You can’t take the hippie out of Joy Beckerman. The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) president became a canna-activist in Grateful Dead parking lots in the early ’90s. “I learned about the social and political injustice of marijuana and of industrial hemp on Grateful Dead tour,” she tells Freedom Leaf.
With her busy schedule, Beckerman doesn’t have the time to attend Dead & Company shows these days, though she did go to the Fare Thee Well concerts in 2015. She has a trade organization to run and presentations to make. Just days before this interview, Beckerman spoke to a large group of attendees at the CannaGather event in New York. At warp-speed, she discussed every aspect of hemp, from science to laws to investment possibilities.
Several days later, Beckerman tells me why she decided to make hemp her life’s work. “If you’re going to be a professional, you’re going to have to specialize and serve your clients and the needs of building either the hemp economy or the marijuana economy appropriately,” she says. “I chose the former.”
Back in her Deadhead days, Beckerman opened a hemp store, Heaven on Earth, in Woodstock, NY. She proudly recalls that “we got a cease-and-desist letter for stamping ‘I GREW HEMP’ on dollar bills.”