About Timberwolves and Chihuahuas

Same species, different animal.

I recently sat down with Hawaii Senator Mike Gabbard, Hawaii Representative Cynthia Thielen and Kelly King, Vice President of Pacific Biodiesel to interview them about their views on the upcoming legislation on hemp. You can see it here: www.HempInternet.com

My dear friend Denise Key of iHempHI.com who is a grand activist for the legalization of industrial hemp and who initiated and facilitated these interviews said that today that some opposition to the growing of industrial hemp remained, evidently based on distortions. So I send a few emails to my friends to help them tell the Chihuahuas from the Timberwolves:


“[T]hey (DEA) cannot regulate naturally-occurring THC not contained within or derived from marijuana-i.e. non-psychoactive hemp is not included in Schedule I. The DEA has no authority to regulate drugs that are not scheduled, and it has not followed procedures required to schedule a substance. The DEA’s definition of “THC” contravenes the unambiguously expressed intent of Congress in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and cannot be upheld” The PDF from the Court is also attached. Here is the DEA press release that the quotes in the second page of Keith Kamita’s testimony came from: http://www.justice.gov/dea/pubs/pressrel/pr100901.html


There is an inexpensive hemp breeder‘s field test that is able to quickly and inexpensively distinguish between the different varieties of cannabis by their THC levels. The “DG Test” for THC was developed by the late Peter Dragla in Canada. It is similar to the development of a method to test individual hemp plants for C8l’l|’l8biI10id presence or absence in the field done in the Ukraine. You may learn more here: A Discussion On Cannabis Cannabinoidr-THC & CBD. By Gordon Scheifele & Peter Dragla Hemp Commerce and Farming Report http://www.hempreport.com/issues/08/January2000.html
So far in the 2014 legislative season industrial hemp legislation has been introduced or carried over in Puerto Rico and twenty-three states: Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois (carried over from 20l3), Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire (carried over from 2013), New Jersey (carried over from 20l3) and a new bill introduction as well, New York, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Washington (two bills were carried over from 2013), West Virginia, and Wisconsin. You can keep track of all state hemp legislation on Vote Hemp‘s State Hemp Legislation Page: http://www.votehemp.com/state.html

About Civility and Accessibility

Here’s the real challenge – getting everyone to understand that accessibility is for everybody. Too often people with disabilities are considered to be the ‘others’. This is the biggest problem with getting people to embrace the idea of accessibility and  for product designers to embrace the philosophy of Universal Design. In Silicon Valley we’ve always spoken of good design but, to convey this idea more effectively I have needed to  dumb down the language to say, “get the specs right on human beings.” 

Given the global aging population it seems completely unbelievable that building in Accessibility is too challenging for the world’s leading tech companies. Given the fact that after 25 years since the passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act, The US still has a 75% unemployment rate for people with disabilities. I have little patience for scofflaw companies with customers numbering in the millions and reaping billions in profits who have proven unwilling to spend anything on improving accessibility. The unprecedented human rights achievement represented by the Americans With Disabilities Act has been thwarted by the  negative cultural bias and neglect tech companies reveal by the fact that at the time of this justice department action less than 9% of all websites are accessible. 
This appalling situation reminds me of when no one in the US would broadcast Spanish-language television. Ultimately such exclusionary practices proved to be thoroughly stupid and the lost profits will never be recovered. Same deal here. Why alienate customers and make products and services difficult to use? America’s inventors have given us the telephone, automobiles, electric starters, elevators, transistors, text to speech synthesizers, the internet and many other wonders of the everyday world that began as ways to improve accessibility and overcome limitations imposed by impairments. How many other innovations will come from the US as inventors begin providing accessibility to people who need a better way to solve a problem faced by millions around the world? Too many design decisions result in poorly considered interfaces that necessitates people have good  manual dexterity and 20/20 vision. Not a day goes by when I don’t wish I had a large rock to smash my smart phone to pieces. I am often driven completely mad by it’s idiosyncratic behaviors. For the record, no one wants to read manuals in order to use some arcane piece of technology. And yet, that’s what we’ve got!
As a closing note, I would like to share the positive news that America is back! We’ve led the world as social innovators by embracing inclusion for every member of our society. This investment has paid off for us handsomely with the marketplace reaping the rewards of diversity by better serving their global customers. I believe that our best days are yet ahead because of the US’ socially inclusive policies and  progressive idealism that America has introduced to the world.
On my part and on behalf of my company and my country I hope we will continue to do so.

About Accessibility and the Law

The Justice Department announced today that it has entered a landmark consent decree with H&R Block in National Federation of the Blind, et al. and United States v. HRB Digital LLC, et al. The decree resolves the Department’s first ADA lawsuit centered on the accessibility of corporate websites and mobile applications.  Under the decree, H&R Block will make its website, tax filing utility, and mobile applications conform to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 to the Level AA Success Criteria, will pay damages to the two named plaintiffs, and pay a civil penalty.  H&R Block will also take a number of steps to maintain the accessibility of www.hrblock.com and its mobile apps with WCAG 2.0 AA, including adopting a policy, training employees and ensuring accountability, conducting regular automated and user testing, and regular reporting.

To find out more about the ADA or this consent decree, call the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TDD), or access its ADA.gov website.