The Soap Vote

July 25, 2012

A man I know was arrested last week after demonstrating in front of the white house, locked in a steel cage with 3 industrial hemp plants. David Bronner, maker of Bronner’s Magic Soap, the best soap ever, was trying to get the attention of the US government to allow US farmers to grow industrial hemp. Hemp, a wild weed when free to grow, is one of earths most useful and renewable resources. Hemp oil can be used for soap, which Bronner’s family has been magically producing for more than 100 years. Hemp seeds can also be eaten for an excellent source of protein. I eat it everyday in fact. And newsflash, it doesn’t get you high. It is merely a relative of Mary Jane, BUT, unfotunately is still considered the same plant by the US Government. Bronner was arrested for possession of 3 industrial hemp plants. So silly.


Brief history: during the industrial revolution, new synthetic fibers and fabrics such as nylon, along with oil and gas saw hemp as a fierce competitor. Since hemp can be broken down and used for paper, fabric, food and/or ethanol, a renewable bio-fuel, the oil and chemical companies along with paper moguls lobbied Washington to take hemp off the market, passing the blame onto Mary Jane, calling hemp a dangerous drug. And they succeeded.


That’s too bad say I. “Hemp is of first necessity to the wealth & protection of the country,” said Thomas Jefferson, U.S. President.


Alcohol was prohibited for a little while for similar reasons. Ethanol, often made of corn and distilled like moonshine by auto-racers, saw promise as a potential fuel leader in the US. Big Oil then lobbied to ban alcohol and moonshine in order to get auto makers hooked on gasoline made from crude oil. When the industry settled on oil, the alcohol ban was lifted, and people went back to being stupid in public as opposed to hiding in speakeasies.


Wouldn’t it be nice to grow our own fuel instead of drilling it out of the beautiful Gulf of Mexico, or kill for it in wars with other countries?


“Make the most you can of the Indian Hemp seed and sow it everywhere.” said George Washington, U.S. President & General.


Both Washington and Jefferson were cultivators of hemp. Once used for barter and trade, hemp in history is the reason our money is green.


But alas, we are somewhat stupid. In this now era, renewable resources like wind, solar, bio-fuel, and hemp are just plain bad for business. Sustainability in general is bad for business. Because if our products, houses and cars were actually meant to last, we’d spend less and money wouldn’t be the illusory key to survival.


I’m no economist, but if David Bronner could source his hemp in the United States instead of Canada, wouldn’t portions of his 50 million annual income be invested back into US farmers and farmland, boosting local economies and creating jobs?


But I get it. Balancing the books in today’s market is tricky. We have so many more cars, homes, products and needs than ever before. We’re a nation of material girls hooked on cable TV and Carl’s Jr. And giving us our energy independence would mean no more cable bill. In fact, with energy independence, we’d be free of paying utility bills altogether. We could charge our cars at home on our solar systems and not have to buy gasoline. Billions and billions less dollars would circulate, which would be problematic for the US, a country already in debt.


But what about the water? With gas and electric utilities cleaned up, we could put more jobs and money into water conservation programs, and maybe even less pollution! The way I see it, water is gold and we’re overlooking it, assuming the wells are gonna flow forever. I’ll gladly pay a steep water bill if I know my money is going to sustain life, whereas a gas and electric bill is really just sustaining our favorite TV shows.


This election year, the two leading parties’ positions on just about everything couldn’t be any more bi-partisan. In almost every category, their siding for or against it, loud and clear. For instance, If you’re for supporting the rights of gays, lesbians, and transgender citizens, vote democratic. If you think abortion should be ILLEGAL – vote Republican. If you think that Millionaires and Billionaires should pay more taxes – vote Democratic. If you think corporations should be able to spend as much as they want on candidates and elections . . . and NOT have to disclose where the money comes from – vote Republican. If you think guns should be less freely available, vote democratic. If you’re against universal healthcare, vote republican. If you’re green at heart and want to see more renewable energy sources, vote democratic. If you’re for big oil companies receiving about $4 Billion in subsidies, vote republican. If you’re for the legalization of industrial hemp & marijuana. Vote democratic. It’s never been easier to vote.


And do vote. The 2000 Presidential Election was decided by only 537 votes out of a country of 300 million. Proof that every vote counts.


Love your world. Love your country. Vote hemp. After all, the US constitution is written on hemp paper. So go Rock the Vote!

  • Avatar of RebeccaDelaine

    As a Kentuckian I couldn’t agree more with legalization of hemp! If you’ve ever traveled through eastern KY you’ve seen the poverty. At one time hemp was grown in KY and flourished. It’s a shame to see our government keep a plant illegal even though it be used for so many purposes and mainly to help poor families make an income and feed their children. Any educated person is aware that hemp and marijuana aren’t the same, but merely cousins and look similar when being grown. Also, marijuana is already the #1 export in Kentucky and it’s not even legal! Just imagaine how it could help KY’s economy if it was legal to grow.

    It makes me really sad to see our government not help the state that I love so much.

  • Avatar of K.T.
    K.T. said ...

    Thank you J to make a point. When I see a politician, don’t know why but it often connects me with what President Lincoln said, ” You can fool all the people some of time, and some of people all the time, but you can not fool all the people all the time. ” Yes, vote is necessary,but if people don’t vote consciously, the silence is a force to the sound.

  • Avatar of kaywynn
    kaywynn said ...

    i love it when you get political jason! unfortunately voting HAS become more difficult.

    the republican party has gotten voter suppression laws passed in several states, which have intentionally made it more difficult for the elderly, minorities, the poor and students to vote.

    any citizen without the need of a drivers license, will not be allowed to vote without a state issued photo id. this will greatly affect the elderly, minorities and poor/lower income Americans.

    college students, your student ID is not good enough. you must have a state issued photo ID. in some states, if your voter registration address and current residential address don’t match, you will also be disqualified. this affects all out-of-town/out-of-state students as well as every student who registered to vote while still living at home with mom and dad.

    it’s still not clear how the new laws will affect absentee voting. will the elderly and disabled who vote via mail-in ballot even be allowed to vote? how?

    please, EVERYONE, make sure you have the correct ID needed to vote. …and please, don’t be discouraged by the roadblocks; they’re proof, positive, of just how important your vote is and how much it is needed.

    thank you, jason, for speaking up! #ProudAmericanMrazFan

  • Avatar of shorekimmy
    shorekimmy said ...

    I read a news story on David Bronner at the white house, I didn’t know they arrested him, I hope it gets him the results he wants.

  • Avatar of rennes
    rennes said ...

    Dear Jason Mraz!
    My good friend is a huge fan of yours.
    His name is Kostia and currently he is staying in a hospital
    with a brain tumor. I wonder if you could made him a video response and support him!
    Please, I don’t know your email that’s why I’m writing here and on Twiter and everywhere I can. Please please please that would made him so happy!
    Here’s Kostia singing I’m Yours at my 18′s birthday

  • Avatar of Telluselle
    Telluselle said ...

    Make that figure 5,3 million Americans (the other number was currently incarerated) that are barred from voting.

  • Avatar of Telluselle
    Telluselle said ...

    Dearest Jason,
    I missed our wordplay online while I was incarcerated for 11 months at Honolulu Federal Detention Center ONLY because I am not an American citizen, yet still holds a valid visa. On this and the way the Law enforcement agencies of the US Government operates I have much to say which will be told in my new blog. Please come and read when you have time. Sometimes I would sing in my cell, aprt from doing yoga and praying and looking at the horizon in the window. That was how I kept my sanity.

    I became the first inmate ever to introduce, after much battle, sickness and debate, a Gluten-free diet thanks to Foodservice Supervisor – a gentleman named Joe Meraz. I thought that was funny in a good way.

    I learned that any American citizen who at any time has had a federal conviction, is forbidden to vote in your country for the rest of their lives. Is US than even a democracy? If some 250 000 Americans are not allowed to vote, paired with those who choose not to, are the elections even recognizable as valid?
    Me Ke Aloha,
    /Alexandra, currently in Sweden but not for long…

  • Avatar of Mr_d_caldwell
    Mr_d_caldwell said ...

    Please everyone could u take two mins and read my profile xx

  • Avatar of Rose
    Rose said ...

    I will vote for Hemp for SURE! It’s nuts!!!

    I just realized we are coming up on the 2 year anniversary of my Super Special Blog post from you…wouldnt you know I am feeling that overwhelmed PMSy feeling I was last time..and the kids are fighting only now they are way stronger and way louder! But….I went back to the rewritten version of my life and once again you made me feel better!

    Thanks Hon!

    Best of luck on the next tour leg!!

  • Avatar of normason
    normason said ...

    Do you know what happens when you develop a succulent fetish? Your acrylic nails fall off.

  • Avatar of gamachan
    gamachan said ...

    I agree.

  • Avatar of 4meclara
    4meclara said ...

    The people who live and walk in LOVE cherish and celebrate LIFE inside, as well as around them. This is how some think to Live High on the other side of the world…

  • Avatar of normason
    normason said ...

    I’m sorry that your friend was arrested, but if he was informed, he should have known to expect it.

    Reading your post reminded me of the minefield of special interests politicians have to tiptoe through in order to be elected. It must be extremely difficult to come out of a political campaign without one or two pieces of shrapnel in your gut, especially when those special interests have influential backers with deep pockets.

  • Avatar of mrazfan1031
    mrazfan1031 said ...

    Thanks Jason. This makes total sense. Thanks for putting this out there. Maybe more and more people will hear. The time to be earth friendly is long over due. I hope that we all take 2 steps in the right direction. Thanks for spreading the word in the right direction. Take care.
    Love & Peace & Hemp. xoxo, Linda

  • Avatar of audreyibz
    audreyibz said ...

    Here, in Spain, the situation is untenable. The new government is doing things that endanger all the rights that our fathers fought after leaving a horrible dictatorship that lasted 40 years. We stepped back in time.
    We live in a world where a pederast priest is not judged by their atrocities, but removes the right of a person to marry someone of the same sex, is not that sad?
    I read once that ordinary people doing small things can change the world and I think so.

  • Avatar of consuelo
    consuelo said ...

    I am the buyer for health & beauty aids in a store in the NW, and Dr. Bronner’s soaps are one of my favorites. I’ve trusted Rabbi Bronner’s products for over 30 years. Simple, clean, and a great value. Also, a friend from college now lives in Finland and has a hemp farm, producing excellent products. His website has a lot of information about this wonderful gift from nature, not to be confused with marijuana. More hemp is exported to the US than any other country. Why aren’t we growing it? Farmers in ND and VT are waiting for permission from the DEA to grow it. Thanks, Jason, for starting a dialogue.

  • Avatar of rmcarver26
    rmcarver26 said ...

    I totally agree with this! I’m pushing for this for all the above industrial reasons but also b/c of the medicinal values that cannabis possesses. I work in the health care industry and very closely with pain management patients. I see the effects of prescription narcotics everyday. They are zombied out and many have addictions that ruin their lives. Wouldn’t it be great to live pain free and remember it? Way to go Jason…and August 18th in Atlanta, can you be sure to please sing Unfold? It’s my favorite of favorites! (make sure you do the ‘bong bong bong’ part too! hahaha! kind of suits this blog!)