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Why We Donated $100,000 to Prop 19

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I am President and co-owner of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, a 60-year-old company founded by my German-Jewish grandfather, Emanuel Bronner in 1948. Our family and over 60 employees in California produce the best-selling natural brand of soap in the United States. We use certified organic and fair trade vegetable oils, including non-drug hemp seed oil to super-fat the soaps for smoother lather and moisturizing after-feel.

Dr. Bronner's caps executive compensation at 5 to 1 of the lowest paid position. Our commitment to fairness takes profits not needed for business development and debt payment and devotes them to various causes, including the Boys & Girls Club, Organic Consumers Association, Vote Hemp and the Fair World Project.

Dr. Bronner's buys 20 tons of hemp oil for our soaps from Canada annually. For nearly ten years the Bronner family has financially supported bringing back non-drug industrial hemp farming in the US as an environmentally sustainable crop that can be made into a wide variety of products including food, cosmetics, clothing, building materials and more.

I have decided to personally give a $75,000 donation to Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) for "Get Out the Vote" efforts to pass Prop 19 in California, the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010. Adam Eidinger and Alan Amsterdam, co-founders of Capitol Hemp Clothing and Accessories, have donated an additional $25,000 as well. Dr. Bronner's will also provide the company's promotional fire truck to "sound the alarm" on college campuses across California. We hope to mobilize younger voters who are the primary victims of the war on cannabis who know first-hand the lies of cannabis prohibition.

My decision to support Prop 19 also stems from experience with medical cannabis in the case of a close friend who used cannabis to get through chemotherapy and survive stage-IV Hepatitis C. Her local dispensary was raided and shut down by drug war zealots from the local DA's office. Since the proposition will make it easier for adults to have access to cannabis, citizens will enjoy improved access to a safe and effective medicine useful in treating a number of illnesses. As long ago as 1988, DEA's own Administrative Law Judge Francis Young concluded:

"In strict medical terms marijuana is far safer than many foods we commonly consume. For example, eating 10 raw potatoes can result in a toxic response. By comparison, it is physically impossible to eat enough marijuana to induce death. Marijuana in its natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. By any measure of rational analysis marijuana can be safely used within the supervised routine of medical care."

As usual in the long sordid history of cannabis prohibition, drug war hysteria trumped science and reason.

Business leaders should stand up and do the right thing, unlike hypocritical politicians who oppose Prop 19, yet admit they used marijuana but continue to support laws that they themselves broke. I want this donation to be a challenge to people who know that cannabis prohibition is a disfigurement of our democracy but have not contributed to Prop 19.

Business people know legalizing cannabis will decrease the massive waste of taxpayer money and the bloody violence across the border that threatens to spill into our streets, but they need to support Proposition 19 before it is too late. I'm calling up businesses like ours that I know are socially and environmentally conscious with a simple message, "Just Say Now, now is the time to step up support." Prop 19 will free up police for fighting real crimes and stop renegade cannabis cultivation by gangs that are destroying our national parks. Cannabis prohibition, not the herb itself, has been ruining productive and upstanding citizens' lives with courts and jails for decades.

As a successful business owner, father and soccer coach, I thank God for the gift of cannabis. Cannabis for me is a daily sacrament and communion that at the end of each day helps me get past my small petty self and find my moral center. At the next corporate picnic, listen to what Bob Marley is singing. Why should anyone so righteous be thrown in jail?

We are grateful that Richard Lee had the faith to put Prop 19 on the ballot with $1.5 million of his own money. He has given us all an unprecedented opportunity to make a difference this November - Yes we Cannabis!

For more information and to make a donation, go to www.YesOn19.com