In part two of our Q&A with Rick Trojan explains why he doesn’t give a shit about your politics.
Trojan is the producer of “Hemp Road Trip,” an independent documentary film that just toured North Carolina (again!).
During our chat, he also explains why he’s taking his hemp tour around the world, quite literally, and it’s not because he’s sharing our newly revamped hemp-knowledge with folks in other countries.
Plus, he shares his favorite story from the road.
Without further ado, part two:
Watch the trailer for “Hemp Road Trip.”
[Read: Q&A with Rick Trojan, Part I]
CCN: Where did the Hemp Road Tour start?
RT: Our first stop was in Iowa, for the caucuses. Then we went to New Hampshire. Then we went to Asheville, N.C., for HempX.
We love North Carolina. We’ve been there four or five times. I helped them write their policy. North Carolina is like my second hemp home. The people are amazing.
CCN: How are people responding to your message about cannabis?
RT: What I find is that people – Republican, Democrat, whatever – everyone wants hemp and cannabis.
CCN: What about in the South?
RT: Yeah, everyone is like, “We’re the buckle of the Bible belt.” First of all, you can’t all be the buckle – there’s one buckle.
Second, there are firework stands and porn stores at every exit. So, you know, like y’all don’t have to keep up the façade anymore.
Once the people in the South peel back all that fake crap that they think they have to say or do then we can talk about how we all want health for our children, how we all want to keep the money we make and none of us want to go to war every five seconds.
It’s pretty straight forward. We all want the same things.
I think that’s why Hemp Road Trip has been so effective. I don’t play politics. I’m like, no, you’re your own person. You have your own thoughts and feelings, let’s talk about those.
I’m non-judgmental, but I also call people on their shit. I’m like, let’s talk our way through this. All I have to do is find some common ground.
This plant can positively impact everyone, so all I have to do is find out what’s important to them. That is my only job, if I’ve educated myself properly.
I listen, really. That’s it. Then I tell them how hemp can help.
I don’t play politics. I’m like, no, you’re your own person. You have your own thoughts and feelings, let’s talk about those.
CCN: So is returning to North Carolina kind of a victory lap for you? I mean, we’ve really come a long way on the hemp front.
RT: It will be a victory lap if we can get this damn Farm Bill passed. That’s the big deal, right?
Someone asked me the other day what we’ll do if the Farm Bill passes. I mean, that’s when the real work starts. Then you have to help educate people on what CBD is – less than five percent of America knows what CBD is.
Our job is to expand the market. They don’t want me in the fields.
CCN: Why not?
RT: I am the laughing stock. The farm crew was like, “Buddy, go do something productive and get out of our way.”
And they don’t want to do what I do.
That’s the beauty of the plant, too, everyone has their role. You just have to find your role and get after it.
If you’d told me four years ago that I’d be driving around talking about cannabis I would have accused you of lying.
I still have the same business acumen as before, but now it’s less capitalist. It’s not driven by money, it’s driven by ideology and impact because we’re literally leaving our children no option if we don’t change our ways.
CCN: What’s next for Hemp Road Trip?
RT: We’re going overseas next year. We’ve already been to Columbia and we’ve been to Europe four times already for hemp. We’re going to Japan next month.
Next year we’re going to spend more time in South America, Africa, Australia and Nepal. We’re talking about taking the tour to the Czech Republic, Poland and Germany too.
And, no, I don’t take Hempie the Hemp Bus internationally.
CCN: Why are you taking this film about the hemp industry in the United States to other countries?
RT: For the same reason that Eli Whitney went to Britain to find out how to make a cotton gin.
We’re the only country that has our head up our ass. We’re the only industrial country were hemp is illegal. By going to other countries, I can educate people here.
For example, I was at the International Cannabis and Cannabinoid Institute, in Prague, they’re using nuclear MRI technology to identify cannabinoids. They’ve identified a hundred-or-something new-to-us cannabinoids that they haven’t even named yet.
Japanese people have been eating hemp for eons. After the Fukushima disaster there was a run on hemp seeds in Japan and Korea because of all the essential fatty acids – you know, they couldn’t eat the fish anymore.
They get it.
They’ve identified a hundred-or-something new-to-us cannabinoids that they haven’t even named yet.
CCN: Will there be a Hemp Road Trip, Part II?
RT: We’re looking at two films – “The United States of Hemp,” which will probably be the tour next year, and a film called “Know Medical Value.” We’re also working on an episodic television series.
CCN: So, in the end, your entire mission is to educate?
RT: Our audience is mostly Americans because we’re the ones who are mostly ignorant. I don’t mean that in a bad way, we’ve just been fed a lot of misinformation.
It took my own family – they’re Conservative and religious – three years go come around.
So, yeah, I’m on a mission to educate. Thecannapedia.org – that’s my non-profit; it’s all about education on cannabis.
My mission is to educate, entertain and empower. I want people to learn something from my films and then teach someone else. I want them out there buying hemp products and telling people about them.
CCN: What is your favorite story from the road?
RT: The first day of our trip, when our bus broke down on the way to Iowa. We go to the tractor trailer place to get it fixed.
I met a farmer there who noticed our bus. He asked about my hemp farm but refused to shake my hand. He goes, “I have a commercial driver’s license and I can’t shake.”
He’s thinking that if he touches me he’s going to fail a drug test, right?
My first reaction was like, “You’re kidding, right?” He wasn’t.
But to his credit he sat down with me and we talked – he was in his overalls, just like you’d picture a farmer in a movie.
We talked about corn ethanol versus hemp ethanol. Thankfully – again, this is the universe working in our favor – I had just studied about hemp as an energy source.
After 45 minutes, or so, he said, “I learned a lot today.” He said that he wanted to go home and look some of the information up. He thanked me, and he shook my hand.
I was like, holy cow! If we can turn someone around who wouldn’t even touch me within 45 minutes, I thought, we can make a difference.
BY Rhiannon Fionn
Editor & Publisher
Rhiannon Fionn is an award-winning journalist based in Charlotte, N.C.