San Diego Celebrates Hemp History Week

Photo by Dan Skye

Many of the uses and benefits of hemp were on display at the International Cannabis University (ICU) in San Diego, California for a celebration of Hemp History Week. The event on June 4 also took advantage of the date (6/4) to celebrate recreational cannabis use, legalized with the passage of Prop. 64 (get it?!?) by California voters in 2016.

Dion Markgraaff, cannabis activist and organizer of the festivities, said the goal of the event was to educate the public on the sustainability and versatility of hemp.

“To me, the cannabis movement is an educational movement,” he said.

Displays and live demonstrations offered learning opportunities for those attending.

A “hemp house” was under construction, and anyone who wished could make their own hempcrete block to take home. Hempcrete is a bio-composite building and insulation material made from hemp stalks, and is a sustainable, non-toxic and carbon-neutral option for the construction industry.

Hemp textiles were also represented in many ways.

Yards and yards of hemp canvas decorated the perimeter of the space, and a tipi made from the fabric had been erected. A line of hemp clothing and accessories including jeans, shirts, hats and belts offered by Hempy’s could outfit any self-respecting cannabis activist from head to toe.

Photo by A.J. Herrington

Less obvious uses for hemp were also featured.

Damien Nichols of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps explained not only how his company’s products are made with hemp seed oil, but also how it has been a leader in the American hemp movement.

The company supported the cannabis legalization efforts in Colorado and Washington, and in 2013, purchased a portion of the first legal hemp crop in the United States since World War II. Dr. Bronner’s is also an outspoken advocate for the legalization of psychedelics and ending the War on Drugs.

You can’t have a party without music, and the Hemp History Week celebration delivered.

Three live acts took the stage, including cannabis activist and former NFL offensive lineman Kyle Turley. He told the crowd that “cannabis didn’t just help me, it saved my life.” He gave up the pharmaceuticals that failed to improve, and even exacerbated, mental health problems brought on by football injuries, and he now relies on cannabis for relief. Turley, accompanied by his cousin Nick Duhé on electric guitar, played a set of his original music, with a Grateful Dead cover thrown in for good measure.

Kyle Turley and Dion Markgraaf (Photo by A.J. Herrington)

Hemp History Week began in 1999 as a grassroots campaign to educate the public on the industrial and health benefits of hemp and to urge the federal government to rethink its hemp policy. This year Hemp History Week runs June 5 – 11. More information, including an event locator, is available at

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