Eidinger, who had a warrant out for his arrest, turned himself in recently to Metropolitan Police.
While the specifics of the case (the legality of selling water pipes in the District of Columbia) will have to be argued in court, there was a broader issue here that I would like to address.
In the affidavit Officer Brett Cuevas states, "On the main online web page 'Capitol Hemp' is written in a field of marijuana plants."
This statement is incorrect and goes to the crux of a larger issue that has continued to confuse law enforcement, governing agencies like the DEA, politicians and a majority of Americans.
If you visit the Capitol Hemp website you will see the logo displayed at the top, behind it is a huge field planted with, not marijuana but industrial hemp. The picture was actually taken in Gimli, Manitoba, at the Hemp Industries Association 2007 Conference.*
Under federal law U.S. farmers are prohibited from growing industrial hemp in the United States. Because of this most people don't know what industrial hemp is and how it is different from marijuana.
In the simplest explanation marijuana and hemp are like a chihuahua and a Great Dane -- both dogs, but very different dogs.
Industrial hemp is a commodity crop that is planted like corn or wheat. It has extremely low levels of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol -- the active drug in marijuana). It is grown in over 30 industrialized countries including Canada, China, the European Union, India, Romania, Uruguay, and Australia, however it is considered a controlled substance by the DEA because of its relationship to marijuana.
The THC content (the active drug in marijuana) of industrial hemp is roughly less than 1% and typically 0.1% for industrial grade hemp grown in Canada and China from where we import the majority of hemp products. Food products made with hemp have 10ppm (parts per million) or 0.001%. Marijuana plants typically have 15-30% THC.
The joke goes you would have to smoke a joint the size of a telephone pole to get high from industrial hemp. Not easy to hide in your pocket.
Needless to say the THC content in hemp makes it useless as a drug.
Hemp has been referred to as a wonder crop because the entire plant can be processed and utilized. Not only does it produce a superior fibre that is three times stronger than cotton, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, UV-resistant and quick drying, but it can be converted into thermally insulated construction materials, paper, skin care products, animal bedding, plastics, composites and the seeds are high in Omega -3,6 & 9 and contain a highly digestible protein.
Still, it's correct that it has been illegal to grow industrial hemp since Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, which makes no distinction between industrial hemp and marijuana.
As a result, and somewhat ironically, today the United States is the largest importer of hemp products in the world. In 2009 the U.S. imported roughly $350 million dollars worth of hemp products and in 2010 that number approached $430 million and continues to rise.
*Anndrea Herman of Hemp Oil Canada confirms that this field is in Gimili, Manatoba.