Hemp Fans Look Toward Lyster Dewey's Past
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Hemp Fans Look Toward Lyster Dewey's Past
Posted by CN Staff on May 13, 2010 at 04:54:04 PT
By Manuel Roig-Franzia, WP Staff Writer 
Source: Washington Post
Washington, D.C. -- Hemp needed a hero. Needed one bad.The gangly plant -- once a favorite of military ropemakers -- couldn't catch a break. Even as legalized medical marijuana has become more and more commonplace, the industrial hemp plant -- with its minuscule levels of the chemical that gives marijuana its kick -- has remained illegal to cultivate in the United States.
Enter the lost hemp diaries.Found recently at a garage sale outside Buffalo but never publicly released, these journals chronicle the life of Lyster H. Dewey, a botanist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture whose long career straddled the 19th and 20th centuries. Dewey writes painstakingly about growing exotically named varieties of hemp -- Keijo, Chinamington and others -- on a tract of government land known as Arlington Farms. In effect, he was tending Uncle Sam's hemp farm.What's gotten hemp advocates excited about the discovery is the location of that farm. A large chunk of acreage was handed over to the War Department in the 1940s for construction of the world's largest office building: the Pentagon. So now, hempsters can claim that an important piece of their legacy lies in the rich Northern Virginia soil alongside a hugely significant symbol of the government that has so enraged and befuddled them over the years.All thanks to Lyster Dewey.A small trade group, the Hemp Industries Association, bought Dewey's diaries. The group's leaders hope that displaying them for the first time on Monday -- the start of what they've decreed the "1st Annual Hemp History Week" -- will convince the universe that hemp is not a demon weed and was used for ropes on Navy ships and for World War II parachute webbing. The ultimate goal is to spur the government to lift the ban on hemp production, a policy that especially riles activists because foreign-produced hemp oils and food products can be legally imported.Diary of Daily Progress Dewey lived, at various times, in Washington's Petworth and Shaw neighborhoods. In photographs discovered along with the diaries, he cuts a dapper figure in suit coats with vests and a top hat, or merrily pedaling a bicycle with the District's iconic rowhouses behind him.Dewey's meticulously labeled diaries start in 1896 and end in 1944, the year of his death at age 79. They read like artifacts of a bygone Washington. In 1937, he goes "downtown by street car and up the avenue past the White House to see the beautiful reproduction of Andrew Jackson's 'Hermitage,' which will be President Roosevelt's reviewing stand tomorrow, then down to the Capitol to see the inaugural stands."Adam Eidinger, a consultant to the hemp association, stores the diaries in two sturdy, combination-locked cases. Pages are held together by fraying oxblood leather covers; others live in drab, gray notebooks."I'm getting the impression he was very disciplined," Eidinger says. "He was hands-on -- preferred digging around in Arlington Farms, rather than being in the office."As early as 1914, Dewey writes of inspecting hemp at Arlington Farms. For nearly a quarter-century, he carefully notes his quotidian progress as a grower and hemp advocate: "Thursday, October 19, 1922. Fair, cool. Go to Arlington Farm on the 9 a.m. bus and work all day," he wrote. "Harvesting Kymington, Yarrow, Tochigi, Tochimington, Keijo and Chinamington hemp."The most powerful piece of evidence for hemp activists might be a photograph contained in an album with a battered black cover. In it, Dewey poses next to a stand of 13-foot-tall hemp plants. The caption reads: "Measuring a hemp plant 4 m. high. Arlington Farm. Aug, 28, 1929." In a dress shirt with cuff links and tie, he looks every bit the part of the proud gentleman farmer.Yard Sale Discovery None of this might have come to light if not for sheer luck and a sequence of coincidences. It all starts last summer at a yard sale in Amherst, N.Y., 15 minutes outside Buffalo, where a man named David Sitarski was prowling for small treasures. For decades, Sitarski has dreamed of starting a Web site that archives historical artifacts from the Buffalo area.Even though he'd recently been laid off from his computer-equipment manufacturing job of 20 years, Sitarski decided to pay $130 for the diaries and one of the two albums, thinking they pertained to Buffalo. He would have bought the second photo album, but another man snatched it up.Six months later, Sitarski says, his wife spotted their yard-sale rival while running errands. Sitarski jumped out of the car and talked him into selling the photo album to complete his set. The man casually mentioned that there were hemp pictures within, and Sitarski started Googling. He didn't make the Pentagon connection, but he quickly figured out that Dewey was a crucial hemp pioneer. Still jobless and needing money, Sitarski listed the material on eBay, asking $10,000.A second man with a dream emerged: Michael Krawitz, a 47-year-old disabled veteran from the town of Ferrum in southwest Virginia. Krawitz has spent 10 years scheming to build a hemp museum that he hopes will inspire construction of similar museums throughout the world. "I picture myself with a team of people dragging some hemp artifact out of a mountain in Tibet," he says. He spotted Sitarski's listing but, alas, there was no way he could afford it.But the hemp association could. The group has a sugar daddy: David Bronner, president of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, which has grown from a $5 million company to a $31 million firm in the past decade since adding hemp oil to its products to "improve skin feel" and produce a smoother lather. Bronner agreed to pay about $4,000 for the trove -- an easy call, given his court battles with the Drug Enforcement Administration when it tried to ban food products containing hemp. Bronner was also arrested last October after planting hemp seeds on a lawn at DEA headquarters."It's kind of ironic that we dug up DEA's lawn to plant hemp seeds and highlight the absurdity of the drug war, but you take it back 50 years and that's what the government itself was doing," Bronner says in an interview from his company's Southern California headquarters.Krawitz tried to deliver the Dewey materials to the D.C. hempsters in February, but he got stuck in the "Snowmageddon" storm that paralyzed the area. Finally, when the weather cleared, he made it to Eidinger's Adams Morgan apartment.Feeling like this would be a Moment, they pulled out a video camera and began to sift through the materials with Eric Steenstra, president of Vote Hemp, a nonprofit dedicated to changing hemp cultivation laws. Each turn of the page brought Dewey into sharper focus.It didn't take long for Eidinger to conclude they'd found "a major gem" and a kindred spirit. He thought: "I can totally relate to this guy."Source: Washington Post (DC)Author: Manuel Roig-Franzia, Washington Post Staff Writer Published: Thursday, May 13, 2010 Copyright: 2010 Washington Post Contact: letters Website: URL: Hemp Archives
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help 

Comment #34 posted by Canis420 on May 15, 2010 at 20:16:50 PT:
I am thankful that I can only imagine the relief you must is victories like yours that keep us in the game and ahead of the pack...rightous!
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Comment #33 posted by runruff on May 14, 2010 at 14:38:57 PT
I can't stop thinking about it!
It has been like going around with a big pebble in my shoe for the last seven years, suddenly it is gone!Liberty, it's worth fighting for!
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Comment #32 posted by nic on May 14, 2010 at 13:22:29 PT
Do you have any religion or politics
Do you wonder
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Comment #31 posted by Nic on May 14, 2010 at 12:34:29 PT
re: Nick Clegg and Ron Paul
It is time to ungrow Big Government
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Comment #30 posted by dongenero on May 14, 2010 at 12:24:07 PT
John Tyler's comment
We may currently have the best social, political and economic alignment of the stars that we've ever had for reform of cannabis laws and the drug war.I think this is the time to try and apply maximum pressure before conservatives wrest back control and have an upper hand in ramping up the culture war again. I've been writing my Representatives, -well, the ones I haven't written off as hopeless.
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Comment #29 posted by John Tyler on May 14, 2010 at 11:45:55 PT
re #25
We are looking at the same picture but seeing different things. Janet Napolitano for example, says let the Drug War continue because her vision is clouded up or fogged up with political issues. She and so many others like her can’t think outside a limited set of parameters. They want to stay in their comfort zone, because they are afraid to do anything else, even if others are going though a terrible time, because of their inaction.    This whole thing started as some kind of cultural racial superiority thing, then it morphed into a racial oppression thing, then it got a war metaphor hung on it. We have a terrible mess on our hands now and the current bunch of politicians etc. can’t or won’t fix it. (Obama and a few others excepted, I think they are trying to make things better, thought very slowly.) More of the same old stuff is not going to change anything. 
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Comment #28 posted by Nic on May 14, 2010 at 10:22:16 PT
comment 25
The article made MSM Fox News
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Comment #27 posted by Hope on May 14, 2010 at 09:50:11 PT
Still haven't gotten this entire article read...
but it looks like the Pentagon is built on the site of the last official federal hemp farm. Interesting.
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Comment #26 posted by Had Enough on May 14, 2010 at 09:20:20 PT
Drug Wars, Pill Mills, & Public Safety
St. Petersburg police looking for men who robbed pain clinic at gunpointBy Katie Sanders, Times Staff Writer Posted: May 14, 2010 11:54 AMST. PETERSBURG —Police are seeking two men who robbed a pain management clinic at gunpoint Wednesday and fled in a getaway car driven by a third person, police said.The men entered St. Petersburg Pain Management and Urgent Care Clinic, 4900 33rd Ave. N, about 3:35 p.m. and stole an undetermined amount of oxycodone, police said.The rest...************Cops, the media, and politicians are always ready to babble on about how dangerous pot dispensaries are...and how they out number Starbucks...and then they make laws preventing them around schools and parks...etc...or plain old ordinance them right out of town on rails.But they don’t crow too much about how many pill mills there are...and how dangerous they are...I wonder if there are any schools, parks, or churches near this Oxycodone pill dispensary??? How close is the nearest Starbuks???
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Comment #25 posted by ekim on May 14, 2010 at 08:48:19 PT
Pete has story on how much this is costing
Drug War Continues to Fail Spectacularly
The AP article is getting huge distribution.
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Comment #24 posted by Had Enough on May 14, 2010 at 08:42:11 PT
People United for Medical Marijuana - Florida
Miss Monster 2010***People United for Medical Marijuana - Florida
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Comment #23 posted by Had Enough on May 14, 2010 at 08:34:42 PT
PUFMM will be at 2010 MISS MONSTER 
Real Radio 104.1 
 May 15 Sat 11:00 AM Location:Destination Daytona 1635 US-1Ormond Beach, FL 32174
( 386 ) 944-1500 How to find us:"PUFMM Signs & Shirts or Email/Call" Who's hosting? Sammy MAY 15th 2010 MISS MONSTER We Will Be Inside This Event! WJRR is Providing us with 15 Passes For our Volunteers! We Will Need Volunteers For Inside & Out!! At: Bruce Rossmeyer's Destination Daytona 1637 North US HWY 1 Ormond Beach, FL 32174 (866) NICE-HOG (642-3464) For Gates open at 11am Rain or Shine 18 and up welcome Miss Monster Contest - $1500.00 CASH PRIZE Battle of the Bands: PARTNERS IN RHYME SLAP THE BUTCHER CURBSIDE GOODBYE FULL CIRCLE Heroine Fine Lady Mustache Monsters LIVE And Alot More!! 
Everyone Please Watch For Updates Before Weeks End!
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Comment #22 posted by John Tyler on May 14, 2010 at 07:04:36 PT
Dept. of Agriculture
The Dewey article is really interesting. It makes me wonder what other hemp related information is hidden away in the Dept. of Agriculture archives. Maybe the Hemp Museum people or Dr. Bronner’s people should do a Freedom of Information request on all hemp related subject matter.
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Comment #21 posted by FoM on May 14, 2010 at 06:21:30 PT
Just a Note
I haven't found any articles to post so far but I will keep on checking. I hope everyone has a great weekend. 
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Comment #20 posted by Paint with light on May 13, 2010 at 22:04:39 PT
# 5 article
This article seemed to start pretty good and then sort of fizzled near the end with this statement..."If you think about it in those terms, that they are fighting for lives — and in Mexico they are literally fighting for lives as well from the violence standpoint — you realize the stakes are too high to let go."What you won't let go of is what is causing most of the problems.I would like to post more but it is show season for me.I am enjoying some of the new voices.Legal like alcohol.
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Comment #19 posted by Christen-Mitchell on May 13, 2010 at 20:23:04 PT:
A Couple of Subject Images
Art of the Quote
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Comment #18 posted by The GCW on May 13, 2010 at 16:41:33 PT
Hempy LTE's
2 short LTE's about hemp.-0- US CO: PUB LTE: Amazing HempAnything you can make from oil you can make from hemp. Anything! Sun, 09 May 2010
Source: Summit Daily News (CO)-0-US CO: PUB LTE: Hemp's drawback? 
 Webpage: 12 May 2010
Source: Summit Daily News (CO)I disagree with Michael S. Webb's assertion, “Anything you can make from oil you can make from hemp.”Hemp can not make an oil spill like the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska or make an oil leak like the British Petroleum oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico.
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Comment #17 posted by Hope on May 13, 2010 at 15:49:50 PT
Tina Turner
was raised in a paper mill town.
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Comment #16 posted by Hope on May 13, 2010 at 15:48:24 PT
The blues are good.
They help you get through it.They help you laugh.They help you move.They make you sing and dance and beat out beautiful soulful rythyms.They can make you sweat.They roll you on.There's all kinds of blues and they all help you move on.There all good for you."How come my dog don't bark at you no more?"
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Comment #15 posted by Hope on May 13, 2010 at 15:42:30 PT
You know
as bad as a paper mill stinks, there's bound to be some powerful, maybe reap-able, harnessable, useful gases there. Has to be. Can't smell that bad without something volatile being involved.
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Comment #14 posted by Hope on May 13, 2010 at 15:38:57 PT
"Woodys papermill"?
Must not have gone well.Paper mills stink. Or they used to. Has a way ever been found to contain and divert that hideous smell?
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Comment #13 posted by Hope on May 13, 2010 at 15:26:59 PT
That's beautiful.
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Comment #12 posted by Hope on May 13, 2010 at 14:53:21 PT
It will likely be flooding down here somewhere
before the weekend is done.Scary.
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Comment #11 posted by Hope on May 13, 2010 at 14:52:08 PT
Flooding Down in Texas
Don't know about flooding. But the weather looks kind of scary.
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Comment #10 posted by nic on May 13, 2010 at 14:35:41 PT
In The Final End
What you take withyou into Eternity 
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Comment #9 posted by konagold on May 13, 2010 at 14:27:00 PT
listen to the whole thing[smile]
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Comment #8 posted by nic on May 13, 2010 at 14:11:03 PT
Do you have the blues
Do you wonder
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Comment #7 posted by Hope on May 13, 2010 at 13:57:39 PT
This article
I remember this. "Bronner was also arrested last October after planting hemp seeds on a lawn at DEA headquarters."The fancy shovels and all. Shovels!I was very impressed at how that was handled. All the way around. 
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Comment #6 posted by Nic on May 13, 2010 at 13:50:23 PT
I Wonder deep down 
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Comment #5 posted by dongenero on May 13, 2010 at 13:16:49 PT
US drug war has met none of its goals "new" policy stuff is ridiculous however, considering the 4th Amendment....though I'm not so sure we still have a 4th Amendment? Maybe Bush was right, it's just a G d d mned piece of paper...............Kerlikowske, who wishes people would stop calling it a "war" on drugs, frequently talks about one of the most valuable tools they've found, in which doctors screen for drug abuse during routine medical examinations. That program would get a mere $7.2 million under Obama's budget."People will say that's not enough. They'll say the drug budget hasn't shifted as much as it should have, and granted I don't disagree with that," Kerlikowske said. "We would like to do more in that direction." How about less of everything Gil?
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Comment #4 posted by MaryjaneDaly on May 13, 2010 at 11:20:54 PT:
votehemp -action
HEMP HEMP HURRAY! What a treat, thanks for the post. Vote Hemp http://www.votehemp.comDr. Bronner's Magic Soaps
take action
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Comment #3 posted by ekim on May 13, 2010 at 11:12:23 PT
what ever happen to Woodys papermill in Canada 1916, USDA Bulletin 404 predicted that a decorticating and harvesting machine would be developed, and hemp would again be America’s largest agricultural industry.
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on May 13, 2010 at 07:41:09 PT
Lyster Hoxie Dewey
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Comment #1 posted by ekim on May 13, 2010 at 07:35:57 PT
May 17-23, 2010 is Hemp History Week
 education campaign.
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