District of Columbia residents might know David Bronner, the California-based owner of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, as the guy who camped out in front of the White House in a steel cage until authorities came and forcibly removed him with a power saw. At the time he was protesting U.S. hemp policy. Now the owner of a top-selling natural-soap chain has turned his sights to other perceived Washington wrongs.
In 2013 he donated $100,000 to successful legalization initiatives in Colorado and Washington; this year Bronner put $20,000 into an initiative to make it legal for District residents to possess up to 2 ounces of marijuana, to sell an ounce at a time, and to grow three plants in their homes. (The lead proponent of the initiative, Adam Eidenger, is Bronner's D.C. media director.)
It's a substantial amount of money for an initiative, first filed with the D.C. Board of Elections in January, that has so far raised just $28,000. But more important than the financial support is the celebrity of this pony-tailed marijuana activist whose rainbow Mercedes runs on french-fry grease.
Bronner, the grandson of company founder Emanuel Bronner, has managed to turn the quirky soap company, which sells tingly, liquid hemp soap in weirdly wordy labels, into a robust business with sales in the tens of millions.