Cannabis and hemp activist Eve Lentz has a long history in the movement that has encompassed every part of her life.
A member of the core group of the Seattle Hempfest since 1997, for the past 21 years she’s worked the festival’s history booth. The event is one of the largest hemp and cannabis events in the world, stretching along two and a half miles along Seattle’s Puget Sound each summer, with more than 100,000 attendees each year during the three-day event.
Lentz was also part of the staff for the 1996 High Times Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam, along with fellow activist Gideon Israel, and famed author and activist Stephen Gaskin and his wife, Ina Mae Gaskin – who led the movement to legalize midwifery in the U.S.
Her list of friends is a who’s who in the cannabis and hemp activism space, and includes helping with start-ups of and memberships in historic groups, such as the November Coalition (with Nora Callahan), Grammas for Ganja ( with Jeanne Black, aka: Magic), Women of Weed, and NORML Women of Washington. Lentz was also on the committee that drafted the Washington State Initiative I-692, making the state legal for cannabis as medicine in 1998.
You might say Lentz has been a groupie for hemp and cannabis for decades, including a close friendship with the late Jack Herer, author of the groundbreaking, whistle-blowing book, The Emperor Wears no Clothes.
Herer gave Lentz his second book to edit, Mushroom Canon – The most high plant secrets of the Gods and Explorations revealing the end of the world as you know it. The edits are pending, but according to Lentz, Herer felt the book was more important than his first work.
Lentz spends a lot of time on her bed, with sentimental mementos and reading material spread out like a quilt of the history of hemp and cannabis, with the ghosts of the movement all around her.
“In my stash box is a blue glass jar with Jack’s Girl bud,” she shared. “That cultivar and Jack’s Dragon Girl were both hybridized and named for me by my sister, Allison Bigelow. Both cultivars are available via vape pen cartridges and Pax pods by Heylo at Uncle Ike’s rec store in Seattle.”
Bigelow was the owner of the Washington Hemp Company, and the Washington Hemp Mercantile in the late 1990s, with Lentz by her side. Together, the sisters went on to be sales representatives for the Ecolution Hemp Company, founded by Stephen DeAngelo of Harborside and Eric Steenstra of Vote Hemp. Steenstra designed the Bob Marley hemp line, after Ziggy Marley purchased a pair of hemp jeans from the shop.
“The syringe is filled with cannabis oil – or what we call Rick Simpson Oil, or RSO,” she explained. “I got to know Rick, talking to him many times on Jack’s phone. The oil has saved my life more than once, and I eat a little bit every day.”
In 2010 Lentz was dealing with a thyroid goiter that was wrapped around her trachea, voice box and esophagus, invading her chest wall on both sides; with a salivary gland blocked. She developed thrush as a side effect of antibiotics, and couldn’t swallow to eat or hold food down.
“I was virtually bedridden until a friend offered a gram a day of cannabis oil,” she shared. “In just three months the size of the goiter was reduced tremendously, making it easier to have it removed – with less complications. After the first few days of eating the oil I had no pain and could swallow soups and eat light meals. Needless to say, I made a full recovery.”
The mirror in her stash box was given to her by friend Ric Smith, reflecting their friendship. The clear glass pipe was designed by another friend and fellow cannabis and hemp activist, Don Skakie. Lentz said the barrel bowl design maximizes the flow of cooling smoke. The roach clip with pink hearts was made by Kanti Selig, life partner of Seattle Hempfest Director and founder, Vivian McPeak.
“My friend, Michelle Saye, is all about the roots of beneficial plants,” she added. “The tin holds ground hemp root capsules. I eat one a day – Michelle says they are great for circulation.”
Seattle Hempfest fodder abounds via papers, lighters, and a dabber, alongside some Uncle Ike’s rolling papers.
The stash box itself was made for her by Washington State woodworker, Myron Connery of Mr. Kiefbox in 2012. The picture of Jack Herer in her box is called “roach art,” and was created out of roach papers by Washington State artist Cliff Maynard. The picture depicts Herer smoking a joint at 4:20. Both O’Conner and Maynard burned their signatures inside the box lid.
Also a photographer, Lentz said she took a photo of a farmer plowing the first legal hemp crop in Nelson, B.C., Canada. The image has since been put on posters and calendars, and one of her sister’s Reefer Magnets in 1998.
“Cannabis makes me happy,” she mused. “Yes, it’s also saved my life, but my stash is also a reflection of my life. This plant has helped so many, including me, and I’m grateful to be a part of the history of cannabis and hemp – a history and story that’s still happening now. But, I’m forever grateful to have all these kindred spirits from the movement in my life – living and past.”