I recently rolled down for a visit to Pe Ell, Washington to see my old amigo Hemp Ed. Pe Ell is dang near the smallest town you’ve seen – a former logging boom town and now a fading enclave of approx 619 folks, a bar, a cafe, a store, a gas station, a post office, a school, one part-time cop.
I’ve been working with Ed on hemp activism and advocacy projects since the mid 90’s when public policy seemed to be trended towards decriminalization of recreational cannabis and legalization of industrial hemp as Hemp Lobby. This venerable website is a bit stale but is now enhanced with Ed’s blogging efforts on Hemp Lobby Chronicles where Ed is blogging up a storm with his candid and thoughtful discourse on public policy, agriculture, energy and the ill-fated “war on drugs.”
Back in the day … We set up an office and library in Olympia Washington and outreached to state legislators, community groups, media and the like with quality materials and polite dialouge.
Notably, in an effort to educate policy-makers, researchers and agriculturalists, Hemplobby created a booklet called “Practical Guide to Cannabis.” Within are excerpts from many research studies, legislative bills, growing guides and various discourse on hemp policy. We distributed this tome physically and electronically around the world.
Ed’s experience working as a logger for a clearcut operator speaks loudly. He is a wild-eyed libertarian and grows and raises much of his own food, watches CSPAN compulsively and loves to talk about wild times in Alaska. I enjoy his rambles even more than his handmade cedar sauna out back.
When I first met Ed, he was touring the country attending events and concerts in the Hemp Education van, a beastly panel van loaded up with hemp samples, sellables and info to share. He also marketed a woven hemp necklace/pendant thing called an Enviro-eye and sources raw hemp materials for all sorts of industries.
Ed was a founding member of the Hemp Industries Association, the industry’s largest trade group, and was involved in many groups supporting industrial hemp but not medicinal or recreational use. But, like me, he is annoyed at the organizations who are looking down their noses at the uncouthness of recreational herbal enthusiasts.
While I, acutely aware of the societal, agricultural and commercial differences are between cannabis’ varied genus, I am also aware of the prejudice and obstruction techniques “the man” uses to bring the momentum to a crawl. E.g. … Finally, the DEA vs HIA lawsuit was resolved (effectivley re-allowing imported hemp food products into the US more readily), but then the comes the $3000 application process to begin the process of inquiring if you can grow hemp. The Vote Hemp folks are seeking to test the effectiveness of the newest red-tape brigade by applying and challenging any negative result. But I can’t see a result for some time indeed. Makes you wanna holler!
While testing the rule of law in laborious court battles (coupled with the drama and diligence required to fundraise to cover expenses) is a noble fight for some, it is not my calling.