Rick Trojan and his team at The Hemp Road Trip rally for change, supporting farmers and informing citizens about the importance of The Industrial Hemp Farming Act.
By: Thomas Ivory, Jr.
Traveling America in a B100 biodiesel short-bus decorated with “What can hemp do…” graphics and a fine looking man in a sport-coat behind the steering-wheel can be quite adventurous. Venturing from Denver, Colorado, towards Eastern America, this road trip has one purpose: to educate U.S. citizens about hemp
“The initial course was 4 months, and we left January 28th,” said Rick Trojan, Hemp Road Trip founder, speaker, and driver. “We wanted to go around to talk with people and start educating, on a grassroots level, about this (hemp) plant and this crop… We have met people from farmers, to students, to teachers, to just regular citizens.”
The intent, also, is to get Industrial Hemp recognized on a political level. “The original plan was to follow the presidential primaries,” said Trojan. “We went to Iowa, and then we ended up in New Hampshire during their primaries. We went to Washington D.C., and then down to the Carolinas during their primaries. That was the initial flow, to follow the primaries. But then, as we got on the road, we let serendipity take its course, and we started meeting people here and there. So we adapted our schedule, to keep it fluid.”
Trojan added, “Convincing politicians to come on board (being pro-hemp) is critical to the passing of the Industrial Hemp Farming Act, which is what we’re focusing on this year, for 2016.”
Legislation concerning Industrial Hemp has been around for a while. The Hemp Road Trip strives toward creating awareness and support for these proposals.
“There are a couple of bills in front of the House and the Senate, at the moment, having to do with hemp – whether its CBD specific bills or whether its the Industrial Hemp Farming Act – which are the House Bill H.R. 525 and Senate Bill 134,” said Trojan. “And these bills have been proposed for the past 10 years. Essentially, what they would do is take hemp off the controlled substance act – de-schedule hemp –meaning hemp would no longer be considered a drug… Another bill, presented by Bernie Sanders, Senate Bill 2237, would actually declassify cannabis in general.”
This political movement would help American farmers have more agricultural options. “We’re finding: farmers want something different to plant,” said Trojan.
“Having this as an option, I mean, not all farmers are going to plant hemp. Just like not all farmers plant corn, or soy, or cotton. Farmers are going to find what works for them. But they need to have this arrow in their quiver, if you will.”
For Industrial Hemp to be a concern for politicians, they need to know it is a concern for the people who elected them. “The politicians are for their constituents,” said Trojan. “They have 100 things on their plate. They deal with things they hear from their constituents. So, that has really been our focus: to get people to call their elected officials, on a State and Federal level, to let them know about hemp… Hearing from the people themselves, if we truly want to treat this as a democracy and exercise our right as citizens, we should take the time to call or e-mail our representatives to let them know that this (illegalization of hemp) law needs to be changed.”
Trojan added. “We’re focusing on the Industrial Hemp Farming Act because at the moment it has the most momentum, from my view.”
Momentum on a political level begins with proper knowledge and education from the citizens. “80 years of misinformation has been intentionally presented,” said Trojan. “It is time to get the misinformation out and the correct information in, and then people can choose what they want… With the Internet, it is such a valuable resource. People can educate themselves and be an activist. If only on this one issue, they would have done a good deed – a good deed for themselves, their families, their country, and the economy. I think it just makes sense to educate themselves, and to talk to friends and family, and to talk to their legislatures (about legalizing Industrial Hemp).”
By the 1st of April, the B100 short-bus and Hemp Road Trip will return to Colorado for NoCo3 Hemp Expo, completing the first phase of the trip. The second phase, which will begin sometime in April, includes western America: Nebraska, California, and Washington state.
To view Hemp Road Trip photos (of two brought along hemp-based US flags unraveled in front of State Houses, and with several presidential candidates), informative Industrial Hemp links and resources, and to donate to the road trip cause, visit: www.hemproadtrip.com.
And visit your State website for information on how to contact your local representative and congressperson.
“We should allow our farmers to get hemp in the ground and bring back the local farmer and the family farmer,” said Trojan. “We (Hemp Road Trip) will continue on our quest to educate the people.”