugs away before police can get in. To which I respond, tough. Protecting Americans’ homes from invasions by armed hooligans is more important than protecting prosecutions under the drug war. One would think, in fact, that preventing such invasions is the first duty of police. It’s unfortunate that so many in law enforcement seem to have forgotten that.

Glenn Harlan Reynolds is professor of law at the University of Tennessee. He blogs at InstaPundit.com.

In addition to its own editorials, USA TODAY publishes diverse opinions from outside writers, including our Board of Contributors.


Hemp flag to fly high over Capitol building

By Emily Heil E-mail the writer

In a screenshot from the farm bill debate Rep. Jared Polis holds the hemp flag. (Courtesy C-SPAN) The flag flying over the Capitol building on the Fourth of July might look like your typical Old Glory. But you probably won’t notice the fibers that make it special. It’s believed to be the first hemp flag to flutter over the dome since the government began outlawing marijuana’s less-recreational cousin back in the 1930s.

Colorado hemp advocate Michael Bowman is the man responsible for getting the flag, made from Colorado-raised hemp and screen-printed with the stars and stripes, up there.

He cooked up the idea while lobbying Congress this year to include pro-hemp measures in the farm bill. That legislation failed, of course, but the seed of the hemp flag had been planted.

Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) gave Bowman an assist with the details, which included working with the Capitol’s flag office. (The flag program allows people to buy flags flown over the Capitol, so they rotate in new Old Glories nearly every day.)

“It’s a powerful symbol,” Bowman says, adding that the red, white and blue flying over the Capitol is a reminder of the role that hemp played in the founding and early days of the country. Betsy Ross’s flag was made of hemp, he notes, and Colonial settlers even paid their taxes in the crop — it was used for all kinds of goods, from rope to fabric to paper. Those Conestoga wagons heading west were covered in canvas fashioned from hemp fibers.

So, he thought having it fly on America’s birthday seemed pretty appropriate.

After its Capitol flight, the flag will make its way back to Colorado, where it will fly over the state capitol building in Denver. After that, Bowman is sending it out on a tour of state houses in states where there’s legislation pending that would legalize hemp. One of the first up: Vermont.

And while advocates are quick to point out that hemp lacks the THC content beloved by stoners, this will still be one high-flying flag.

By Emily Heil  |  10:03 AM ET, 07/02/2013


Redacted FBI Documents Show Plot to Kill Occupy Leaders If ‘Deemed Necessary’

Posted on Jun 29, 2013


tsuihin – TimoStudios (CC BY-SA 2.0)

“Did the FBI ignore, or even abet, a plot to assassinate Occupy Houston leaders?” asks investigative reporter Dave Lindorff at WhoWhatWhy. “What did the Feds know? Whom did they warn? And what did the Houston Police know?”

A Freedom of Information Act request filed by the Washington, D.C.-based Partnership for Civil Justice Fund yielded an FBI document containing knowledge of a plot by an unnamed group or individual to kill “leaders” of the Houston chapter of the nonviolent Occupy Wall Street movement.

Here’s what the document said, according to WhoWhatWhy:

An identified [DELETED] as of October planned to engage in sniper attacks against protestors (sic) in Houston, Texas if deemed necessary. An identified [DELETED] had received intelligence that indicated the protesters in New York and Seattle planned similar protests in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin, Texas. [DELETED] planned to gather intelligence against the leaders of the protest groups and obtain photographs, then formulate a plan to kill the leadership via suppressed sniper rifles. (Note: protests continued throughout the weekend with approximately 6000 persons in NYC. ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protests have spread to about half of all states in the US, over a dozen European and Asian cities, including protests in Cleveland (10/6-8/11) at Willard Park which was initially attended by hundreds of protesters.)

Paul Kennedy of the National Lawyers Guild in Houston and an attorney for a number of Occupy Houston activists arrested during the protests said he did not hear of the sniper plot and expressed discontent with the FBI’s failure to share knowledge of the plan with the public. He believed that the bureau would have acted if a “right-wing group” plotted the assassinations, implying that the plan could have originated with law enforcement.

“[I]f it is something law enforcement was planning,” Kennedy said, “then nothing would have been done. It might seem hard to believe that a law enforcement agency would do such a thing, but I wouldn’t put it past them.”

He added that the phrase “if deemed necessary,” which appeared in the bureau’s report, further suggests the possibility that some kind of official organization was involved in the plan.

Texas law officials have a history of extreme and inappropriate violence. “Last October,” Lindorff writes, “a border patrol officer with the Texas Department of Public Safety, riding in a helicopter, used a sniper rifle to fire at a fast-moving pickup truck carrying nine illegal immigrants into the state from Mexico, killing two and wounding a third, and causing the vehicle to crash and overturn.”

Kennedy has seen law enforcement forces attempt to secretly entrap Occupy activists and disrupt their activities in the city. He represented seven people who were charged with felonies stemming from a protest whose organizing group had been infiltrated by undercover officers from the Austin Police department. The felony charges were dropped when police involvement with a crucial part of that action was discovered.

A second document obtained in the same FOIA request suggested the assassination plans might be on the plotters’ back burner in case Occupy re-emerges in the area.

When WhoWhatWhy sent an inquiry to FBI headquarters in Washington, officials confirmed that the first document is genuine and that it originated in the Houston FBI office. Asked why solid evidence of a plot never led to exposure of the perpetrators’ identity or arrest, Paul Bresson, head of the FBI media office, deflected the question. According to WHoWhatWhy, he said:

The FOIA documents that you reference are redacted in several places pursuant to FOIA and privacy laws that govern the release of such information so therefore I am unable to help fill in the blanks that you are seeking. Exemptions are cited in each place where a redaction is made. As far as the question about the murder plot, I am unable to comment further, but rest assured if the FBI was aware of credible and specific information involving a murder plot, law enforcement would have responded with appropriate action.

Lindorff wants us to note that “the privacy being ‘protected’ in this instance (by a government that we now know has so little respect for our privacy) was of someone or some organization that was actively contemplating violating other people’s Constitutional rights—by murdering them.” He says “[t]hat should leave us less than confident about Bresson’s assertion that law enforcement would have responded appropriately to a ‘credible’ threat.”

When the Houston Police department was asked about its knowledge of the plot, public affairs officer Keith Smith said it “hadn’t heard about it” and directed future questions to the Houston FBI office.

The obvious question to ask in attempting to determine the identities of the planners is this: Who has sniper training? A number of Texas law enforcement organizations received special training from Dallas-based mercenary company Craft International, which has a contract for training services with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The company was founded by a celebrated Army sniper who was killed by a combat veteran he accompanied to a shooting range.

Remington Alessi, an Occupy Houston activist who played a prominent role in the protests and hails from a law enforcement family, agrees with attorney Kennedy that the plot likely did not originate with a right-wing group. “If it had been that, the FBI would have acted on it,” he said. “I believe the sniper attack was one strategy being discussed for dealing with the occupation.”

The grotesque irony here, Lindoff writes, is that “while the Occupy Movement was actually peaceful, the FBI, at best, was simply standing aside while some organization plotted to assassinate the movement’s prominent activists.”

Lindorff concludes: “The FBI’s stonewalling response to inquiries about this story, and the agency’s evident failure to take any action regarding a known deadly threat to Occupy protesters in Houston, will likely make protesters at future demonstrations look differently at the sniper-rifle equipped law-enforcement personnel often seen on rooftops during such events. What are they there for? Who are the threats they are looking for and potentially targeting? Who are they protecting? And are they using ‘suppressed’ sniper rifles? Would this indicate they have no plans to take responsibility for any shots silently fired? Or that they plan to frame someone else?”

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

Editor’s note: A paragraph reporting the killing of undocumented immigrants by Texas border patrol officers in October 2012 was added after the initial publication of this piece.