Category Archives: Cannabis + Culture

extended essays about cannabis culture for several magazines and books, ergo: hemp in Japan, snowboarding, longboarding, cannabis travel expeditions and related

Exhibit: contributions to “Cannabis Japonica” at Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum, Barcelona

Opening "Cannabis Japonica"
I’ve got this (almost) exact same outfit!

The Hash Marihuana and Hemp Museum in Barcelona (also in Amsterdam) is featuring an exhibit called “Cannabis Japonica – A fashionable journey through Japan’s cultural ties with the cannabis plant” on display until 26/02/2023

I was invited by curator Ferenz Jacobs to contribute some stories and items from my extensive archive and numerous essays to which i readily agreed (though my work/research is not currently active/ambitious though i have a few lines of investigation for *some other time*).

Blurb: The highlight of the Barcelona Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum’s 10th anniversary celebrations will be the exhibition “Cannabis Japonica”. On view from May 12, 2022 to February 26, 2023, the presentation leads visitors on a fashionable and fascinating journey through Japan’s cultural ties with the cannabis plant.

Excerpt: 

A well-known Japanese children’s adventure story tells of a technique used by ninjas to improve their jumping skills. The student ninja plants a batch of hemp when he begins training and endeavours to leap over it every day. At first, this is no challenge, but every day the hemp grows quickly – and so must the ninja’s jumping ability. By the end of the growing season, the warrior can clear the 3 to 4-metre high hemp.

Continue reading Exhibit: contributions to “Cannabis Japonica” at Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum, Barcelona

Letter: regarding eco-carpetbaggers, money-focused orgs, talk – action = zero, etc

Written as a letter to a friend, somehow thought good idea to put here so i don’t lose it. Not sure but hey… no one’s paying attention anyhow.

Might be scenic but still a dump

Hey [redacted],

I hear you on these hypocrites, bootlickers and carpet baggers who talk a big game but at the end of it, they spend all their “organizations energy on managing the organization” rather than actually doing stuff.

I learned a long time ago (somehow) in my punk rock youth that “talk minus action equals zero” and in that same youth, was idealistic enough to want to actively support a lot of different organizations in Utah and BC but every time I went to volunteer my (then healthy and strong) body for action (i.e. put me on those anti-whaling ships! send me out on desert missions! put me on a lookout tower!) the only answer was “you can help with fundraising… Why don’t you go door to door and ask for money?” Not impressed.

And, years later, I still see the same organizations spending all their money begging for money. E.g. After all my years of working to normalize cannabis, I see the suits and celebrities jumping into the mix and congratulating themselves and I wonder: where the fck were you on those rainy days at the capital decades ago? Where were you lobbying and writing letters and to policymakers and showing up at inane committee meetings? I hear you are running your mouth about stock prices and making cute branded labels for your factory growing weed blah blah blah.

As such, somehow I realize that despite my usual social and community-building nature, when it comes to getting shit done, I just do what I want to do on my own terms and float out into the world and don’t expect to see an impact for decades later. Been this way for my documentary films, punk rock fanzines, chap books of poetry and other arts and crafts… + Realized that I could be an artist who spends half of his time applying for grants and sending and submissions to be rejected (another quarter of my time complaining about the injustice of it all) or else I could just go hustle some day job for temporary times (goodness know i’ve had a few) and make art on my own terms and put it out there without any expectation of acceptance or money. Fuck Stats, Make Art.

Somehow I almost accidentally ended up this way as I teased with a flirting level of fame before vanishing again. Seldom seen indeed. I think of Henry David Thoreau self publishing 100 copies of Walden, dead at 37, no one remembers his contributions to pencil making or the impact that came hundred plus years later. That’s the kind of hero.

After being gone for Utah from sometime and ending up back there in recent years after my Mom died and hiding out, i saw all the precious places polluted by REI shopping yuppi3s and credit card wielding “ski bums” who think they’re making a difference by voting for “that other party”, left again as fast as I could and proclaimed my lifelong dream to never go back to Logan (the only town I’ve ever been busted for weed).

I even went to my favourite holy sacred hot spring up fifth water diamond fork on trails that I literally helped build and pools that I hauled up bags of cement to shore up the rocks to find it overflowing with BYU students, I stripped down to my naked self and took a nice shower in the waterfall and all my splendour and quickly cleared the area out for a nice leisurely soak. There’s a metaphor in there somewhere.

how to clear out an hot spring… (photo with Lomo sardine can spy camera)

All this is to say that I see you and hear you and admire you and you got a guy out here respecting your work and your life and understanding what you’re laying down about Lycra knuckleheads with their lawyers and mortgages.

Told a younger friend the other day who’s getting caught up in the rat race that all these asshole billionaires that end up in the news about not paying taxes or going to space, they’re all bunch of workaholics who never see their family, never just to get hang out in a barn with an illicit smoke and some used records, and hell my mother-in-law cooks as well as any restaurant and the best views are for free. And if you want to be all fancy, I built a house on a tropical island one time for $50K and another time for $70K, you can’t buy a carport most places for that. You can get your own campland near Gary’s outpost near Shasta for under 100… I’ll tell you about Paradise, the way John Prine sings about it. Move to the country, grow peaches… work little except for the real work.

That’s my riff/rant/spiel, yer pal, daveo

Pub: “Hemp for Victory” (contrib’d re: Japan), 2006

Pub: “Hemp for Victory” (contrib’d re: Japan), 2006 / cover

Somewhere around 2006 author Kenyon Gibson reached out about a project was co-writing called “Hemp for Victory” asking about the history of hemp cannabis in Japan and related artifacts.

I had recently published my original research about hemp culture in Japan in Cannabis Culture magazine, Journal of International Hemp Association, Hemp Horizons and other outlets and was happy to share my resources and knowledge.

A couple years later, in Brighton England and stopped into a hemp store and saw the book there for the first time on the shelf, opened it up and saw an image from my collection in the flyleaf alongside at foreword by Woody Harrelson.

I got in touch with Mr. Gibson who lives in London and stopped by his flat with Max Freakout and a fella from a hemp shop in Camden. Over tea, we recorded an extensive podcast interview with this gent who can riff on so many topics. I received a copy or two of the book, signed etc. which i suggest is among as well-done a book as there is on the topic.

Pub: “Hemp for Victory” (contrib’d re: Japan), 2006 / flyleaf, signed

I’ve shared snippets from the Japan section for personal archival purposes and to encourage you to track down a copy of this book for your library.

Pub: “Hemp for Victory” (contrib’d re: Japan), 2006 / Dave Olson collection on the left and Woody Harrelson foreword on the right

Continue reading Pub: “Hemp for Victory” (contrib’d re: Japan), 2006

Glad to See CBD in Japan

In 1993, i began researching and uncovering the unique history of Cannabis in Japan, later (1998-2004) publishing my treatise “Hemp Culture in Japan” in several magazines and books (with encouragement from John Roulac and collaborations with Joe Wein and others).

At the time, hemp was still very taboo and only a secret crop used for the emperor’s new clothes (really).

Now, some decades later, hemp culture is so very alive in Japan with dozens of licensed crops, trade associations, conference forums, film screenings, museums and gentle activism and education campaigns. I am working to connect to this community as i have much to share and learn.

Anyhow, I am a very proud uncle to see all of this.

And now coming full circle in a way, i can enjoy great quality CBD tincture delivered to my new home in Okayama – specifically from Elixinol (an Australian-based company with divisions + relationships in Japan and elsewhere) is rolling out high-quality products with great promotional materials and messaging. The potential is truly boundless.

Thanks and congrats to Paul Benhaim and Makoto Matsumaru. Please let me know how i can help your noble efforts.

PS Worth noting for the record that I deal with ME/CFS and fibromyalgia.

Dennis Peron – a few words in Memorium for a charismatic activist

Dennis Peron is/was charming, fearless and charismatic
Dennis Peron is/was charming, fearless and charismatic speaking at a Hemp event in Olympia, WA 1996 – as seen in HempenRoad

Dennis Peron – who clearly made a global impact with his efforts to normalize medical cannabis – died

An exceptional public speaker with charisma for days, goodly Dennis Peron (as seen in my documentary HempenRoad film) speaking at a Hemp event of some name or another in Olympia, Washington in 1996, just before Prop 215 passed – which was the (arguably i suppose) first big domino to fall in the cannabis legalization / normalization movement. He stood up to the government stooges with bravado and vigour and rallied disparate communities to the crusade with compassion as the central theme – a brilliant communications strategy among other things.

Dennis Peron at the podium
Dennis Peron at the podium, Oly Hemp Something, Olympia, WA 1996 – as seen in HempenRoad

Was charmed and captivated by his style and amazed at his polished & nuanced public speaking style with frankness & subtle wit. Serious topics delivered with casual ease and fierce determination. A pro in a league (at that time) of well-intentioned amateurs.

When making my lil film i wanted to give new voices a chance to share their stories and as such, avoided the then “big timers” who were churning out books and on the pulpit banging circuit, but wanted to include him as he was “not a hippie” and coming from a different direction at the problems than the usual suspects. He was gracious with his time and invited us to come to California to film part 2 – something i so very much wanted to do but never happened.

Dennis Peron in Capitol atrium
Dennis Peron in Capitol Building atrium, Olympia, WA 1996 – as seen in HempenRoad

He lived long and well but (as we all will) succumbed to a health conundrum a few days back – as i live elsewhere in the world most of the time these past years i lost track of his actions but when asked about him in SF a couple of years back, he was spoken of in revered terms usually reserved for mafia dons. Be it known, there are not many of us who can pass away knowing we changed the course of history and he is definitely one who can. He likely didnt remember our encounter (or maybe even see the film) but he made a significant impact on me as an activist and communicator.

Dave Olson looks on as Dennis Peron speaks in Olympia, WA 1996
Dave Olson looks on as Dennis Peron speaks in Olympia, WA 1996 – as seen in HempenRoad

Glad he lived to see the results of labours – while situation not perfect by any means, at least folks in majority of states can access medical cannabis safely(ish) – and/or can relocate to said states… and in many states everyone can (as he says in the doc) “self-titrate.”

PS See his bit in HempenRoad and witness charm in action at the Olympia Hemp (something) at Capitol Bldg in 1996. Go to 35:55 minute mark.

Longboard Hockey in Vancouver – Reportage Notes and Artifacts

Originally published in Heads Magazine Toke on the Porch blog on January 22, 2007

Out n’ about on assignment for a forthcoming Heads article, I witnessed a sport hitherto unknown to me which combined many activities I enjoy into one sublime recreational pursuit: full contact hockey, tasty weed, chillaxin’ and longboarding (I am a newb – just cruised the Stanley Park seawall a couple times).

Anyhow, ace photog KK+, fashionista Kdon and my rolling amigo Cousin Herb chronicled the action – both the ongoing hockey games and boarders running the six story garage kamikaze style while sliding hard stops at the bottom and riding elevator back up for another go.  Besides KK‘s tasty snapshots, I shot some video I’ll cobble together into a clip soon.

Here are a few outtakes, anecdotes and pics of the exploits:

On the stuffed elevator ride to the 6th floor, before I can pull the fattie of Chocolate Jack Herer from behind my ear, a smiling chick in blond pigtails and a Team Canada jersey sparks a beauty doobie.

Turns out she’s The Bloods’ goalie Natasha getting in another run before playing her former team, the North Shore Slashers after they finish off the Shitmix.  She doesn’t seem insane yet she eagerly faces wildmen firing beer cans at her head, “It’s nuts out there, there are no rules, everyone should try it.”

Some incredible boarders (behold the mightiness of King Brian!) and a bewildering assortment of boards, mostly Landyachtz and Rayne.

“The Meathheads” are up 2-1 thanks to a wiry dude sans helmet who snakes through defenders – hard sliding to the left while shooting off the right, one foot flying behind.

Just when it looks easy, he takes a hit goes Bobby-Orr-flying through the air onto the pavement, then leaps back up before being run down.  Turns out this savant is “King” Brian who skates for the 9-0 Chilliwack team.  He’s also the Longboard Hockey League’s defending scoring champ and frequent curator of the Chanley Cup.

Besides the Longboard Hockey LeagueCoastlongboarding organizes a 4 day festival in May on the Sunshine Coast with a downhill race, championship hockey game and punk bands at a reserved campground at Danger Bay.

I ask another Chilliwack Meathhead called Tyson what possesses them to drive out from the farthest burb of Chilliwack – a town I remember mostly for grow houses and cow shit – “it’s about the community” he says rolling up a huge cone from my ample first aid kit of bud.  His buddy adds, “Yeah, all we do is skate and smoke weed.”

Sounds good to me, pulling a hoot with my head fogged and face grinning. “Good stuff” he says, as i dodge a bearded dude on a six wheel skateboard barrelling down the garage ramp.

An intriguing evening at the LHL games for sure – I spread the custom Heads rollies around Cousin Herb rolled up the aforementioned Chocolate Jack Herer using the “made in Spain” Raws and those clear rolling substrates I’ve become so fond of.

Of course, I recorded interviews and action for a forthcoming Choogle on with Uncle Weed podcast.  Recent episodes make fine companions to my HeadFirst articles, “Rebagliati Positive for 2010” and “Zen Rambling in Japan.”   Check out “International Heads and Hemp Oil – Choogle on #34” for some behind the scenes commentary and anecdotes from the articles plus my interview with Ross is at “Coffee talk with Gold Medalist Ross Rebagliati.”

Enjoy!

Rebagliati Positive About 2010 in “Heads – the Marijuana Lifestyle magazine”

Ross article - Heads magazine cover

My article “Rebagliati Positive About 2010” was published in “Heads – the Marijuana Lifestyle magazine” Vol. 6 Issue 10 “The Stoned Cold Issue.”

Like “Zen Rambling in Japan” the Ross article is the “Head First” lead article and over 3000 words and I also managed one photo in there (the one with the big nug). A great layout and Kris Krug‘s fine shots of a candid Ross frame the article nicley indeed.

The article discusses 1998 Nagano Olympic snowboard gold medalist and Canadian sporting legend, Ross Rebagliati’s quest for 2010 Olympics in Whistler/Vancouver plus his training routine, fundraising efforts, quest to make the team role on tour and recreational interests.

Importantly, he breaks down the events and emotions of the big shakedown in Nagano. Hear more about the fallout from his positive marijuana test from an interview I did in Vancouver during the 2006 Turin games.

Ross article, Heads magazine Continue reading Rebagliati Positive About 2010 in “Heads – the Marijuana Lifestyle magazine”

“Hemp Ed” Chronicling the Good Fight ~ Originally in Heads Magazine Tokes on the Porch blog

Note: Originally appeared in (now-defunct) Heads Magazine in “Uncle Weed’s Tokes on the Porch” blog —  March 12, 2007 (cached)

Bonus: A podcast i recorded with Ed back in the day: Bacon, Biscuits and Hemp Ed – Choogle on #39

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 worked 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.”

Dave & Ed again
Dave & Ed in Oly

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.

Hemp Ed van

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 (effectively 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.

Zen Rambling in Japan ~ Originally in Heads Magazine

Authour’s intro in Heads Magazine
Authour’s note: This article “Zen Rambling in Japan” by me Dave Thorvald Olson originally appeared in Heads Magazine (now defunct) in the Vol. 6, Issue 4, circa: Spring 2006, as the cover story for the Travel Issue. The iteration below is a late-version draft rather than the (apparently misplaced) submitted final version so there are some minor errors. This article is also markedly different from my “classic” Hemp Culture in Japan articles (see below) as this all original piece concentrates on modern times and practical tips rather than focusing on history and cultural change. Heads did a beauty lay-out (excerpt scans included) and added several ancillary articles about Japanese culture in the issue. I’ll try to add in the photos where {indicated} in the article. Be wary and read all the safety tips and caution closely – neither the Japanese police or Yakuza are to be trifled with but, if you keep it chill the good times are in store. Ganbatte! dvo, June 2010, Vancouver.

More Hemp in Japan

Hemp Culture in Japan – a 1992-7 ground-breaking treatise on the history and cultural significance of hemp in Japan is available in .html or .pdf . For alternate versions, visit JapanHemp.org, a site dedicated to Hemp in Japan. Published in Cannabis Culture magazine (#13 & Best of …), the Journal of International Hemp Association (V.4 N.1), as well as excerpted in several books including Hemp Horizons (USA), Hemp for Victory (UK) and “Hanp” from Norway.

Zen Rambling in Japan - Heads magazine cover Continue reading Zen Rambling in Japan ~ Originally in Heads Magazine

M. Emery’s press conference at BC Supreme Court pre-extradition to USA

Marc Emery hugs his "drug war widow" Jodie EmeryI attended Marc Emery’s press conference this morning before he had to surrender to the courts and while i am not a huge enthusiast of his personal style and tactics, this is a massive injustice and needs to be discussed sensibly.

Very poignant and sad to see him have to say goodbye to his wife Jodie for several years while serving time far from home in a US prison for “aliens.” Sad day for Canada and freedom advocates everywhere.

After from the remarks and questions, Marc Scott Emery was formally taken into custody and taken to a holding facility to await extradition transfer and sentencing in a US court based on a plea arrangement giving him 5 years in an “alien” jail.

He implored the assembled advocates and media to seek his transfer back to Canada to serve his sentence rather than submit to the USA punishment for the charge of selling cannabis seeds to “overgrow the government.”

Here are a few snapshots from the Marc Emery’s press conference at BC Supreme Court pre-extradition to USA on Sept. 28 2009

There were many grassroots and mainstream media assembled so i expect more audio, video and photos to come. I recorded some audio and will release on a future Choogle on podcast.

Marc Emery awaits extradition to the USA