Hemp is still a largely misunderstood plant. Due to decades of government propaganda to push forth the hemp prohibition, there are still a lot of misconceptions about the uses and benefits of hemp. Rick Trojan spearheads The Hemp Road Trip, an effort to change the public perception about hemp. In this exclusive interview, Trojan tells Healthy on Hemp about the Hemp Road Trip and how others can get involved in hemp advocacy.
What is the Hemp Road Trip?
Rick Trojan: The Hemp Road Trip started as an advocacy and education campaign to influence politicians during the 2016 Presidential Primary season. It’s now expanded to an international quest for knowledge of everything Hemp can do, and then sharing that knowledge and networks to help build global transformation to non-toxic alternatives.
How do you go about sharing that knowledge?
R: We would literally drive up to schools, government offices, farms and retail outlets and open the bus doors, allowing folks to come inside see the hemp fabric, rope, stalks, BMW door panel from Vote Hemp, blocks of hempcrete, Tree Free Hemp paper and even a hemp plastic guitar signed by Willie Nelson himself!!
It really came down to listening to folks, helping understand what is important to them, and then showing them how Hemp CAN solve that problem. It’s simple, but not easy. You really and truly have to care and engage so true communication can occur and an understand can develop.
How did you become so passionate about this issue?
R: I nearly died in 2014 as a result of prescription medication and an extremely rare allergic reaction called Steven Johnson Syndrome. I had just started a medical edibles company in Colorado, but really didn’t know much about cannabis. So, as I sat in isolation for a month in Munich hospital, and after regaining my eyesight, I began reading about cannabis. I found out about hemp and thought, “Not everyone wants to smoke or eat cannabis, but EVERYONE can benefit from using industrial hemp!” I vowed to spend time and resources educating folks about the benefits of this incredible crop.
Who funds all your work?
R: The campaign is a combination of sponsorship and self funding. It’s interesting nearly every leader in this space states education as the number one obstacle, so I’m addressing that need.
How do you connect with local communities for the Hemp Road Trip?
R: The beauty of industrial cannabis is that all I have to do is find out what’s important to each person, and then describe how hemp can help fulfill that need. Whether it’s grandma that is sick, brother that needs healthy alternatives to fast food, or an out of work coal miner that just wants a well paying job, hemp has answers to all of those needs, and about 50,000+ more!
Can you tell us about some of your upcoming events?
R: We’re embarking on Hemp Road Trip Tour 6 in October. We’ll be at Southern Hemp Expo with the newly branded bus, then off to Carolina to educate and talk with farmers, back through Kentucky for US Hemp Roundtable Members meeting, and finally to HIA Conference in Los Angeles early November. I head to Japan for a week after that, then end at Hawaii Hemp Conference in December! Full plate for next 3 months. Lots of preparation work as we’re focusing on coalition building and building out the educational material.
Are the farmers you’re going to be talking to already farming hemp?
R: Our first stop was Iowa, where we had over 30 farmers come to learn about hemp, in 2016! That state is one of 9 remaining that don’t have hemp legalized, still. So dumb for that state and its poor farmers stuck in the unsustainable, and outdated American Agricultural System. Farmers that currently grow also come out to learn and share and get access to our Hemp Road Trip network of genetics, seeds and distribution.
Where will the educational material be available?
R: Mostly through our website and online. We’re hoping to increase our video presence for the Hemp Road Trip HempCAN Tour in 2018 & 2019!
What do you think is the most important thing an individual can do to help the hemp movement?
R: Buy things made with hemp! Help build and grow the market through economics. that, and learn something new about hemp everyday, and share that we have renewable, non-toxic alternatives to petroleum, coal and cotton.
Can you tell us three of your favorite hemp brands?
R: One thing I LOVE about this plant, is there are SO many products. I’ve had hemp pesto, high protein hemp pasta by Canapa, amazing herbal supplements with CBD from Bluebird, Functional Remedies and Sol Hustle; great clothing from Dash Hemp and Marcel hemp, not to mention base fabrics and upholstry from EnviroTextiles, LLC. Evo Hemp makes great protein bars, nano hemp solutions has the only truly water soluble nano CBD water, and Silver Mountain guitars have hemp plastic guitars! I have hemp sheets for my guest bedroom, towels and of course Dr Bronner hemp Soap to clean EVERYTHING!
How can someone connect with you to host a documentary screening?
R: They can send an email to me at [email protected] with the subject – Documentary Screening Request