Category Archives: HempenRoad

a documentary film about industrial hemp and cannabis in the Pacific Northwest / Cascadia area – feature-length, made in 1996/7, produced, written and narrated by me

HempenRoad Dispatch #2, Dec. 1996

Mailing List #2 — Early December1996

Good Day ‘eh;

This is a broadcast e.mail coming to you from The Hempen-Road Film Project.

For those not familiar with this film, let me explain. Starting a few weeks ago, myself, Dave Olson, filmaker Eiji Masuda and crew set out to make a film about the people, places and products of the comtemporary commercial hemp industry.

The response has been remarkable and we thank all of you who have expressed interest to talk with us and enthusiasm for our plans. We look forward to showing the finished product to you.

We recently returned from a succesful filming journey to Victoria, B.C. and are now readying for Washington, Oregon and then on to California.

So far the film is looking great. Interesting,intelligent people, great information, positive energy and lots of quality hemp goods.

This film will be available for distribution next spring and hopefully we’ll have it finished in time for the Vancouver Commercial Hemp Symposium in Feb.1997 which looks to be a very professional, exciting event.

May we suggest taking a few minutes and checking out all the low-down including a report on our Victoria journey on the Hempen Road web site. Just follow the signs and enjoy looking it over.

Please pay special attention to the part about Investment Opportunities with in the film project page. We are offering a one-third share of the project as an investment. This promises to be a film of exceptional quality, uniqueness and impact.

While at the web page, take a few to peruse through my Hemp in Japan research and art gallery. Enjoy Knowledge.

Thanks for your time and please send a message back if so inclined,

dave olson

p.s. if this info doesn’t interest you, let me know and we won’t keep in touch.o.k.

HempenRoad Dispatch #1, Nov. 1996

Early November 1996


My name is is Dave Olson, I run an international mail-order hemperprise as well as research and produce other creative projects about hemp.

This month Japanese filmmaker, Eiji Masuda, and I will be heading to create a completely new hemp film in which we will travel the north america west coast stopping in along the way to visit hempy people.

All this is explained on a web page that we invite you visit and read through. We feel this is an exciting project that merits your looking it over.

If you are unable to access the WWW, please reply and i’ll send you the info via e.mail or post.

While there, be sure to link to look at my ongoing research into Hemp in Japan. Much research is there along with a bunch of pictures. Sit down and enjoy it.

This is not a mailing list or anything weird or sketchy. Please zoom over to check out our plan and respond via phone, e.mail, fax or post to become part of this film.


dave olson

HempenRoad Narration

Intro and Outro (remixed):

Hemp is a plant. Hempen culture is forever ingrained in our culture and yet we know so little about it yet all around the world the hardy strains of cannabis sativa have provided the essentials for civilizations.

The HempenRoad takes us to the Pacific Northwest, a rugged stretch of continent – like many areas the communities here try to balance economics and ecology were off to find is hemp really sustainable, durable and like many regions long dependence on natural resources have left behind battered eco-systems.

Like many plants, cannabis sativa, comes in many varieties. Each type having unique characteristics and uses. People have cultivated and used different strains of Cannabis for thousands of years. Indeed, some say hemp was one reason humans gave up hunting and gathering instead settling down and farming, soon forming communities and history as we know it.

For cultures worldwide, hemp provided the essentials, food, shelter, clothing. As time went on, hemp was turned into , oils, ropes, paper, medicines and sails Providing a renewable resource for a growing civilizations. This plant is forever ingrained in our heritage yet we know so little about it . Somewhere along the way, hemp farming and information “disappeared” as the world entered a new industrial age. Cheap crude oil, old-growth forests, processed foods, patented medicines & synthetic cloth replaced clean growing hemp. How did this happen? Now, the global community faces the filthy legacy of this misguided prohibition. We now realize the world’s environment, economy and health isn’t really divided by lines on a map. A problem elsewhere might well be cased by a situation somewhere else. It is all the same planet after all. All around the world, people are again looking to hemp as a viable sustainable crop, capable of slowing this pollution and replenishing the earth. Is this possible? Is hemp really that strong, that versatile and ecological? 

As we stand on the edge of our future, we have to re-examine the way we do things, all things, and make intelligent decisions based on truth , not hype. What will it take to bring hemp back into the global economy? Where can it grow? What can hemp really produce? Some people aren’t waiting for answers, they are leaping into action and finding their own reality. Searching for a new way of doing things. Who are they are these people what motivates them to work so hard against the preconceptions? It is just a plant, just a especially remarkable one. But what exactly is hemp? Well, we ‘re on the road to find out. The Hempen Road It’s more of a path in thinking but a concrete road in our highway reality. Highways now run through area that was only trees, water and rock less than a century and a half ago. It doesn’t take long.

On the Dock:

Here we are in Port Angeles WA the top of the Olympic Peninsula. Its a pulp town and this is where a lot of This is the great northwest coast of the Pacific Ocean, Cascadia bioregion. A rugged and majestic stretch of continent. Temperate rainforest, salmon rivers, volcanoes, rain, islands and ocean. Nature feels real and tangible here. Long dependence on natural resources for economic growth has resulted in rivers and forests that once seemed so abundant, now fading into massive clearcuts, polluted waters, damaged ecosystems. This area is historically populated with adventurers, explorers, thinkers. Individuals finding common ground. People here are outdoorsy folks, but thats not enough. To preserve a healthy planet, decisions must be made. This area, like many, struggles to balance sustainability and economy. prosperity and extinction. There must be answers, but what the questions ? Can cleaner industries like tourism, organic agriculture, alternative fibers production and processing support this bioregion? Where does hemp fit into all this?

On the ferry: (voice over)

On ocean going vessels all throughout history, ropes have often been made out of hemp. just up until the end of WW2, when uhh substitutes started being used. the hemp for victory campaign put on by the US Dept of Agriculture during the uhh mid war years ww2 was uhh pretty much to replace the ropes on navy ships with hemp.


Victoria is famous for looking nice and being a nice place to be. It is a nice place to be. flowers, animals, good air and food. this is worth something and people here realize it. Victoria is also the capital city of British Columbia so it sees a lot of political action too. The last few years, the wholesale clearcutting of several of the few remaining ancient rainforests has sparked Vancouver Island and the whole of Canada into a struggle to find a solution to an urgent problem. People here have had to become quite creative in their activism. Many realize there is no time to delay. Gone means gone forever. In the wake of this situation, hemp has moved to the forefront of solutions. Since 1994, fields of hemp grew on Canadian soil. There is still plenty of research to be done but that is just a matter of time. Laws are starting to change and the populous is awaking to address this issue and decide the fate of their island and perhaps provide a working model of sustainability to the world.


This structure is a yurt. Functional, secure, comfortable housing. It looks like something in between Genghis Khan’s Mongolian hut and something from a Dr.Suess book. This particular yurt is covered by a poly/cotton/nylon blend canvas but it could be covered with the true hemp cannabis canvas to provide inexpensive, movable living and work space almost anywhere in the world. This particular yurt is in a state park near sand dunes on the rolling Oregon coast.


So on we go, driving past borders, forests and clearcuts, rocks and water. Pulling west, we head towards the open coast. Then, turning south, we cross a long bridge across the delta of the mighty Columbia River, watching as it collides with the immensity of ocean.

The Oregon Coast and hills are known for being a haven for free-thinkers, travellers, homesteaders, artists and writers. Certainly with Eugene’s reputation of being a think-tank for alternative action, hemp must be going on in some neat way.

Around Eugene, the fertile Williamette Valley once produced abundant crops of flax and but this is no small town anymore, Cottage industries have re-adjusted to sustain themselves against the onslaught of big corporations. Hempsters here have found ways to involve their activist goals and organic ideals into new business ideas.


Portland is a kind of strange name for a city thats not really a Port, but the early 1990s, it was here that the first shipments of hempen cloth arrived on american shores in almost 50 years. As it goes, after the enthusiastic ww2 hemp for victory campaign, hemp cultivation and tax licenses were just no longer issued by many governments. Hempen agriculture faded away under an avalanche of postwar industry, slick new products and a barrage government disinformation.

As powerful governments spread their political and financial influence beyond national borders, Hemp growth was eradicated from many, then most countries in the western-influenced world. Like In the US, trade was halted, all strains were banned and declared A harmful narcotic. In the past decade, West coast activists and researchers pried open files, films, rumors and fields to discover this missing chapter of world history. As the cold war stumbled, global citizens opened up new channels of information & trade, importing hemp fibers and cloth from formerly distant, closed lands and developing exchange with Eastern Europe, South and Central Asia and from the cradle of hemp, China. From China, the first load of hemp cloth and fiber arrived in Portland creating an unparalleled opportunity for economies, artists and the environment. But first, some laws have to change and this takes a lot of work.


Folks from a variety of backgrounds realize that current cannabis restrictions are misguided and unjust. Many people face difficult questions like “when a loved one is sick, shouldn’t they have the medicine they need?” Well, it seems so but in most places, the authorities routinely arrest and imprison patients, treating the terminally ill like criminals.

Yet, before the over-proliferation of costly patented medicines and synthetic drugs, cannabis was a common ingredient in the world’s pharmacology. Even Queen Victoria used weed to soothe her ailing cramps. Well, in some states, compassion and common sense are winning as voters have empowered doctors to act in the best interest of their patients and prescribe cannabis as needed. Now, patients afflicted with cancers, glaucoma, HIV & Aids, MS and others ailments can be treated with respect. This is a beginning and a legitimate relief for the thousands of ill people who rely on the soothing, healing properties of this non-toxic herb. making their body, and human rights stronger.

Here in Olympia, people from many walks of life have envisioned what hemp can do for their families and leapt into action. Unlikely citizens running for political office, opening shops, sponsoring local teams, promoting events, challenging the courts, outreaching to the community. After all, if you knew about something that could help the planet and sick people, wouldn’t you tell someone about it?


For decades, hemp information was passed on like folk tales and rumors. Later people began educating themselves from a few books, periodicals and leaflets. These days the wide reach and accessibility of the Internet has made legitimate, verifiable facts available around the globe. Further use of the world wide web and email provide an effective means for far-flung activist groups, researchers and businesses to compare notes and strategies, promote projects, publish reports and even make films.


Seattle has grown up from a North-Western outpost known for rain, salmon and airplanes into a big-league home to a unique combination of digital high-tech, adventure sports & rough and real pop culture. Underground is real life here. This juxtaposition creates an ideal location for the dozens of hemp companies & stores based here. Companies that reflect Seattle’s personalities and hemp’s versatility.

Port Townsend:

Rushing towards the future of planet earth, we humans have implemented engineering works & technologies to provide for our perceived energy & consumer needs. Giant dams for power, off-shore oil wells, vast clearcuts for paper pulp, broken promises to the land, to workers, to ourselves. Nuclear reactors too spread across the world under a smokescreen of safety.

Only decades later do we begin to realize the environmental catastrophe of radioactive waste. Is the energy really worth the tradeoff of filthy rivers & barren land. Which really scares you more? Hemp plants or nuclear plants?

Our health and legacy are worth a wise decisions. Certainly the prospect of producing energy and fuel from a renewable robust plant like hemp deserves attention and research. Hemp fuels and oils are working, now. Port Townsend faded after the timber & pulp industry slowed but it again flourishes, this time with a sustainable mix of creative arts, tourism and wooden boats. Hemp fit right in with the local aesthetic and is already a common sight around town.


Somewhere around here is a line that chops the land into two separate countries and two different sets of rules. There are laws now about free trade between these nations but it doesn’t seem that open to me. These borders are drawn with little regard to bioregions, habitat, or even transport practicalities, aspects worth considering as we define the future trends of industry and trade.

Vancouver is a prosperous city on the vibrant Pacific Rim. Long renowned for it’s fine harbors, clean, safe streets and majestic peaks, in the last decade or so, Vancouver has grown into a international, multi-cultural metropolis, poised to become a positive example to urban centers worldwide.

The cannabis industry is flourishing here, but it’s not industrial hemp that’s growing. In this city alone, there are an estimated 3,000 grow houses producing abundant crops of THC-laden marijuana. Vancouver chooses to handle this with tolerance, education and harm reduction, placing marijuana arrests as a low priority. While Industrial hemp production currently lags behind, retailing and manufacturing of hemp products is taking off as inventive new business hit the market almost daily. In this atmosphere of commerce, tolerance, ecology and optimism, the Commercial and Industrial Hemp Symposium convened to find balance between these aspects and catapult the industry into the next century.

HempenRoad Paper Covers

Paper Images: Great fun for ‘puter screen desktops.

— there’s a part in the film with many magazine & book covers, photos and other hemp stuff, here they are in a raw state.

Briefing about the HempenRoad

A briefing on the HempenRoad

Early 97 —

The Hempen Road is a journey of discovery. Maybe more of a path in thought but mostly pavement in our highway reality. Like explorers and pilgrims throughout the ages, we’ve set out to realize the truth and share it to the masses. We film this.

“We” means me, Dave and partner Eiji, the filmaker. This is a multi-media film which shows the reality of the Hemp Industry, here and now. You’ll be able to see it soon. Our first journey leads us to the great Northwest, Cascadia. We’ll be going to California soon, then to Japan sometime after that, and then . . .

This is a festival quality film and we are mixing up a brew of 16mm, Super8, Hi8 video, 35mm photos, scanned images and WWW docs and all kinds of surprises. Hold on. It will be a film you can watch with your grandma or your boss who wears a tie. This is info and entertainment. Relax and have fun with it. Oh yeah, its won’t be boring either. Imagine a brew of a travel journal, a documentary film, a music video, a science project and rapid eye movement. Got it?

As we travel the coast , we are finding a potential waiting to explode. In the business reality of things, we’re seeing jobs, customers, orders, products, factories, projects, importing, computers, invoicing, making, selling. Ideas and dreams into realities. This is not a film about what hemp has done in the past or might do in the future. This is a contemporary portrait of a budding industry and a forum for thought as to what comes next.

How does the business of hemp work? Could a domestic market thrive? Is Hemp really as strong as they say? Who is making this stuff? What’s next? What can I do? Why not? Oh yeah, what exactly is hemp? We see pockets and communities building up around a support for hemp and re-thinkng ways of commerce.

We’re meeting a lotta different ages, colors, flavors and styles of people. Lot of different ideas and thoughts We’re showing the faces and personalities behind plenty ingenious and exciting Hemp products. Lots of groovin stores and other operations too. Vibrant atmospheres and quality goods. The west coast backdrop rolls along as we check-out the beauty of the Cascadia bio-region. The snowcapped volcano peaks, sand and rock coastline, blue herons and cedars. We also see the clearcuts, the belching logging trucks hauling loads of infant firs from the forests, careening down twisty, rainy roads. We see off to the roadway is the Satsop nuclear something or other with a well placed wetlands preserve in its shadow.

There is work to do. We will be finishing up the Hempen Road sometime Spring 1997. The plan is to first release to festivals and independant theatres. Then everywhere. I think you’ll like it, no matter who you are. Enjoy Knowledge!

HempenRoad press release — February 1997

HempenRoad press release —
For Immediate Media Release, February 1997

A film leaping into the world of Hemp
North American West Coast 1996-97

Now in Production

Beginning November 1996, writer / hempster Dave Olson and multi-media film-maker Eiji Masuda hit the road to create an exciting and unique hemp adventure. The project became a feature length documentary film about the contemporary, commercial, industrial hemp scene. A portrait of the people and products of a re-emerging tradition.

The Hempen Road promises to be a fast paced, artistically created and contemplative story of the commercial hemp industry and the people in it.

With everyone from CNN to Giorgio Armani talking about hemp, this film will capture and chronicle a reemerging industry and put a human face behind the excitement and controversy of fiber hemp on the verge of the next century.

Eiji and Dave continue to shoot many segments along the left coast from Victoria, B.C. to San Diego, CA. including Seattle, Eugene, Portland, Bellingham and Vancouver and are finding exciting products and interesting people along the way.

While traveling and filming the west coast scenery, the crew will stop along the way to visit and film hempy people. The film will feature an entertaining variety of the “best and brightest” in this emerging industry. Included are makers, educators, sellers, designers, activists, writers, sewers, botanists, publishers, marketers and anyone else involved with the industrial applications of the cannabis plant.

Further, the film will demonstrate or explain the processes of making many inventive hemp products from flour to lip balm to bike chain lube to backpacks to paper to clothes to fancy clothes to soap to media to boutiques to fiberboard.

The finished film will be a combination of 16mm, Hi8 video, Super8, still 35mm photos, WWW documents and feature an original music soundtrack ( perhaps CD) and a booklet of information about hemp and the companies & organizations filmed.

A preview of the film is scheduled to be shown at the Vancouver Symposium in Feb. 1997 and be shown at similar events internationally.

The finished product will be available early Spring for distribution to the media and industry for review. Then, shortly thereafter, to the general public through film festivals, art theater release and on video.

This project is produced and marketed through the Giggling Piglet Durable Goods Co-Op, an international marketing and idea factory in co-operation. Please contact with any inquiries.
Produced in patnership with Eijindo Films and Hemp.Net.

Review From: HempWorld Magazine, Summer 1998

Hemp World magazine, Mari Kane, Publisher
Summer ’98 Volume 4, Issue 1

Summer Hemp Videos by Rose Ann Fuhrman

Produced by the HempenRoad Film Project

The Hempen Road – produced, written and narrated by Dave Olson – is an earnest, down-home movie that you can “send your grandma or congressperson,” as the video jacket suggests. If your congressperson is captured by homespun sincerity, he or she might watch and learn something. But careful about giving Grandma the impression she isn’t hip; some grandmas are among our most steadfast and knowledgeable activists.

In The Hempen Road, you’ll travel the back roads and main roads of Southwest Canada and the Northwest US and be invited behind the scenes to: meet Ian Hunter — hemp store owner and mayoral candidate in BC; enter kitchens where hemp seeds are a staple; visit Odette Kalman at Ecosource Paper in Victoria; watch as hemp fiber for weaving is dipped into natural indigo dye – it comes out green and turns deep blue as the air hits it, and lots more.

Well into the video the tone becomes less folksy – more political and controversial. Dennis Peron’s statement that all marijuana use is medical is quite a departure from the laid-back ramble through the Northwest.

In a segment on the Commercial and Industrial Hemp Symposium in Vancouver, visual clips from Hemp for Victory and pertinent modern images are inserted at appropriate times to complement the information being delivered by impressive international speakers at the symposium. The speakers are engaging and the video editing is effective – when you check it out, be thinking of who you can show it to.

There’s a surprise around every bend on this trip: on-the-edge jazz backs interesting visual effects of melded images. In contrast to innovative work, there are the too fast video shots like we’ve all taken, and there’s at least one moment that is downright poetic: referring to nuclear power plants, oil rigs, and clear cuts as, “Broken promises to the land, the workers, and ourselves.”

A sense of humor extends to the credits, which declare that: “All people appearing in the film are real. Any similarity to anyone else, living or dead, is not our problem. Individual comments do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Hempenroad film project, but they might.”

Review from: The Journal of the Industrial Hemp Association

Review from: The Journal of the Industrial Hemp Association

The HempenRoad
Director: Eiji Masuda
Year: 1997
Country: USA
Format: NTSC (Color)
Length: 85 mm.

Cost: $25.00 + $9.00 P&H
2103 Harrison NW. Suite 2756,
Olympia, WA 98502
Tel:+l (360) 705-3804

Content: This is as much a travelogue of the Pacific northwest as it is a hemp video. The opening credits, soundtrack and narration give a good idea of what is in store: a collage of images, sounds and ideas. The video is a whirlwind tour of many northwestem hemp businesses.

Some of the more interesting segments include an introduction to Ian Hunter, an activist running for mayor and owner of the Sacred Herb in Victoria BC.; Ecosource paper’s Odette Kalman’s discussion of hemp for paper pulp; and the Oregon Tax Act folks discussing marijuana. Cheryl Kolander at Aurora Dyeworks, offers a demonstration of the indigo-dyeing of hemp. WHEN, the Washington Hemp Educational Network presents a discussion of marijuana as medicine with Dennis Peron.

Finally, the video moves on to the 1997 Commercial and Industrial Hemp Symposium with speakers Geof Kime of Hempline, Jace Callaway discussing his oil seed crop, Richard Kozlowski of the Natural Fibers Institute, Mari Kane of Hempworld, and John Stahl with the Greenman Paper mill, on paper products, Brian McLay of the Canadian Pulp and Paper Association, “Dr.” Alexander Sumach, Mrs. Jean Peart of Health Canada, David Watson of the IHA and Brian Taylor, mayor of Grand Forks, BC. The symposium ended with closing statements by Sotos Petrides of Wiseman Noble.

Hempenroad: Credits, Bands, Makers

About the HempenRoad film project

Who made it — short credits and bios on the filmmakers as well as the support crew

Who’s in it — all the people the film talks to and where that was

Songs and bands — band credits and all we know about the bands


Eiji Masuda, Filmmaker

Eiji Masuda is an independent filmaker, originally from Tokyo, Japan. He is now studying and creating in Olympia, Washington, affiliated with The Evergreen State College’s Multi-Media program. His work is known for the combination of honest heart and soul, compelling topics as well as unique image and composition editing. His credits include the presentation of “A Spirit of A Chick” at the Olympia Film Festival. Eiji has also published several full-length books of stories and prose in Japanese language. Masuda’s Space-Frog Multi-media has also recently completed a documentary about the Japanese Tea Ceremony tradition in North America & Japan. Next is a documentary about a hotel in downtown Seattle that was a during the internment camp era of WW2.

Dave Olson, Writer / Producer

Dave Olson is a global-roaming, writer, craftsmaker, producer, farm hand, educator, tour guide . . . He has recently published definitive research on Hemp Culture in Japan. Upcoming publications include: “Travels in Palau,” “January in the Hot Springs,” a collection of Haiku-ish poems and “The Adventures of Uncle Weed,” an eco-hero for all ages. Dave has collaborated on several film projects while at Univ. of Utah and R.I.S.D., played percussion in a few bands, given many spoken word readings and fire juggling performances. Olson also runs “Internet Adventures,” an Internet training & Web design workshop in Olympia Wa. Now continuing to create the Giggling Piglet Durable Goods Co-Op, Dave hopes to bring a new model of commerce to the planet with the marketing of unique, durable hempen-ware and the production of genuine, creative projects.

Misa Nakanishi contributed additional filming, art direction, cover design and other creative & production duties.

Naoyo Masuda contributed photographs of many segments.

Pat Wood handled video sleeve layout & production and material printing duties.

Ben Livingston contributed WWW graphics

The HempenRoad film project’s Executive Producer is Robert Lunday. Robert is founder and SysOp for Hemp.Net based in Seattle, WA. He is leader in many grassroots activist campaigns as well as a provider of Internet access.

Directed, Filmed, Edited — Eiji Masuda

Produced, Written, Narrated — Dave Olson

Executive Producer — Robert Lunday

Additonal filming & art direction — Misa Nakanishi

Additional Photography — Naoyo Masuda

Vid box Layout, Design & Printing — Pat Wood

WWW Graphics — Ben Livingston


HempenRoad Cascadia journay features:

Victoria, Vancouver Isle, BC
* Ian Hunter
* Sarah Hannah Bedard
* Odette Kalman
* Eric Hughes
* Alice Bracegirdle

Eugene, Oregon
* Todd Dalotto
* Carolyn Moran
* Bruce & Diedre Mullican

Portland, Oregon
* Paul Stanford
* Cheryl Kolander
* Chris Iverson

Olympia, Washington
* Charles Tomala, Jay Stewart, Scott Orr
* Bob Owen
* Dennis Peron

Seattle, Washington
* David Edwards
* S.David Stunda
* Rob Jungman
* Khamphy S.
* Tom Cluck

Vancouver, BC

* Mari Kane
* Mosse Mellish
* Many International Speakers at the Commercial Industrial Hemp Symposium


HempenRoad Sountrack Music by . . .

* Phat Sidy Smokehouse

* JahWah

* Elemental

* Chris Sullivan

* Bread Mountain

* 420 Love

* Chris Jacobsen

* Old Time Relijun

* Collective Shoe

* J. Williamson Ensemble

* Systolie Diastolie

* and more . . .


HempenRoad Trailer Clip (1996)

HempenRoad clip from uncleweed on Vimeo.