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Body Shop hemp ad falls foul of Swedish authority

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Body Shop hemp ad falls foul of Swedish authority
12:36 CEST+02:00
The use of hemp leaves in an advert commissioned by ethical cosmetics chain The Body Shop, has been condemned by a Swedish municipality, which has claimed that it hampers work to tackle youth drug use.

Örebro municipality's crime prevention unit, Örebrå, paid a visit The Body Shop on the central Sweden city's main Drottningatan shopping street last Friday to inform the firm that its posters gratuitously displaying the leaf of the Cannabis sativa plant (industrial hemp), were not acceptable.

"They argued that the use of the hemp leaf in the posters was offensive and provocative and that it undermined their work to tackle youth drug abuse," said Karin Wickberg Taylar, press spokesperson for The Body Shop Sweden, to The Local on Wednesday.

Wickberg Taylar told The Local that the firm has no intention however of bowing to the municipality's demands.

"We are not going to discontinue our poster campaign because of this. This product has nothing to do with the drug and there is no rhyme nor reason to Örebro's actions."

Wickberg Taylar said that a lack of knowledge over industrial hemp - a product commonly used in a slew of everyday items - lays behind the crime prevention unit's demands.

"They argued that the hemp leaf is the most common trademark for selling the drug. But this has nothing to do with the drug."

"We have long had a hemp series in our assortment. We recently decided to market the products a little more as they help against dry skin - a common problem in the colder autumn climate."

The humble hemp leaf is also a common feature of The Body Shop's global marketing, Wickberg Taylar underlined, and while problems have been few, authorities have on occasion reacted.

"We have had some problems in France. But in France there is clear legislation on this type of thing. In Sweden, there is not - we are doing nothing illegal."

The Body Shop Sweden furthermore intends to continue to actively promote its products with the help of the hemp leaf, as the firm feels that light needs to be shed on an often cloudy issue.

"We hope that the campaign will in fact help to play down the issue, to remove the secrecy over the product. Hemp can be found in cosmetics, clothing, in plastics - it is nothing that is at all strange in our society," Karin Wickberg Taylar told The Local.

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