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The CEO (Cosmic Engagement Officer) of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, on how hemp (and psychedelics) can make America great again.

I’ve used Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps for years, but never understood just how progressive/impressive the company that turns out products with thousands of tiny words crowding its labels was. I remember the company as a sort of hippie outlier, but today it’s a paragon of a movement known as Constructive Capitalism. This is largely the brainchild of the company’s Cosmic Engagement Officer (CEO), David Bronner.  
So I was pleased when David, 37, agreed to do this podcast from his home in Vista, California. Here are some fun facts to set the stage:
David, who has a BA in Biology from Harvard, has grown the company from $4M a year to over $122M in 2018. Under his (and his family’s) stewardship, Dr. Bronner’s has donated $60M to causes related to drug policy reform, animal rights, sustainable agriculture, fair trade practices, and over $5 million to ending cannabis prohibition. In September 2019 the company donated a matching grant of $150K to Oregon’s statewide ballot initiative to legalize psilocybin assisted therapy.

Another target of Bronner’s activism has been advocating for the US hemp industry. In 2001, Dr. Bronner’s funded a lawsuit against the DEA to prevent a ban of hemp food sales in the US. In 2009, he was arrested for planting hemp seeds on the lawn of the DEA. In 2012, he was arrested again for harvesting hemp and milling the oil while locked in a metal cage in front of the White House. He clearly understands the need for underscoring donations with dramatic action.

Dr. Bronner’s is a leader of the “constructive capitalism” movement. Over half of the company’s 226 employees are people of color and/or women; over 40% of managers are PoCs or women. The starting salaries average $18.71 and hour, 170% higher than California’s average wage and Bronner caps his salary at 5 times that of the lowest earner. Ten percent of the company’s revenue is donated to charitable causes (all of which are listed publicly) and their stated goal is to offset all of their carbon emissions by 2023. Rather than marketing, they invest in the causes they believe in. In other words, it’s perfectly possible for companies to do well and to do good.
If that intrigues you, download and share this interview. And please, if you enjoy this Podcast for the Post-Prohibition era and can afford to support us, please visit Patreon to contribute. We rely on the generosity of our listeners and like-minded companies to keep going.

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