June 22, 2012

Sustainable Business: Hemp Fashion with Jungmaven

Talking Hemp Fashion with Jungmaven

Hemp fiber has been woven into fabrics since 8000 BC, according to archaeologists. American history shows Betsy Ross, the original White House First Lady, stitching the stars and stripes into a flag made from Hemp fabric. At that time, colonial laws required that farmers grow Hemp. Hemp fabric was used for clothing the military. Until prohibition, everyone wore something made of Hemp!

Since the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 was enacted, activists, politicians and business owners have attempted to separate Hemp from its cousin plant, marijuana, so that American farmers could grow Hemp and Factories could produce products made from Hemp.

Hemp is considered one of the most durable fabrics known to man. It is resistant to mold and mildews, holds up over long periods of time and maintains its style.

Many industrialized nations are currently enjoying the economic and environmental benefits of growing Hemp and manufacturing products from the Hemp plant. Through those concerted efforts of entrepreneurs, politicians, lobbyists, investors and activists, Hemp fabrics are now able to be imported into the United States and fashion designers have been able to create many new clothing and accessory lines.

Hemp Fashion with Jungmaven

Hemp Inc.’s Stephanie Bishop recently had the chance to speak with a pioneer in the Hemp fashion industry, Robert Jungmaven. From Coast to Coast, Robert has taken his love of nature, an internal drive to make the World a more sustainable place and his practical design strategies to Nature Lovers everywhere, making his mark in the outdoor clothing industry with Hemp.

SB: How long have you been working with Hemp Fabrics?

RJ: There are pivotal moments in life that change you forever. Being introduced to industrial Hemp in 1992 is one of those for me. I began working with Hemp while in Seattle. American Hemp Mercantile had just opened up in Pioneer Square. They loaned me a bolt of 100% canvas and I made a simple rope wallet called the “Chenga”. The wallets started selling and someone from MTV ordered 1,000 for MTV Spring Break. I had to scramble and find a factory. Chenga was my first brand, all-in-all I started. Since then I have designed or have been involved with six Hemp clothing brands: Chenga, Manastash, Two Jupiters, Phatee, Cobano and now Jungmaven.

SB: Why did you choose Hemp as a base for your business?

RJ: I moved from Phoenix, AZ to Seattle my freshmen year in high school. My family’s love of hiking, got me into mountain biking, camping/hiking, rock climbing while at Central Washington University. Over the years you couldn’t help but notice there were less trees around. Washington State was being clear-cut to death and I was enthralled by trees. Companies like Weyerhaeuser would later apologize for being too aggressive with deforestation. An environmental professor at CWU one day during class said, “America could stop clear-cutting by growing industrial hemp for wood, paper supplies, fuel and food.” It was a like a light bulb went off! I knew exactly what I was going to do! I began making hemp rock-climbing chalk bags, hydration packs for mountain biking and clothing out of Hemp. Friends asked for products and so a Hemp clothing company was born.

SB: You have a manufacturing plant in Los Angeles, but have to import the hemp materials from other countries. How has this affected your business?

RJ: We sub-contract out with factories in the USA to build Jungmaven products. Everything Jungmaven is American Made. It’s a billion dollar a year industry and quickly growing. American Farmers are missing out on it. Subsequently, they are the ones who have to demand to grow hemp to make Industrial Hemp legal in America again. As far as affecting my business.. I don’t think it has affected our business at all, we buy from the market that is already in place. It is what it is. It’s just a shame that industrial hemp, an American natural resource that once was required by law to grow in Virginia is illegal grow today.

SB: A lot of your clothing is a blend of Hemp and other materials. What are some of your favorite blends and why?

RJ: love the hemp/wool blends, but I like 100% hemp the best. I am coming out with a 100% hemp t-shirt, Spring 2013.

SB: Since you began your Hemp clothing business, many aspects of Hemp fashion have changed. What are some of the changes for the better?

RJ: Hemp has become more main stream and that’s exactly what we all have been working toward. I’ve always gone after the outdoors market building products that last and work for a long time. The Outdoor Market is “IN” fashion right now and that plays well for these tough Hemp clothing lines. During down economies people are looking for something that will hold up over time, looks good and does not go out of style. Hemp products can be exactly that.

SB: You have moved to New York City this past year to be closer to the fashion industry this past year, why?

RJ: I work within a showroom in NYC that is helping us bring Hemp products to a broader market. We sell to fashion boutiques, outdoor shops, high-end lifestyle stores in an effort to introduce hemp shirts as a basic T. It’s just a shirt, but, it’s a shirt that is made of hemp and if more people wear it more hemp will be grown.

SB: What is new and up and coming in the World of Hemp fashion?

RJ: The new Jungmaven Henley is coming out this Fall/Winter. There are many new blended fabrics coming out these days that’s giving designers more opportunity.

SB: What advice would you give to new businesses breaking into Hemp fashion?

RJ: Be passionate about what you do. Make phone calls and visit the customers in person. One-on-one is crucial. Get to know the buyers and people who are selling your products on the floor, listen to them and what they are hearing from the customers buying your products. Do trade shows and get involved in the industry you choose. Look outside the box, there is opportunity in everything that is happening in the world, it’s fun looking for it and helping it evolve.

SB: Obviously, we need to repeal cannabis prohibition laws. How would this positively affect your business?

RJ: When I hear Cannabis I hear marijuana, I think of the smoking, medical and the recreational drugs associated with marijuana. When I hear Industrial Hemp I hear fuel, fiber and food and not marijuana. One has to be clear with defining these two if they want to see change happen in either industry. The two are a completely different subjects and plants and must be separated.

Jungmaven Products can be found online at www.jungmaven.com 

This article was originally posted on www.hemp.com and can be found here. 

May 25, 2012

Sustainable Hemp Buildings Improve Air Quality and Reduce Water Damge Pollutants for Healthier Living Standards

Building with industrial hemp products is a way to create a more sustainable way of life for human beings. Most Hemp building products are carbon negative products, often regulating the air quality and keep water issues from causing real damage in a building. 

Currently being used in construction projects in countries like France, South Africa, The United Kingdom, Canada and the US, Hemp buildings have an unlimited life expectancy and cost less to construct. 
Here, I have listed some of the most common hemp building products on the market today with reasons why more buildings should be constructed using these materials.


HempCrete is made by mixing hemp hurds, the interior of the stalk, with Lime creating solid building walls lasting thousands of years. The process was developed in France over a decade ago and has picked up in popularity as more hemp buildings are constructed in countries all over the World.  The lime in Hempcrete is constantly trying to turn into rock as a part of the petrifaction process. It needs carbons to accomplish this task, so it extracts them from the air both on the inside and outside of the building. This makes a Hempcrete wall what experts call “a breathable wall structure”, an environmentally sustainable product with a negative carbon foot print. 

In the following video, Ian Pritchard, Chairman and Technical Director of Lime Technologies based in the UK explains how HempCrete creates a breathable wall structure. 

Breathable wall structures improve air quality all around the building. As the lime extracts carbons from the air over time, the results are removed toxins dangerous to human beings and cleaner air all around. Airborne allergies would decrease for those living in or around hemp buildings. 

Another benefit to a hemp building is its vapor permeability. Breathable wall structures mediate moisture issues by allowing water to escape without causing damage. For these reasons, hemp buildings do not have mold, mildew or dry rot, issues most common in areas of high humidity or with damp conditions. Termites and other wood pests are not a problem, either. 

The walls density is 91lbs per cubic foot making it one of the best insulators on the market. Hemp walls change temperature very slowly, so if the exterior temperature is fluctuating between extremes, the interior will not be affected. 

The best part of a hemp building? It’s biodegradable, compostable and even soil enriching! Crushed up and spread over farm fields, the lime improves the PH balance of the soil and the hemp material will break down naturally adding to the organic qualities of the soil. 

Hemp fiber boards 

“The industrial hemp entrepreneurs at C&S Specialty Builders Supply "have concluded that the best alternative to wood in construction products is hemp. In fact, hemp has the potential to be vastly superior to wood for everything from lumber to plywood to particle board or any other composite construction material." C&S partners David Seber and William Conde in a published statement on the potential of building with Hemp.
The interior stalk of the hemp plant, sometimes referred to as “hurds” can be used to make medium density fiber boards known to be stronger than plywood made from lumber, water and fire resistant and undesirable to wood pests such as termites or carpenter ants.

Coupled with roll out hemp insulation, walls made with these products decompose CO2 composites in the air in the same way as HempCrete described above. The most positive environmental impact of using hemp building materials, however is the decrease in deforestation and carbon producing manufacturing techniques seen today in the timber industry.

Paints and Varnishes

Hemp seed oil has been used as a base for paints and varnishes for centuries. The 20th century saw a decline in this manufacturing technique when humanity was plagued with the unjust enactment of the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act prohibiting the growth or use of the hemp plant. Petrochemical products replaced hemp seed oil and today we are paying the price environmentally for this non-sustainable change. 

Hemp Seed Oil stains, varnishes and paints are slowly making their way back into global markets as more industrial nations repeal the harmful laws enacted by past generations. One such product is HempShield, a deck stain developed by Dave Seber, a long time activist, well known his role in acclimating hemp back into American society. Developed using materials containing only trace amounts of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) for a product with almost no negative impact on the environment. HempShield permeates the wood matter, leaving a coating of oil deep in the boards improving the performance of the wood all around. Testing showed boards treated with HempShield withstood stress tests for UV and water damage better than boards treated with traditional petroleum based products. 

Many other hemp building materials are hitting the market. If you are considering building a home, take a look at some of the links and videos posted below. Most contractors are able to easily substitute hemp products with traditional ones for a more sustainable home, improving the quality of life of those living, working on or visiting your home or business.

HempCrete Wiki 
William Conde and David Seber of C&S Partners
Find Hemp Building Materials at HempTraders.com
HempShield Deck Stain
Hemp Insulation Roll
Hemp Information and News on Hemp.com

March 20, 2012

Presenting Cannabis Issues to American Youths: Talking Points

Baobab: Tree of Generations, South Africa
"The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next." Abraham Lincoln
Recently, I was asked to give talking points for a high school presentation about Cannabis. This question was difficult and yet so important, I took my best stab at it. I thought it may help others organize their thoughts and presentations, so I am posting my notes here.

Marijuana Legalization talking points for High School Students:

When speaking with high school students, I always take a moment to look at the World from their perspective. Their World is a very dark place, their options are bleak when considering their future. These kids want to know truth and have no time for anything less. Here is an article from the NORML Women's Alliance touching on this issue. Drug Education should reflect reality not deny it.

Not one person I have met wants to be presented with anything less than the full truth. There are so many inconsistencies in what is happening in the World and the information being reported. People today are developing stronger individual media filters and figuring out their own truths. Many are following the money closely to unravel economic breakdowns and corruption, others are working to restore constitutional rights.

Constitutional Law and The New Jim Crow, a book by Michelle Alexander

It's very important to me, kids understand what has happened in the War on Drugs on a legal and constitutional level. First, when a citizen of the United States is convicted of a felony, that individual is stripped of their right to vote or participate in any political processes what so ever, be it local, State or National politics. The New Jim Crow points out the number of non-violent drug offenders serving time in Federal prisons and shows how these United States Citizens are no longer allowed to vote, get credit, buy houses or get normal jobs. Their very livelihoods have been stolen from them and recovery is near to impossible in their minds. Consider also the prison system has been privatized and is run by a corporation with shareholders ultimately pushing for a higher payout on their dividend returns. The United States Government pays these corporations a per diem rate per prisoner.

Constitutionally, Marijuana is important because it is the most stark example of government stripping a citizen's inalienable rights slowly over a period of time. For instance, medical marijuana patients are not able to get a gun, are not protected from job discrimination and are giving up their rights to proper search and seizure and due process just by presenting cannabis patient identification. Already, police raids happen on private residences where neighbors smell it. These arrests are very similar to a home invasion where armed men commit violent acts against another human being and then steal their property, cause bodily harm or worse.

All of these States who have managed to get voter approved initiatives written into regulation are doing so based on the individual State's constitutionally protected right to govern themselves outside of interference of the Federal Government. For more information on State Laws and Initiatives visit NORML's Medical Marijuana StateLaws Page.

The next issue broken down would be what does legalization really mean? I did a whole piece on the differences between legalization, decriminalization and regulation here: Medical Marijuana Laws 101 The article is meant to be a crash course in the basics.

The Science of Cannabis

Every human being out there has an Endo-Cannabinoid system, a neurological receptor system for Cannabinoids. When the Cannabinoids (THC, CBD, CBN) connects with CB1 and CB2 receptors, messages are sent to nerve systems to either speed up or slow down whatever process needs work, thereby making it medicine. That is the good news for teenagers. The bad news - this receptor system is officially under construction until around 25 years of age. Inundating these delicate chemical receptors while in their development stages could lesson the effectiveness of cannabis as a medicine when it is needed later in life.

The Economics of Cannabis

The Cannabis Industry has created more jobs in the past 10 years than any other industry sector out there in United States markets. As this budding industry expands, it will change the way people think about medicine. Unlike pharmaceutical pills received with specific dosage instructions, a patient has to create an individual relationship directly with the plant itself. Cultivating individual plant / patient relationships will expand an already healthy activist movement in spite of federal efforts to continue prohibition.

Industrial Hemp (the other cannabis cousin) would save millions of family farms all over the country. Industrial hemp products used as a source for fuel and energy would create enough sustainable business in the country to stabilize our markets. Very little would have to be done to change old manufacturing factories into hemp processing plants. America could be the leading producer of hemp textile products, building materials and diesel engine oil for transportation re-emerging in global commodity markets with a more sustainable gross domestic products than the war machine products America pimps out today.

For kids today, options for creating a sustainable livelihood strategy are limited to 1. Join the Military 2. Join a Street Gang 3. Prison 4. Working for less than what they are worth in non sustainable business sectors. It's important these kids understand what is happening in their World, so they are able to co creatively design better options for their generation and those to come. Cannabis offers solutions for the future.

Debunking the Gateway Drug Theory

Marijuana as a gateway drug has been used for a long time as a way to keep the general public fearful enough to maintain prohibition. The fact of the matter is drug use can be attributed to many factors no matter the order in which the individual chose to take any drugs: environment, influence and addictive personality traits.

Here is an example of a study done in Pittsburgh on the issue. Marijuana is no gateway drug article Here is a CBS news report quoted as saying: "There seems to be this idea that we can prevent later drug problems by making sure kids never smoke pot," lead researcher Dr. Karen Van Gundy, associate professor of sociology at the university, told CBS News. "But whether marijuana smokers go on to use other illicit drugs depends more on social factors like being exposed to stress and being unemployed - not so much whether they smoked a joint in the eighth grade." University of New Hampshire study It seems the only way to keep kids off drugs is wrapped up in having strong role models, ample opportunity for spiritual growth and a comfortable environment.

Pharmaceutical use in America poses another aspect to this paradigm many choose to ignore. When a person addicted to opiates (ie: morphine, vikadin) is no longer able to obtain a prescription, they often turn to black market heroin. Doesn't that make opiates a gateway drug to heroin? Check out these statistics on pharma use in America: Project America: Pharmaceutical use statistics What cracks me up about giving these numbers to teenagers is the column describing the adults telling you marijuana is a gateway drug. 64.1% of Americans aged 45 - 64 are using prescription medications. These are the same people perpetuating the gateway drug facade.

Here is some more ammo to debunk the Gateway Theory conversation. Many people who are addicted to hard drugs like meth are using Marijuana to help them end the habit. Here is an article on the subject: Cannabis used to help meth addicts I have personally helped patients ween themselves off opiates with Cannabis medicines. I guess that makes Cannabis a gateway to recovery and good health.

In conclusion, adults should not be talking "to" their teenagers about Cannabis, but exploring the new science together. So much has been discovered about Cannabis and its relationship with human bodies since the movie Reefer Madness affected a generation's perception decades ago. Many adults are learning the Truth about Cannabis just as their children are exploring the issue. Making those discoveries together strengthens the parent child relationship in surprising and effective ways which produce long term benefits.

Kids should be encouraged to find their inner entrepreneurial spirit and cultivate their ideas. The current state of the economy dictates small businesses will be the only sustainable livelihood strategy for the future. The good old days of getting a college degree to work for the big corporations have passed this generation. Security comes when they find their inner light and follow its lead.

Please send me your thoughts, ideas and experiences presenting information to the youth via email at StephanieBishop420@gmail.com. Comments are welcome and appreciated just below the post.

March 07, 2012

Cypress Hill and Guerilla Union bring out the masses for a peaceable march for Safe Access

Hundreds of people gathered today to stand in solidarity with B Real of Cypress Hill, Guerilla Union, Americans for Safe Access and The Medicine and the Music Project at Los Angeles City Hall for a peaceful protest and march for safe access. The protest comes in response to the recent Federal crack down and a proposed ban on medical marijuana in Los Angeles and just before the Smokeout Festival, a celebration of music and culture happening Saturday, March 3 in San Bernardino, CA.

B-Real and Guerilla Union have always considered SmokeOut Festival more than a showcase of musical talent. It's a movement of individuals supportive of decriminalization. "The artists’ have the ability to reach and educate their fans and followers in their respective communities including hip-hop, rock, Latin music or dance. It’s important we employ the collective voice of the music community and bring it to the medical marijuana debate. The SmokeOut for Safe Access rally serves as another podium and another step we need to take to further our success." explains B-Real. "Bringing people together to protest denying save access to medical cannabis patients is a part of the event's greater purpose, to bring about reform of current failed drug war policies and protect patients and businesses in California who voted to establish an industry here."

Don Duncan of American for Safe Access
Teaming up with Don Duncan of Americans for Safe Access and The Medicine and Music Project made sense for this political Rally. Teams of safety monitors and peace keepers were on hand to assure participants were non-violent and respectful of law enforcement officers. Guerilla Union provides signs exclaiming "Marijuana is Medicine" and demanding the reclassification of cannabis as a schedule I drug with no recognized medicinal value.

Don Duncan took a moment to speak with me for Marijuana.inc TV about some of American's for Safe Access's current projects and what is happening on a Federal Level. ASA is involved in 2 lawsuits against the Federal Government in an effort to reschedule cannabis from a Schedule 1 substance. More information can be found here, on the Americans for Safe Access website. Keep an eye on Marijuana.inc TV for full coverage. Read the official press release from Americans for Safe Access on their media site.

B-Real, Tommy Chong and Supernatural
Many artists joined activists, attorneys and patients in the March including Tommy Chong, Attorney Bruce Margolin and Daddy X of the Cottonmouth Kings. I had a moment to March with Daddy-X and expressed my gratitude for artists willing to stand with the patients on medical marijuana. Daddy-X knows the power of the voice of the people and hopes to encourage all of his fans to get involved in the political process.

Tommy Chong was well received by the crowd. I heard one fan exclaim, "Thanks for taking one for the team, Tommy!' just upon his arrival, a reference to Tommy's recent time served for selling bongs on the Internet. Tommy served 9 month in Federal Prison for Operation PipeDream, a campaign deployed over 2,000 law enforcement officers costing over $12,000,000. Read more here.

Criminal Defense Attorney Bruce Margolin
Attorney Bruce Margolin, a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney and Director of the Los Angeles Chapter of NORML was on hand to speak to the crowd about the importance of reforming corrosive cannabis prohibition laws. His em impassioned speech was both inspiring and educational, full of praise for everyone who participated for exercising their constitutional right to peaceably assemble. Bruce has represented several high profile clients including the infamous Timothy Leary for everything from marijuana to murder and has spearheaded efforts to regulate marijuana in California. Bruce continues work from his offices in Los Angeles.

The Hemps pose with the 420 Nurses
Henry Hemp and Mrs. Hemp conducted on the street interviews with attendees asking what inspired them to come out for SmokeOut for Safe Access. Some came to support their favorite artists, others represented business leaders and patients making their voices heard in the wake of fierce attacks from the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency in recent months. Many were concerned about their constitutional rights and brought signs demanding the government reschedule cannabis. The steps of Los Angeles City Hall became a sea of signs provided by Guerilla Union and creative pieces made and carried by a very determined crowd. Medical Marijuana is a recognized part of the culture in Los Angeles, confirmed by the diversity of those willing to take time on a work day to come out and stand up against a government refusing to accept cannabis as a medicine.

Comedienne Tere Joyce
Comedian Tere Joyce conducted a live interview with Russ Bellville of the NORML Daily Stash so NORML listeners were able to be a part of the march even if only vicariously. Check out the report on NORML Daily Stash Live show website.

At the end of the March, protestors lingered around a drum circle and networked with each other before dispersing without incident. Law enforcement officers were on hand, but very respectful of the crowd who assembled. As Tere pointed out in her NORML Daily Stash news report, the cops seemed to be OK with marijuana protestors considering the recent treatment of the Occupy movement evacuated just weeks before the event. The mood was definitely mellow. 

Full photo coverage can be found on Facebook here.

February 28, 2012

2012 High Times Cannabis Cup Los Angeles Highlights

The High Times Cannabis Cup, permanently located in Amsterdam took the show on the road this weekend to Los Angeles Center Studios for 2 days of celebration, education and networking for activists, patients, enthusiasts and those simply curious about the culture and science of cannabis. The Cup is a fierce competition between growers and producers with the intent of finding the finest quality strains and concentrates California has to offer qualified patients. California patients with valid recommendations were allowed access to an outdoor area full of vendors with the newest products and services available to them and able to sample some of the best medicine in the State. Attendees learned about the latest in grow equipment, smoking accessories, glassware and gear available in the cannabis community.

One of the most valuable aspects to any High Times event is the educational seminars which provide tons of legal, medical and scientific information, plus grow classes with expert cannabis cultivators happy to help any patient or provider produce the highest quality medicine possible. I truly enjoyed the Patient's Panel featuring Dr. Allan Frankel, MD, Dr. Christine Paoletti, MD, Addison DeMoura of Steep Hill Lab and Fred Gardner, managing editor of O'Shaughnessy's speaking on the science of cannabis in respect to patients. They presented valuable information to a good sized crowd of people eager to understand the complicated dynamics of the relationship between an individual's endo-cannabinoid system and the cannabis.

Recently, in the activist community, there have been rather heated discussions of recreational use vs. medical use. Many initiatives currently collecting signatures to make it on this year's ballot involve regulating cannabis like alcohol and make it available to recreational users over the age of 21 while others are strictly written to provide safe access to medicinal patients with no language for recreational use. I asked the panel to describe how they felt about recreational use vs. medicinal use, what they tell their patients on the subject and if they had any clear guidelines. Dr. Allan Frankel's answer was the best for me, telling the audience the difference for him was the quality of cannabis used at the time. He saved his most potent strains for medicinal use and enjoyed strains with less potency during moments of relaxation. All of the panelists agreed, consuming marijuana is a personal choice and definitive on the needs and desires of the individual.

Dr.Christine Paoletti, MD is featured in the movie NORML Life where she outlines how cannabinoids work in the human body. Seeing her speak in person and meeting her after the presentation was a real treat for me.

I found B-Real of Cypress Hill hanging out in the WeedsMaps booth and had a the chance to snap a photo. Cypress Hill's Smokeout is one of the next events scheduled at the beginning of the season happening March 3 in San Bernardino. B-Real's dedication to reforming the destructive laws against cannabis use as a medicine are evident as he prepares for the Smokeout for SafeAccess rally, protest and march in Los Angeles March 1. The troops have been rallied to peaceably assemble in support of safe access in light of recent Federal crackdowns on dispensaries in the area. Smokeout happens this Saturday at the NOS Events Center in San Bernardino, CA.

The 420 FL Booth, co sponsored by Redman Medicine hosted 420 Football games during the event giving attendees the opportunity to test out their smoking skills with a little healthy competition. The rules of the game are simple, each player takes a water pipe hit and moves 1 yard up the line for scrimmage for every second he/she holds the hit before blowing out. Coughing is considered a fumble and the water pipe must be cleared in order for a player to gain yards. The games at the High Times Cannabis Cup were played with RedMan's prize cannabis, Super Bud, an extraordinary strain accentuated with honey oils (46.2% THC), hash (27.2% THC) and kief (19.2%THC) applied to a high end, certified organic strain of medical cannabis.

Cannabis Planet, located next to the 420 FL booth maintained the chill atmosphere featuring notorious 420 DJ Selekta Lou Sanchez spinning the best infusion of reggae, hip hop and 420 friendly beats. Chef Mike Deleo educated cannabis patients with medicated cooking demonstrations and sampling. Ponyboy and Red Eye from Los Marijuanos entertained the crowd while Hemp Vision TV filmed for future episodes to be aired online on Hemp Vision TV.

Upstairs in the main building MAPS created an area for art and exploration. Tea was served in front of live art demonstrations providing a calm area for rest and discussion. MAPS or the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies promotes research for treating psychological disorders such as PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) with psychedelics and cannabis. Books were available on the subject for a small donation and the exhibit featured art from all cultures serving as visual representation of positive psychedelic experiences.

High Times Cannabis Cups are always a positive experience for me and an excellent way for patients and enthusiasts to come together to see what's happening in the cannabis industry. Attendees leave with an expanded perception on the legal issues, a deeper relationship with the plant and a feeling of having been a part of something epic. Thanks to everyone at High Times for producing another fabulous event improving the quality of lives of all who participate. What a Magical Event!

January 22, 2012

Ethiopia and the International Monetary System

Modern history shows Mussolini invading Ethiopia in 1935 backed by the Vatican. US & Russia refused to honer Mussolini's claim of power. The Italians occupied the land, building roads to migrate their Citizens to the Ethiopian Plataeu until 1941 when Britain backed an army of civilians and returned Emperor Selassie to his throne. The atrocities of this war are unimaginable. Let's take a closer look st Selassie.

"When the facts of history are written Haile Selassie of Abyssinia will go down as a great coward who ran away from his country to save his skin and left the millions of his countrymen to struggle through a terrible war that he brought upon them because of his political ignorance and his racial disloyalty." (Garvey, 1937)

"Rather than being interested in reform, Selassie was interested in 'development'. This allowed him to appeal for funds to help this process. To this end hospitals, bridges, factories etc. were built, all bearing the name of the emperor. But as the money poured into Ethiopia much of it was misappropriated by Selassie and hundreds of millions of dollars found their way into his personal bank accounts. The West, however, continued to back Selassie, who they regarded as a bulwark against 'communism' in Africa."http://libcom.org/user/stefan

So far, this guy doesn't sound so great.  But how was his relationship with The International Monetary Fund? I decided to follow the money trail as an exercise in filtering my own personal truth while understanding history. I compiled my findings and opinions in the embedded slideshow below. This Rabbit Hole turned out to be more interesting than I had expected. I hope this inspires people to look at everything happening in the World from a personal and realistic perspective.

 "Rabbit where'd you put the keys girl?
And the man with the golden gun
Thinks he knows so much...."
Cornflake Girl Tori Amos

January 14, 2012

Hempsters Plant the Seed: Industrial Hemp bridges American History with Vision for a Sustainable Future

When most people think of hemp, visions of parental lectures and classroom moments with dire warnings about the evils of the drug marijuana flash through their minds. This common misconception is one of the main reasons industrial hemp is not growing throughout America today. Hemp is often confused with marijuana even though hemp contains less than 1% THC (Tetra Hydro Cannabinol), the active ingredient in marijuana. Hempsters Plant the Seed explains the differences in the two plants and sheds light on the deep connection industrial hemp has with our past while showing how hemp can help us in the future.

Hempsters Plant the Seed takes the viewer all over the country following hemp activists commiting bold acts of civil disobedience in an attempt to end the prohibition of this extremely useful plant. Hempsters introduces politicians, farmers and industry professionals all spending their time and energy educating the general public and law enforcement of the true nature of the cannabis plant. Law enforcement is represented showing officers who claim there is great confusion when trying to decide between industrial hemp plants and marijuana plants from the air when industrial hemp is grown in American farm fields. A clear case is made to debunk this theory.

Industrial Hemp Activists have made incredible sacrifices to relay their message to the masses and make change. Hempsters has a teacher fired for showing examples of industrial hemp clothing products in a class about agriculture, an activist living in an old growth tree for an extended period to keep timber companies from cutting it down and the Lakota Indian Tribe exercising their sovereign rights by planting industrial hemp crops multiple times only to have the Drug Enforcement Administration cut them down just before harvest. Woody Harrelson and representatives of Hemp Industry Association are arrested and jailed for planting industrial hemp seeds in Kentucky and Washington DC. Hempsters shows the determination and resolve of these individuals, inspiring the audience to get involved with a strong call to action.

Andy and Jake Graves, Kentucky Farmers
Hempsters goes beyond activism, showing the plight of the small American farmer competing with corporations to sustain their livelihood. The film follows Kentucky State House Bill 855 authorizing the growing of industrial hemp for research purposes sponsored by The Kentucky Hemp Collective, a highlighted organization comprised of politicians and farming families through due process in Kentucky legislature. "Since 1985 more than 250,000 farmers have lost their farms, every week 500 more farms go out of business." states Woody Harrelson. Industrial hemp would be a solution for Kentucky farmers, serving as a sustainable cash crop easily grown without the need for pesticides. Kentucky farmers point out industrial hemp is grown in 29 countries including Canada and their desire to restore the crop to American farmlands.

Most people are unaware of Kentucky's role in industrial hemp's history. At one point, the State of Kentucky was the leading producer of industrial hemp and housed the largest seed bank in the United States. In 1942, the US Military destroyed all of the seeds being stored in the State as a part of marijuana prohibition and American Farmers were unwillingly forced into corporately producing cash crops like soy, corn and tobacco. After World War II when American Farmers were ordered to grow hemp for military rope and canvas, the government destroyed all of the hemp seeds in Kentucky. If American Farmers were to return to growing industrial hemp, they would have to purchase seed stock from foreign countries.

Hempsters presents the industrial hemp plant as a solution to many tough environmental problems people face today including replacing trees as a source for paper pulp, using hemp oil in a diesel engine vehicle and substituting traditional building material with hemp products. It shows a hemp house in the process of being built with Hempcrete, hemp roofing shingles and hemp particle board. The viewer walks away with a wider understanding of the potential of industrial hemp and highlights some of its many uses.

Hempsters Plant the Seed is an excellent educational tool for activists and individuals to show when presenting industrial hemp as a sustainable solution. Every person leaves from viewing the movie with an understanding of hemp's rich history in the United States and what hemp can do for the economy, the farmers and the environment.

Cinema Libre studios, full service production and distribution company serving independent film makers, released Hempsters Plant the Seed in 2011 as a part of their EarthNOW! series. Other films released include Fuel, Gashole, End of Poverty? and NORML Life. For more information on these and other titles visit their website.

January 08, 2012

Gatewood Galbraith: Fellow Weed Warrior RIP

Kentucky's House of Representatives and Senate fell silent last Wednesday for a moment to honor Gatewood Galbraith, remembering his life and service in his beloved home State. Gatewood, an accomplished criminal defense attorney was not one to back down from a fight. His career was focused on civil liberties. He embodied truth and remained dedicated to public service throughout his life and career. 

Whether he was debating industrial hemp issues in Kentucky's political realms or leading marches to end the prohibition of the cannabis plant, Gatewood was unwavering in his resolve to inspire people to stand up for truth and preserve civil liberties. Gatewood spent his life watching his State and Country move from an agricultural agrarian society to an industrial synthetic society. Knowing these changes were politically charged for commercial purposes, he spent his time bridging the divide between these two Worlds, proclaiming himself an 'explorer for the truth in a jungle of political overgrowth.' 

Gatewood believed cannabis prohibition was a stark example of the Government overstepping its bounds to police private behavior. As a consequence of these unethical and unnecessary laws, the people have been robbed of the opportunity to create a relationship with Mother Earth, to plant seeds in God's green Earth and enjoy the fruits of this labor. 

Gatewood was well respected on all sides of the political arena. His sense of humor was sharp and quick, allowing him to articulate his views in debate better than most. He never shied away from controversial issues, but always remained respectful and walked away from the table still friends with his adversaries. Gatewood's actions were always intended to inspire people. 

When Gatewood was told he was ahead of his time, he responded with a twinkle in his eye and a resonant voice.. "Now's the Time." It didn't matter to him whether he won or lost, but that he never stopped. He made every person feel like the most important person in the World. His message and inspiration will carry on, keeping the conversation going for generations to come. From those of us who shared his views, Gatewood will be greatly missed.

“Whether you agreed with Gatewood or didn’t agree with him, I think we always admired the courage with which he stated his views,” said Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo.

"Gatewood Galbraith is an honest politician." Willie Nelson Hempsters Plant the Seed 

"Gatewood Galbraith was a good friend, and a tireless advocate for the repeal of the ridiculous ban on hemp & marijuana. His book ‘The Last Free Man Standing’ says it all." Willie Nelson's response to requests for a statement on Gatewood's death. 

“That kind of voice is going to be missed. He was a valuable contributor in his own way.” Ferrell Wellman, a Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame

"Gatewood Galbraith shared so many valuable words of wisdom with me, I can't count them all. Phrases that one could live by. I feel very fortunate and blessed to have been his friend and to have known him for as long as I did." Michael Henning, Director of Hempsters Plant the Seed

"Gatewood was one of a kind, a fighter until the end..which is the beginning...he is a STAR of HEMPSTERS PLANT THE SEED DOC FILM as well as a STAR Human Being...words cannot express my sorrow and we will see you on the other side, Gatewood..THANK YOU for being my friend." Diana Oliver, Producer of Hempsters Plant the Seed

Senate President David Williams, who also ran against Galbraith, said in a statement, "I was saddened to hear about Gatewood's passing. He and I have been friends for almost four decades. His wit, humor, and intellect made him one of the most intriguing of Kentucky originals."

"I would get ... either phone calls or messages just telling me he was thinking about the people in his life who were most important to him and that he loved me more than anything," said Molly Galbraith. "He did the most amazing job of telling us how much he loved us and how proud he was of us and that he couldn't be more thrilled to be our father."

"One of the most admirable things that could ever be said about someone is that they had the courage to stand up for what they believe. Whether you agreed with Gatewood or you didn't agree with him, I think we can all say we admire the courage that he had advocating his convictions." House Speaker Greg Stumpo

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2012/01/04/2015454/longtime-political-figure-gatewood.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2012/01/04/2015454/longtime-political-figure-gatewood.html#storylink=cpy