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Capital Hemp to Shut down Stores in DC

Josh Davis’s Diatribe –

Earlier this year I wrote an article for the Huffington Post detailing the misleading affidavit by the DC’s Metropolitan Police Department concerning it’s use of the word Marijuana. Basically the officer who wrote the affidavit was confused by what Industrial Hemp was and referred to hemp and hemp fields as marijuana fields multiple times in the affidavit.  Here is the article – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/josh-davis/mpds-misleading-affidavit_b_1153681.html

The latest news concerning this case is that Adam Eidinger, owner of Capital Hemp has been forced to shut down his two stores as of August 2012 for selling water-pipes that can be used to smoke marijuana.

As an strong advocate of the legalization of  industrial hemp farming in the US, I have consciously decided to stay out of the marijuana fight. I believe that when talking about hemp it is very important to make sure your audience is aware that industrial hemp and marijuana are two different plants. I believe that many out there would like nothing more than to never hear the word hemp again and wish by some grace of God or nature or whatever, that hemp actually had high amounts of THC so they could justify their prohibition of this plant for our farmers. Alas they can not. The only thing the ignorant powers that be can do is pretend that hemp is dangerous and could lead to people confusing it with marijuana. As I detailed in my article many law enforcement officials as well as the DEA and the White House continue to further the belief that industrial hemp is a drug and should it become legal for farmers to grow it would reek havoc on their ability to fight the marijuana “problem”.

To put it bluntly this just get in my craw, it bothers me, it pisses me off to no end. I say we must end this ignorance once and for all. If we are not willing to fight for it’s legalization than we do not deserve to reap the benefits of industrial hemp.

So Eidinger has to close his stores because he sold water-pipes in a separate room that could be used for smoking marijuana. These pipes were proven to be drug paraphernalia because he also sold DVD’s and books on how to grow marijuana. In a court of law in DC one needs to prove the pipes were being sold for their use with marijuana.

I have been in the Adam’s Morgan store and when I saw the pipes I thought, “Oh, nice bongs.” In fact I even said this out loud when the girl at the counter corrected me and said, “No we don’t sell bongs we sell water-pipes.” Ironically this is pretty much what the undercover DC Police Officer experienced when he was visiting the same store.  Although where he probably thought, “Oh you guys are going to jail!!”  I thought, “I wish I could afford a nice bong like this.”

Doesn’t everyone who has ever seen a water-pipe or bong say think the same thing?

So they were selling water-pipes for whatever use the buyer wanted… I don’t see the harm in that.

When I found out that police were cracking down on this in DC every ounce of my being was thinking “who cares” Seriously – who really cares?! Do they think by shutting down a business like this that people who use marijuana are going to stop? Is shutting down a tax paying business in DC somehow going to lessen crime?

It is my opinion and not that of hemp.com that the MPDC and the court/prosecuter that ordered this shutdown is sorely and mistakenly just plain foolish. You are fools! And more over you are bully’s! There, I said it. You are wasting tax payers money by concentrating on nothing more than a red herring. Way to go MPDC and it’s sister court… way to go.

I am often asked, ” Do you want industrial hemp to be legalized for farmers to grow because in truth you really want marijuana to be legalized?” My answer is and will always be –  one has nothing to do with the other. They are two separate plants used and grown for totally different uses. This is my stance as the editor of hemp.com. and as a normal everyday American.

However, my honest feeling about both plants is they should be legalized. American farmers should be able to grow industrial hemp and marijuana should be legalized, regulated and taxed – just like cigarettes and alcohol. I hate putting marijuana in the same category as cigarettes and alcohol because anyone who has studied marijuana knows that it does indeed have medicinal health benefits and is not nearly as bad for your health as cigarettes and alcohol can be, but that is the world we live in.

Industrial hemp, as I so often advocate can be used for 1000’s of industrial and commercial purposes, not to mention it can help clean our soils of heavy metals and our air of carbon dioxide and other stuff that in large quantities can be bad for the environment. Marijuana is a drug  and can be used for medicinal as well as recreational purposes.

 

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Months after being raided by D.C. police for allegedly selling drug paraphernalia, Capitol Hemp will close the doors on its two D.C. locations in August.

At a court hearing this morning, Capitol Hemp co-owner Adam Eidinger agreed to a Deferred Prosecution Agreement that requires that he close the doors on the store’s flagship location in Adams Morgan and one in Chinatown over the next four months. In exchange, any prosecution for the attempted sale of drug paraphernalia will be put off.

The store’s two locations were raided in October, but Eidinger and co-owner Alan Amsterdam were not charged until December. Since then, they had gone back and forth with prosecutors over what charges they could face and what the impact on the stores would be.

Eidinger told us that he made the best of what was a difficult situation. During the October raids, police seized over $300,000 worth of merchandise, which he has been trying to get back. Had he gone to trial and lost, he wouldn’t have been able to recover any of it, which included highly prized artisinal water pipes. Under the terms of the deal, Eidinger will get the seized merchandise back within 48 hours, after which they’ll try to return as much as possible to vendors and distributors. “At least we can get our equity out,” he said.

The October raids—which included two other Adams Morgan businesses—centered around the city’s sometimes vague drug paraphernalia laws. Selling water pipes isn’t illegal in and of itself, but if police can prove that the seller knows that the buyer will be using them for illegal drugs, the sale itself becomes unlawful. A police affidavit justifying the raids argued that books, DVDs and images of marijuana farms served as evidence enough that the water pipes would be used as bongs. (A California-based hydroponics store that opened locally last week had to scale back what it could sell and say to avoid running afoul of D.C. law.)

Eidinger, a well-known local activist, opened Capitol Hemp in 2008. Beyond the pipes, which were kept in a separate section of the store and included disclaimers that they were only to be used for legal purposes, Eidinger and Amsterdam sold loose-leaf tobacco, hemp products and organic favorites like Dr. Bronner’s soaps. Eidinger was also involved in the D.C. Patients’ Cooperative, a non-profit that wanted in on the city’s medical marijuana program but decided against it after they were told they’d have to sign waivers attesting to the fact that marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

Eidinger said that the outcome “speaks to the general insensitivity to people in the community that are friendly to cannabis.”

http://dcist.com/2012/04/as_part_of_plea_deal_capitol_hemp_t.php

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