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Capitol Hemp to Close DC Stores on August 1

Capitol Hemp first opened in Apr. 2008 at 1802 Adams Mill Road, NW in Adams Morgan. They opened their 2nd location in Apr. 2010 at 519 H Street, NW in Chinatown. In Oct. 2011 their stores were raided by MPD.

1802 Adams Mill Road, NW

Yesterday store co-owner Adam Eidinger released a lengthy press release:

“Capitol Hemp, DC’s only source for high quality hemp clothing and accessories, should be celebrating its four-year anniversary since opening its doors on April 20, 2008. Instead, the company, which employs ten people, begins the arduous task of permanently closing down its Adams Morgan (1802 Adams Mill Rd, NW) and Chinatown (519 H St, NW) stores on August 1, 2012.”

Continues after the jump.

“The decision to close the doors of Capitol Hemp is not an easy one but it’s the best option of the dreadful ones available,” says Alan Amsterdam, co-owner and managing partner of Capitol Hemp’s controversial boutique, which specializes in artisan glass pipes. “I’m proud of our team’s professionalism in how they handled themselves since we were raided last October. We are going to be focused on customer service and quality products up until our last day August 1, 2012.”

Capitol Hemp showcased glass art that pushed the boundaries of functional glass; glass art created by employing techniques including Electroform (fusing copper and glass), Fuming (blowing oxidized gold/silver into the glass), Graal Work (blown glass that is etched or sandblasted with a decoration), Dichro (multiple layers of metal oxides in the glass) and uranium glass that glows brilliant green under UV light.

Capitol Hemp raised expectations among the DC Metropolitan Area’s functional glass enthusiasts by offering unique pieces crafted by highly sought-after American glass artists. The store sells functional art objects, including work by Hybrid Glass, AKM, Salt, Marble Slinger, Snic, Iladelph, Toro, Mike Higgins, Zach Puchowitz, Mike Fro, Lace Face, Kind, Darby, Syn, Sovereignty, Adam Sultan, Eric Ross, Hops, Fat Mike and hundreds of others. “Capitol Hemp’s comprehensive selection of art captured the creative explosion of functional glass blowing that will continue all over America, but not in Washington, DC after August 1,” says Amsterdam.

For now, the stores remain DC’s top sellers of eco-friendly, non-drug, industrial hemp products including the best selection of hemp clothing, food, cosmetics, paper, bags, yarn, and even fiberboard for building projects. At both locations, the stores’ construction utilized more than 2,000 lbs of hemp fiberboard, and despite the wear and tear by tens of thousands of customers, the hemp fiberboard’s durability is on full display today.

However, the selling of hemp products and the stores’ education outreach on hemp is ending as well, due to the deferred prosecution agreement that states both stores must close on August 1, 2012. While no hemp was seized in the October 2011 DC Metropolitan Police Department raids, it is noteworthy that the store’s hemp neon sign was said to represent hemp’s genetic cousin ‘marijuana’ according to the search warrant affidavit. The warrant for the October raids also cited publications and videos on the subjects of organic farming, cannabis policy, civil liberties, and books written to educate people on how to protect their constitutional rights during police encounters. The stores also offered books on the history of hemp in the United States, including historical accounts of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, who were both farmers and advocates of the versatile crop. A copy of the warrant can be seen here A copy of the agreement Capitol Hemp made with the US Attorney is available upon request.

The Adams Morgan and Chinatown stores were designed by local architect and artist César Maxit in collaboration with Amsterdam and Eidinger. Since its opening, Capitol Hemp has championed free speech by providing Maxit and the DC51 Artist Collective space and by hosting events to display the collective’s politically charged art covering local, environmental and human rights issues.

Capitol Hemp was active in numerous hemp movement initiatives and supported efforts to reform America’s archaic hemp laws. These laws prohibit non-drug, industrial hemp farming in the United States, even though it is legal to import hemp fiber and seed products. In 2010 Capitol Hemp donated $25,000 to Proposition 19, a California voter initiative that sought to legalize all forms of cannabis, including industrial hemp farming. The initiative failed by three percentage points due in part to infighting in the reform community.

Store co-owner Adam Eidinger, who was the Communication Director for the group prior to the launch of Capitol Hemp, is a nationally known figure in the hemp industry. Eidinger is the co-creator of Hemp History Week, a national marketing and educational week of events that celebrates its third year June 4 – 10, 2012. Eidinger and Eric Steenstra, founder and president of Vote Hemp, publicly read the newly-discovered diaries of USDA Botanist Lyster Dewey in Capitol Hemp for the 1st Annual Hemp History Week in 2010. The diaries and photos proved to the world that industrial hemp was grown on the site of the Pentagon until the mid 1930’s for US government research. Dewey’s life long exploration into different strains of fiber varieties of hemp paid off during World War II when hemp supplies from Asia were cut off and US farmers grew over 400,000 acres of hemp in 1944. A story featuring the Dewey diaries in the Washington Post can be viewed here

Prior to Capitol Hemp opening its doors, Eidinger was an outspoken figure on the American hemp issue. In 2009 he planted hemp seeds on the lawn of the DEA in Arlington with farmers and other leaders of the hemp industry who were frustrated by federal policy that denies such a useful crop to American farmers. A video of the protest and subsequent arrests garnered widespread attention and can be seen at

“I’m deeply saddened by the tough decision we made to close Capitol Hemp,” says co-founder Adam Eidinger. “This is a set-back for hemp enthusiasts everywhere and a sign that the nation’s drug laws are victimizing law-abiding businesses without good reason. I never expected we would be able to open Capitol Hemp under the reign of George Bush without problems, but under Democratic control we have been harassed, raided, and threatened with bankruptcy.”

Capitol Hemp generated more than $300,000 in local tax revenue, gave health care to its employees, sponsored the DC Roller Girls and donated money to local police and fire union charities. “The story of Capitol Hemp’s demise is the story of the war on drugs being enforced by DC government as a war on free speech,” says Eidinger. “Why is DC shooting itself in the foot?”

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