Ministry of Hemp

Ministry of Hemp

America's leading advocate for hemp

Tag: Native American hemp

Hemp Surfboards: Riding The Wave Of Hemp Hype With A New Kind Of Board

Chad Kaimanu Jackson, a Native Hawaiian, sustainability scientist, and pro surfer, creates the world’s premiere hemp surfboards. He uses hemp fibers instead of fiberglass and wraps the boards in hemp foam.

It took becoming versed in “The Emperor Wears No Clothes,” world travel, and going back to school to study earth sciences and anthropology for Chad Kaimanu Jackson to come up with hemp surfboardS.

“I was learning of the great legacy of hemp in ancient China and up to the founding of the US. And in my study of human history and attempting to integrate the concepts of sustainability in my scientific and academic career I found myself in a bit of cognitive dissonance,” says Jackson.

Photo: A surfer in a wetsuit rides a hemp surfboard.

Despite being more sustainable, hemp surfboards cost about the same as conventional boards. (Photo: Bee Line Hemp Wick)

“I knew I had a mission to incorporate my life as a surfer, a Native Hawaiian, and a scientist into contributing to the sustainability/conservation movement in tandem with the cultural revival that was occurring with Indigenous Nations.”

CREATING HEMP SURFBOARDS

Jackson, 39, has been building surfboards since a young age and started wearing hemp clothes in 2001. For the past 15 years the surfer, who has competed on the Big Wave Tour, has been the primary hemp surfboard builder in the surfing world.

He initially began using an alternative form of surfboard foam based from soybean oils, but became interested in using hemp in any way after becoming involved with the Hemp Museum, a nonprofit originally located in Santa Cruz, and its store.

Jackson briefly made boards for the store before starting to construct his own after gaining sponsorship through Hawaiian-based surf brand Da Hui. He also had a stint with Local Clothing.

In 2007, Jackson started HempSurf. Today he has support from brand Vissla who help him with the boards as well as his surfing and science work.

Photo: Chad Jackson laying on the ground surrounded by 7 of his hemp surfboards.

Jackson’s hemp surfboards are made from hemp along with other sustainable materials. (Photo: Chad Jackson)

Other alternative materials Jackson uses in his surfboards include recycled redwood, flax, agave wood core, and bio-based resins and epoxies.

There has been a recent resurgence of interest in hemp surfboards, says the surfer.

“(It) is a simple delayed response of the public and surf communities finally catching on to the sustainability movement, which in terms of hemp, has been fueled by the recent legalization of hemp agriculture, (the) CBD industry, and the prevalence of Instagram and other social media outlets,” says Jackson.

Compared to the price of conventional surfboards, Jackson says the cost of a hemp surfboard is virtually the same. Shortboards are priced between $500 – $600 while a longboard ranges from between $800 and $1,000 and agave boards start at $1,500.

HEMP SURFBOARDS ENABLE AN ‘INDIGENOUS CULTURAL REVIVAL’

It’s important that hemp is recognised as it has the ability to offset environmental impacts derived from corporate agriculture, big pharma, and the petro-chemical industry, stresses Jackson.

“The organic nature is superior to synthetic materials in the overall life energy the fibers carry, the strength-to-weight ratios are the strongest found in nature (along with flax), superior flexura,” he says.

“This carries over to sustainable agriculture, economics, indigenous cultural revival and empowerment, and celebrates our connection with our ancestors and the tools they have passed on to us.”

He is currently involved in a film project about the Hawaiians who brought surfing to Santa Cruz in 1885.

“The film will segue into how suffers can come together to solve environmental problems and mobilize as a very powerful and influential subculture,” says Jackson.

For Jackson, hemp surfboards are a way to promote sustainability and environmental responsibility. (Photo: Jensen Young-Sik)

Kea Eubank’s interest in hemp started over 15 years ago, when he was looking for better alternatives to smoking with butane lighters and matches. Hemp was the way forward. Eubank, born and bred in Maui, and his partner Miranda Campbell formulated “the hemp wick,” a term Eubank says is now used by over 70 different companies, and the first hemp wick company, Bee Line Hemp Wick. Bee Line combines hemp and beeswax, both ancient and renewable resources used in lighting medicinal herbs, pipes and fine cigars, and hand-rolled tobacco cigarettes.

“(We) came to realize how versatile hemp is, and have been looking for other uses ever since, which tends to keep us pretty busy, as there are thousands,” says Eubank.

USING HEMP IN A UNIQUE WAY FOR SURFING

About three years ago Bee Line Hemp Wick partnered with Conway Bixby of Bixby Surfboards, a board shaper and river surfer in Bend, Oregon, and began making surfboards out of made out of recycled foam and organic hemp fiber in place of fiberglass.

“We were hoping we could trade out even more of the standard surfboard materials for hemp while maintaining the high performance,” says Eubank.

The hemp comes from Romania in eastern Europe, which Eubank, 38, says he’s found to have the best organic hemp in the world.

“They use a traditional process called retting where they let the hemp break down in the field and then finish with machine processing it into long strands which they spin/twist back together,” he says.

“A lot of other manufacturers use chemicals to break down their hemp to a pulp, and then bleach it.”

Jackson catches a massive wave on a hemp surfboard.

Jackson catches a massive wave in Oregon, reiding on a hemp surfboard. (Photo: Richard Hallman)

Bee Line Wick uses the hemp in a unique way to make the boards, using hemp fibers instead of fiberglass, wrapping the recycled foam in hemp.

“I’m not sure if anybody is doing it quite like us,” says Eubank.

‘STOKED TO HAVE A HEMP SURFBOARD IN THEIR QUIVER’

The boards, which he says start at $650 but vary in price depending on size, are popular.

“Half the people love that they utilize hemp and the other half just love how they look,” says Eubank.

“(Customers are) mostly river surfers, and then there’s people just stoked on anything hemp and to have a hemp surfboard in their quiver.”

Eubank says traditional materials used to make surfboards are chemical-based.

“Surfers naturally want to keep the earth and ocean clean because they are immersed in the elements daily,” says Eubank.

“Hemp, if processed responsibly has a lot less impact on the earth, while (the board is) being made, and in the end when the board is no longer surfable.”

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My NoCo 2019 Diary: Visiting The Largest Hemp Expo In The World

We were completely overwhelmed by the sheer scope of the 2019 Nothern Colorado Hemp Expo in Colorado. Here’s some audio highlights from our recent visit to Denver.

My NoCo 2019 Diary: Visiting The Largest Hemp Expo In The World
Ministry of Hemp Podcast

 
 
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Welcome back to the Ministry of Hemp podcast, recorded this time at NoCo 2019.

We were completely overwhelmed by the sheer scope of the 2019 Nothern Colorado Hemp Expo in Denver, Colorado. In this episode, Matt talks to so many amazing people doing things you would not believe with hemp. Our guests include:

The indigenous hemp growers panel at NoCo 2019.

The indigenous hemp growers panel at NoCo Hemp Expo.

We want to hear from you too. Send us your questions and you might hear them answered on future shows! Send us your written questions to us on Twitter, Facebook, email [email protected], or call us and leave a message at 402-819-6417.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes or your favorite podcast app. If you really want to help out, we’d love for you to leave a short written review or even just a rating of our podcast.

MORE ABOUT NOCO 2019

As always, you can find download the complete show transcript here:

Read more about our visit to NoCo 2019:

 

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Marc Grignon: Hemp Can Help Sustain Native Americans

When you begin to look into the fight for hemp legalization, you start to unearth stories you weren’t expecting to find. That’s exactly what happened when we talked with Marc Grignon and learned about the 2015 police raid on the Menominee hemp fields.

When you begin to look into the fight for hemp legalization, you start to unearth stories you weren’t expecting to find. That’s exactly what happened when we talked with Marc Grignon and learned about the 2015 police raid on the Menominee hemp fields.

Currently, Grignon is the spokesman for Hempstead Project Heart, which raises awareness about the benefits of hemp for everyone including tribal communities. Previously, he worked as  staff assistant for the Office of Native American Affairs under Obama’s Small Business Administration.

Grignon developed a passion for hemp as his tribe’s casino ambitions failed. For years now, the Menominee have been fighting for a way out of dependence on government assistance. For a way to provide their reservation with a sufficient income.

Grignon is one of the 8,700 members of the Menominee tribe of Wisconsin. Their history is believed to span back 10,000 years where they dominated 10 million acres of modern-day Wisconsin and the upper half of Michigan state.

John Trudell, wearing sunglasses, smiles at the camera. Hemp activist John Trudell co-founded Hempstead Project Heart with musician Willie Nelson, before passing leadership of the organization to Marc Grignon in his final days.

Hemp activist John Trudell co-founded Hempstead Project Heart with musician Willie Nelson, before passing leadership of the organization to Marc Grignon in his final days. (Photo: Tara Trudell, used with permission)

Despite the dramatic circumstances of the raid, Marc Grignon remains a steadfast advocate of hemp. We caught up with him recently to learn about how he got involved with hemp and how he believes hemp can help support Native American tribes.

OVER TIME, TRIBAL ATTITUDES TOWARD HEMP HAVE SOFTENED

It was during Grignon’s final semester at college when he began to look into his tribe’s background — studying the language and digging deep into their culture. As he went about this research, a piece of information “fell into my lap,” he told us.

The Menominee have a word called “Shaeqnap” and it means wild hemp. The definition talked about a plant that could grow anywhere from 5 to 8 feet high. The tribe used it for fiber, basket making, bowstrings, and so on and so forth.

Grignon was so fascinated by the discovery, he brought it to the Menominee Language and Culture Commission. They were less enthusiastic about his discovery. When he asked about shaeqnap, they simply insisted, “No. We never used cannabis.”

This was a bit of a blow to Grignon as he’s been a long-time hemp advocate. His goal has been to use the plant to provide the Menominee people with a stable source of income. Though not everyone agreed with this idea, Grignon held a determination which would prove to be worthwhile.

And over time, he said attitudes are shifting. “With the evidence we’ve brought to light, more Menominee cultural people see our future in hemp.”

PLANTING THE SEEDS: HOW MARC GRIGNON GREW HEMP WITH THE MENOMINEE

In the summer of 2015, Grignon was working on an Agricultural and Research Project through the College of Menominee Nation and his tribe. One particular day, a former legislature approached him and asked if he’d be interested in working with hemp. Since the Menominee had just passed a law allowing for the reservation to grow industrial hemp for the sake of research, Grignon was very interested.

Part of the reason for this law was due to the fact the Menominees were trying to get the legal paperwork to start a casino. They fought for twenty years only to have Scott Walker, Wisconsin’s governor at the time, kill the idea.

Grignon saw hemp as holding the possibility of being a “natural economic drive.” He recalled:

“So, I was brought on. We planted on July 7th, 2015. 3 acres. I was kind of in charge of monitoring the plants and taking care of them. I was on weed control and I’d go into the fields and pull them out by hand with other Menominees. That’s how I got into the whole thing.”

MENOMINEE HEMP FACED CONSTANT THREATS FROM LAW ENFORCEMENT

The Menominees took all legal precaution prior in order to make this happen. They informed law enforcement of their laws and the fact that they had plans to grow that cultivation season. However, upon hearing this, the feds felt the need to come out and see the fields.

“There were some strong words between the attorney and my tribal leaders,” Grignon remembers.

“The feds were like, ‘we want you to uproot this stuff.’ And we said, ‘No, man. We abided by our government to government relations where we told you we were gonna do it, we passed the law, we had our community’s input on this law, nobody has an issue with it, and now we’re gonna move forward with it.’”

A densely packed hemp field grows tall under a partly cloudy sky, a forest in the background of the field. Marc Grignon helped legalize hemp in Wisconsin after police raided a Menominee hemp field in 2015.

Marc Grignon helped legalize hemp in Wisconsin after police raided a Menominee hemp field in October 2015. (Photo: Marc Grignon)

Which is just what Grignon did. Nearly three months went by. He and the Menominees continued tending their 3 acres of hemp. Throughout this time, law enforcement sustained their efforts to stop the tribe from cultivating these crops.

OCTOBER 23, 2015: POLICE RAID MENOMINEE HEMP FIELDS

In fact, the tribe had a strong suspicion that they would be raided. Even though they followed all rules and regulations, Grignon says, “It’s a real cluster-fuck when it comes to federal Indian policy and federal Indian laws.”

On October 23rd, just when everything was in full bloom, Grignon drove to the fields to find police dressed in camo, fully armed with automatic weapons. He stood and watched as a bulldozer destroyed all his hard work.

Not only was this a giant blow to the operation, but it was an even bigger blow for the next season’s grow. For those plants contained the seeds the Menominees hoped to plant the following year.

Though Grignon was deeply upset, he wasn’t discouraged. In fact, in the months prior — when the Menominees were anticipating the raid — Grignon had reached out to an activist that would not only change his life but hemp’s future in the state of Wisconsin.

MARC GRIGNON’S HEMP ADVOCACY CONTINUES AFTER MENOMINEE HEMP RAID

This certain someone was John Trudell, a Native American author and political activist. Grignon reached out to Trudell in hopes of saving his 2015 harvest. Less than two weeks after feds destroyed it, he received a call from Hempstead Project Heart in which they wanted to carry out an education campaign.

When Trudell found out about the feds destroying the Menominee’s fields, he was very upset.

“He wanted to set up a legal defense fund and do whatever in his power to help us,” Grignon said. “And we took his help. But two weeks later, his cancer spread and he was taken into hospice.”

Grignon had gotten a phone call explaining this and how Trudell wanted to hire him onto Hempstead Project. Being that Trudell had been an idol of Grignon for most of his life, he felt the need to meet the man. Purely for the sake of discovering what the future held for both hemp and Native American culture.

“I flew out there and met him and he basically told me my reputation was on the line,” Grignon explains.

“When we talk about how screwed Indian country is and how dependent we are on the government, I look at hemp and I see a solution.”

“[He said] if I couldn’t get hemp legal in Wisconsin within a year then I wasn’t the person I say I am … everyone will tell you he’s the most intense individual you’ll ever speak to. And they’re absolutely correct.”

Trudell’s perspective on hemp was that “it couldn’t save us, but it could help us.”

Grignon admits he wasn’t able to make Trudell’s wish come true alone nor within a year. However, with the help of a coalition, he made hemp legal in Wisconsin.

CAN HEMP HELP BRING PROSPERITY TO INDIAN COUNTRY?

During Grignon’s time as a staff assistant for the Obama administratio, he saw many real problems he hopes to solve with hemp. This was during one of the previous times the government didn’t sustain proper funding and, in turn, partially shut down for a period of time.

Grignon saw how this affected Native American tribes who weren’t making big bucks off casinos. He knew those tribes depended on government grants. Not only does Grignon not agree with this, but it frightens him to think the Menominees can lose the ability to finance themselves whenever the government shuts down.

Grignon sees hemp as a way for the Menominees to financially sustain themselves. As a source of sustainable profit which may just bring the tribe back to their original roots.

“When we talk about how screwed Indian country is and how dependent we are on the government, I look at hemp and I see a solution.”

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