POLITICS

Cleanup On Aisle Mitch: Whole Foods Shoppers Furious Over McConnell Magazine Mix-Up

A magazine by the same name caused confusion when it selected the Senate majority leader as its person of the year for his push to legalize hemp.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has been named WholeFoods Magazine’s person of the year. No, not that Whole Foods.

The popular grocery chain sent out dozens of tweets this week clearing up the confusion and emphasizing that the publication has no affiliation with its company.

It was responding to outraged shoppers who have been rebuking the grocer on social media with tweets like, “SHAME ON YOU!,” “despicable,” and “What in the world were you thinking?”

“I love you, but I cannot stomach this,” one user wrote. “How awful.”

Some customers even pledged a lifelong boycott of the store.

Last week, the magazine featured McConnell on its cover in honor of his successful effort to legalize hemp through a provision in the 2018 farm bill, a multiyear law governing food and agricultural programs.

“Odds are, you have an opinion about the Republican senator from Kentucky, and regardless of whether that opinion is positive or not, one thing is certain,” the publication said in its announcement. “Mitch McConnell has done a tremendous amount to influence the natural products industry in 2019, and what he has set in motion will continue to impact this industry for a long time to come.”

Calling attention to the award in a tweet, McConnell said he was “honored” to have been chosen.

McConnell’s goal with hemp legalization, which he has called “a bright spot of agriculture’s future,” was to promote farming of the crop while aiding farmers who have lost federal tobacco subsidies in his home state.

Jonathan Miller, general counsel to the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, a coalition of hemp companies from growers to sellers, said last year that McConnell “went from Darth Vader to my hemp hero” for his work on the bill.

It has had the added effect of discouraging low-level pot busts.

Since hemp comes from cannabis, it is almost impossible for police to differentiate it from marijuana. In September, Politico reported that many municipalities across the nation have given up on going after small-time offenses because of a lack of sufficiently accurate testing.

CONVERSATIONS