Alterna Hemp Hair Care Sues President of DARE America
Kimberlee Mitchell 310-824-2508 ext:258
Full text L.A. Times Story

November 18, 1998

LOS ANGELES- Alterna Applied Research Laboratories, maker of professional hemp hair care products, filed a lawsuit today against Glenn Levant, who currently serves as president and founding director of DARE America, Inc., which nationally promotes the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program. Alterna filed the lawsuit in reaction to defamatory statements made by Levant appearing on Friday, November 6 in an article in The Los Angeles Times .

        I want to make it clear that our issue is not with DARE nor is this lawsuit a critique of DARE's commendable work. Alterna believes strongly in DARE'S drug education programs that teach our nation's children about the evils of drugs. Our lawsuit was filed against Glenn Levant as an individual, who made false and malicious public comments about Alterna, which have not only maligned our company but pose a reputational and financial threat to the thousands of salons who sell our THC (Drug) free product across the nation. As a manufacturer I have a responsibility not only to protect my own company, but the business of my customers, reasons Mike Brady, vice president of sales and marketing for Alterna.

        In The Los Angeles Times article, Levant stated that Alterna was "promot[ing] an illegal substance." Even after Alterna provided the documented facts demonstrating that Levant is incorrect, he nevertheless refused to acknowledge that Alterna's hemp product is a viable and legal commodity, as is clearly stated in Public Law 91-513, section 102 [15]: sterile hemp seeds [the source from where Alterna gets the oil used in their products] are specifically excluded from the definition of marijuana and are not controlled substances under federal law. Levant's continual denial of these facts helped precipitate the forced removal of Alterna's hemp shampoo ads from more than 100 bus benches in Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley.

        The Los Angeles Times also quoted Levant as saying, "the shampoo is a subterfuge to promote marijuana." Since incorporating hemp seed oil into its products, Alterna has undertaken an aggressive national hemp education campaign, called LEARN MORE, which is designed to dispel myths and misinformation about the marked differences between hemp and marijuana. Alterna perceives Levant's irresponsible and misleading comments to be slanderous and far from the truth. Proactive in its approach to educate the nation of hemp's many environmental, economic and cosmetic benefits, Alterna holds fast to two proven facts: hemp is not marijuana and hemp is not a drug. By associating a hemp leaf with the word "HEMP" and the phrase "THC (Drug) free" in its advertising Alterna has sent a clear message to the public that the company is opposed to the drug culture. In addition, Alterna's information laden hemp educational packages are mailed out to anyone who calls looking to learn more about hemp. The company does not align itself with any group that advocates the use or legalization of marijuana.

        Alterna can not excuse the derogatory and erroneous statements made public in The Los Angeles Times article, which have negatively affected the reputation of their Los Angeles-based business. Alterna's goal is to resolve the lawsuit with Levant through means of non-litigation. Ultimately, the hair care company would be satisfied to receive a retraction in The Los Angeles Times, Levant's payment of Alterna's legal fees as well as correctional advertising to inform all Alterna customers of Levant's inaccurate comments. Mike Brady, vice president of sales and marketing for Alterna, deems this an appropriate response for the ill informed and damaging statements Levant made publicly.

        Since the forced removal of the city-owned bus benches early this month, Alterna's awareness campaign has been temporarily impeded. Alterna has been denied the opportunity to further create dialog generating awareness about THC (Drug) free hemp, explains Mike Brady. We plan to post a new billboard in Los Angeles this week to keep our message alive. What we are doing is not only legal but ethical. Hemp's many environmentally friendly uses can not be ignored. The billboard, which is an oversized version of the fallen bus benches, will be posted in Los Angeles on Westwood Boulevard and Olympic by Friday, November 20.


Hemp Shampoo Maker Sues DARE
By STEPHEN GREGORY, Los Angeles Times
November 19, 1998

A Westwood shampoo manufacturer has sued the head of a national anti-drug organization, alleging that he defamed the company in a recent newspaper article. Alterna Inc. filed the civil suit against Glenn Levant, a former deputy Los Angeles police chief and founder of DARE America Inc., a private, nonprofit group that promotes the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program to schoolchildren nationwide.

        The suit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, alleges that Levant made false and malicious statements about the company when he said in a Nov. 6 Los Angeles Times article that the company's Alterna Hemp Shampoo "is a subterfuge to promote marijuana" because its ads feature a cannabis leaf.

        In a news release, the company said it would drop the suit if Levant retracted his statement in the newspaper, paid the company's legal fees and financed "correctional advertising to inform all Alterna customers of Levant's inaccurate comments." Levant called the suit "a cheap publicity gimmick" that is without merit.

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