Hemp farmers, activists, manufacturers, and retailers are coming together beginning today for Hemp History Week, an opportunity to celebrate the past and future of the crop poised to return to American farmlands thanks to legalization provisions in the 2018 Farm Bill. More than 1,500 events are planned nationwide, ranging from samples and sales of hemp products at small town markets, educational programs at universities, and even celebratory concerts at big city music venues.
Hemp History Week, now in its tenth year, is an annual educational campaign of the Hemp Industries Association that aims to raise “awareness about the environmental sustainability, health benefits, regenerative agriculture potential, and new technological applications of industrial hemp,” according to the campaign website. Hemp entrepreneur Morris Beegle, the co-founder and president of the WAFBA (We Are For Better Alternatives) family of brands, told High Times in a phone interview that his company has been partnering with the HIA for Hemp History Week since 2013.
Beegle says that the goal for the campaign is “to inform people and create awareness around the history of hemp.” Activities are being planned in at least 36 states, many in grocery outlets such as Whole Foods, Sprouts, and other natural food stores that have been the traditional source of products such as hemp seeds, hearts, and protein powder.
“There’s typically educational materials that consumers can take home with them and find out that we’ve been using this plant for thousands of years, from making paper in China 2,000 years ago to the ropes and sails on our ships that got us to America, to the covered wagons that helped us explore America in the early days,” Beegle says.
Thousands of Uses for Hemp
Hemp History Week is an excellent opportunity to show off the thousands of uses for hemp, according to Beegle. His companies include Tree Free Hemp, which prints business cards and other marketing materials on paper made with 25 percent hemp fiber and 75 percent post-consumer recycled paper, and Silver Mountain Hemp Guitars, a manufacturer of guitars, amplifier cabinets, and accessories including guitar straps and amp knobs that “go to 11,” all made with hemp.
“It’s really just a way to help spread awareness about the plant,” says Beegle. “To say ‘hey, we can do so many things with this. Here’s one thing. We can make guitars out of it.’”
The major supporter of Hemp History Week over the years has been Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, “one of the biggest catalysts of the hemp movement for the last 18 to 20 years” and “true supporters of the plant,” Beegle says.
Events Planned Nationwide
Abner Nevarez, event marketing coordinator for Dr. Bronner’s, told High Times that his company is planning a party and concert on Thursday, June 6 at The Music Box in San Diego, near the firm’s headquarters in Vista, California. The event will include speakers including David Bronner, hemp activist and CEO of Dr. Bronner’s, and a special congratulatory video message from California Gov. Gavin Newsom.
“We’re celebrating 10 years of this campaign,” Nevarez says. “We’re excited about where it’s gone now that our campaign has actually reached its goal, when the President signed the bill last December to legalize hemp farming. We’re really excited about it.”
Awards will be presented to leaders in the campaign to legalize hemp, followed by musical entertainment from artists including Iron Sage Wood, Chali 2na and the House of Vibe, and DJ Rafi eL.
Other Hemp History Week events taking place June 3 through 9 include a hike to a historic hemp mill in Lexington, Kentucky, a hempcrete demonstration at Western Washington University in Bellingham, a hemp and CBD-infused dinner at Eatz LA in Los Angeles, and the launch of a Hemp Brown Ale from the Maui Brewing Company in Kihei, Hawai’i. Details on these and more than 1,000 additional events are available on the Hemp History Week website.