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The Carbohydrate Economy!

Ralph welcomes old friend, former running mate, and now hemp farmer, Winona LaDuke as well as filmmaker Michael Henning to talk about how industrial hemp can transform the U.S. from a polluting hydrocarbon economy to a healthier carbohydrate economy. And Maryland state senator, Paul Pinsky joins us to promote his bill that will close loopholes and make corporations pay their fair share in state taxes. Plus, Ralph answers your questions.

Michael Henning is a filmmaker and the director of “Hempsters: Plant the Seed,” a documentary about the struggle to legalize industrial hemp. A follow up film, Hempsters: Reap the Harvest, is currently in production.

“It all goes back to this percentage of THC, the quantity that’s allowed [in industrial hemp]… Nobody would be remotely interested in smoking any hemp up to ten percent or fifteen percent [THC]. In the stores, people who are actual regular marijuana users, they’re looking for thirty percent. It’s a joke to put the pressure on the farmers to grow a crop that would have to be 0.3 [percent THC]. It’s so preposterous. I mean, why don’t we start regulating apple farmers for the arsenic in the seeds. It’s that crazy.”

Michael Henning, director of Hempsters: Plant the Seed

Winona LaDuke is an activist, an economist, a hemp farmer, and two-time vice-presidential candidate with Ralph Nader. She lives and works on the White Earth Reservation in northern Minnesota.

“I’m ready for the next economy. And I want to be at the table to help create what that economy looks like. Because the last economy didn’t work for most of us. It worked for a few rich guys, right? So, we want the next economy to be equitable and organic.”

Winona LaDuke, activist and hemp farmer

“[Since industrial hemp] was criminalized in North America, none of that [production equipment] is here. And so, we had to go and try to figure out — it’s like a forensic cold case. We know who killed them, and where’s the body? It’s like “who killed the electric car?” We know who did that. And then where’s the body? This is the problem with hemp. We know that hemp was killed by the lumber barons, and the cotton jenny, and the oil companies. But the question is, where’d the body go? And so, trying to rebuild a renaissance of the hemp economy in this country is like really trying to find a bunch of clues.”

Winona LaDuke, activist and hemp farmer

Paul Pinsky represents Prince George’s County in the Maryland Senate, where he has introduced the Corporate Tax Fairness Act of 2021.

“Some of these corporations will pick up the phone and say, ‘Look, if you pass [the Corporate Tax Fairness Act], we’ll leave.’ It’s the traditional economic blackmail. And of course, they’re not going to leave. Corporations don’t move because of tax policy. They decide based on infrastructure. On having roads to deliver their products, schools, and other infrastructure. So, that’s been used around the country for decades and generations. You know, ‘We’re going to take away jobs if you don’t give us this tax break.’”

Paul Pinsky, Maryland State Senator

“No drug company has been driven bankrupt in the past– new or old vaccines– by tort lawsuits. And you don’t want to get a drug from a company that was developed under the belief that, if someone dies because the drug is contaminated… caused a death or a serious injury, and you couldn’t sue… The drug companies should have maximum interest in not being negligent, not rushing to beat the competition, especially since they are so heavily subsidized by the US government.”

Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader Radio Hour Ep 377 Transcript (Right click to download)


  1. NOON, Wendyyona says:

    What a HOME RUN this PROGRAM is !!.!!
    (2) FARM AID (Endorsed by Willy Nelson) to GR02
    Since HEMP will set the Seed into REPRODUCING,
    the last thing a farmer wants is Marijuana.
    FUEL ………. DIESEL from SEED
    **** 8 HOME RUNS **** BLESS YOU & THANK YOU ALL**** ****

  2. Bill Royden says:

    Carbohydrates are the enemies of health. I’d rather drink unrefined crude oil than eat Ammurrican bread.

  3. Don Harris says:

    Thanks for addressing my comment on creating a non-profit corporation media conglomerate. While it may be similar in some ways to the Audience Network, you seem to have missed the key difference.

    The Audience Network didn’t happen because it required congressional action.

    The media conglomerate I am proposing just needs you to get it started.

    You could set up the non-profit and start selling shares and buying up/starting up media right now without needing any congressional action.

    Why wait another forty years for congressional action that is not going to happen when it could just be done now by you and citizens alone?

  4. The reason for hemp containment is the timbe & paper industries profits!

  5. Thomas M says:

    Henry Ford’s soybean based car 1941. Hemp would probably work just as well.

  6. John Puma says:

    If our lives were actually spent “working in the fields during the day and reading Shakespeare at night,” it would hardly matter what was being grown in the fields, although it would be a great further benefit if it were hemp.

    The answer to “who is opposed to hemp” is answered in the same list of types of products derived from it that is used to promote it: food, fiber, fuel & medicine. Just put “industry” after each one. I’d suggest one more: agriculture itself: I’ve read that problems of lack of soil fertility correspond to a lack of carbohydrate more than the commonly assumed nitrogen. A mixed fallow crop of a legume and hemp could fertilize soil for whatever crop that follows and reduce dependence on hydrocarbon-derived purified nitrogen fertilizers, the excess use of which has wrecked havoc in many aquifers.

    Has the pro-hemp movement looked seriously into the energy balance of hemp farming? That is, while hemp itself can readily replace products formerly derived from hydrocarbons (“petrol chemicals” being more clear if not lending itself to promotional slogans), its cultivation is still dependent on petrochemicals, at this point. Can the hemp derived fuel (bio-diesel) be shown by calculation to truly provide the fuel needed to raise the next crop?

    Bio-diesel proponents are sure on the right track but the infrastructure and energy expended to produce it severely makes the EROEI – energy return on energy invested (see acronym in Wiki) – equation difficult to register in the “+” area. I’d suggest that while research is being done, as explained, into the design of specific harvesting machinery, there should also be an effort to find how farm engines can be modified to burn hemp oil (starting point for hemp diesel) directly as fuel without the need steps of the diesel-producing process.

  7. Don Harris says:

    Some further comparison between the Audience Network and my proposal for a non-government initiated non-profit corporation media conglomerate.

    The non-government media conglomerate can use the 1.5 billion (or more) to start the corporation right now.

    The Audience Network will need to raise much more than 1.5 billion just to get Congress to consider the Audience Network and even more to get passed into law and implemented as proposed and will take YEARS if it can happen at all.

    The non-government conglomerate will be producing 100% of the content that the Audience Network would only provide in small amounts of the other media’s content.

    The non-government conglomerate could put on a Washington Journal type program that has guests like Ralph Nader and guests on the Radio Hour instead of the usual suspects that dominate Washington Journal now. (have you been on Washington Journal since 10-24-2018?)

    Then when our phones lines are all backed up with callers and Washington Journal is left with two callers and five people tweeting they might try improving the quality of their program to get viewers back.

    The same might also work against the cable news networks, newspapers, and other media when their advertisers don’t want to pay to for ads that no one will see because they getting their news from the non-government conglomerate.

    We can use the same approach the oligarchs use to circumvent democracy to protect democracy.

    A variation on the “Irresistable” movie.

  8. Isn’t there a way to convert organic hemp into a liquid which can be used in 3D printers. This’d change EVERYTHING!