Use Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap – And Go to Jail

I have been using Dr. Bronner’s soap since I was in college back in the Flintstones era, and the fact that you are reading this makes it highly likely you use it too. Liberals like Dr. Bronner’s because it’s made from wholesome ingredients, because animals weren’t tortured to test its safety and because it is produced by a socially responsible company in Escondido, Calif.

Bolles insisted the soap was only soap. “I’ve been using Dr. Bronner’s for 35 years,” he said Tuesday, adding that the organic ingredients help give him the complexion of a 15-year-old girl.

But if you are a long-time Dr. Bronner’s user, you may be as surprised as I was to learn that having a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s in your possession could land you in jail on very serious charges.

Sounds like typical leftwing hyperbole, you say? Well, it happened last week to Don Bolles, a member of the Flinstones-era punk band, the Germs.

On April 5, Bolles, 50, and his girlfriend were pulled in Orange County, Calif., because his 1968 Dodge van had a broken tail light. Police searched the car, found a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s in Bolles’ toiletry kit and arrested him. The soap bottle, they said, field-tested positive for GHB, a date rape drug:

Bolles insisted the soap was only soap. “I’ve been using Dr. Bronner’s for 35 years,” he said Tuesday, adding that the organic ingredients help give him the complexion of a 15-year-old girl.

Executives at Dr. Bronner’s rushed to Bolles’ defense, hiring attorney Bruce Margolin, who specializes in marijuana cases, to represent the musician.

The alliance between Germs and the soap manufacturer followed an Internet plea to help bail Bolles out of jail. A musician from one of his other bands, Fancy Space People, set up a PayPal account to raise the $2,500 bond.

It’s nice to know that Dr. Bronner’s steps up when its products’ users are arrested, and it sounds like the company is dedicated to Bolles’ case:

As word of the punk rocker’s arrest spread online, Dr. Bronner’s switchboard lighted up with calls. After speaking with Bolles on Monday, company President David Bronner decided to intervene.

The Escondido-based soap maker is used to run-ins with the law. Because the ingredient list for Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap includes hemp oil, police field tests of the soap occasionally indicate THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, Bronner said.

But the idea of finding GHB in a Dr. Bronner’s product is “beyond belief,” Bronner said. “The field test must have been flawed or tampered with.”

Is it possible Bolles was using the soap bottle to carry the drug?

No way, Bronner said. With a definitive test of the bottle’s contents coming soon from the Orange County Crime Lab, “it would be ridiculous for Bolles to be lying,” Bronner said.

Leaving aside the GBH, it’s ridiculous that in 2007 hemp products that do not contain THC (the stuff in pot that induces a mild euphoria) are still illegal. Products like paper, rope and clothing can be made from industrial hemp which is a source of fiber that is more sustainable than wood.


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  • April 12, 2007 - 1:04 pm | Permalink

    Leaving aside the GBH, it’s ridiculous that 2007 that hemp products … are still illegal.

  • Greg Bacon
    April 12, 2007 - 1:39 pm | Permalink

    The extent of cannabis smoking during the Colonial era is still subject to debate. President George Washington wrote a letter that contained an oblique reference to what may have been hashish. “The artificial preparation of hemp, from Silesia, is really a curiosity.” 38 Washington made specific written references to Indian hemp, or cannabis indica, and hoped to “have disseminated the seed to others. ” 39 His August 7, 1765 diary entry, “began to separate the male from the female () plants,” describes a harvesting technique favored to enhance the potency of smoking cannabis, among other reasons. 40 Hemp farmer Thomas Jefferson and paper maker Ben Franklin were ambassadors to France during the initial surge of the hashish vogue. Their celebrity status and progressive revolutionary image afforded them ample opportunities to try new experiences. Jefferson smuggled Chinese hemp seeds to America and is credited with the phrase in the Declaration of Independence, “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
    Did the Founding Fathers of the United States of America smoke cannabis? Some researchers think so. Dr. Burke, president of the American Historical Reference Society and a consultant for the Smithsonian Institute, counted seven early presidents as cannabis smokers: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, Zachary Taylor and Franklin Pierce. 41 “Early letters from our founding fathers refer to the pleasures of hemp smoking,” said Burke. Pierce, Taylor and Jackson, all military men, smoked it with their troops. Cannabis was twice as popular among American soldiers in the Mexican War as in Vietnam: Pierce wrote to his family that it was “about the only good thing” about that war.

  • April 16, 2007 - 8:55 am | Permalink

    About 20 years ago, I called the number that was printed on the (then paper) label to ask a question and none other than Dr. Bronner himself answered the phone! We had a great philosophical discussion that went on for about 20 minutes. His personal attention to his customers inspired me and my partner to do the same for ours.

  • September 11, 2008 - 9:05 am | Permalink

    Just one more example of the police state we are living in.

    Maybe if there were financial consequences for the state and false arrests and searches, things would be different.

    But with the passage of the ‘patriot act’ (stroke of genius in naming that), the New Gestapo is now all powerful.

    What happened to turn America into The Peoples RepubliK of AmeriKA?????? ……z

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