Deep in the north woods on New Hampshire sits The Barn. A true staple in the jam band business. Every piece, hand made. A tribute to the craftsmanship and DIY nature that captivates nature lovers and jam band connoisseur alike.
VW buses and Grateful Dead tapestries were plenty as the loving community came together with high spirits and dancing. Over the course of the night, party attendees were treated to a community potluck of food and a great show.
Throughout the farm, love, harmony, and “the jam” acted as a swirling wind of hope and peace.
Many “deadheads” have followed the trails of the Grateful Dead for years, constantly moving on a journey of wonderment. During the 60’s, touring with jam bands was common practice for many, which led to the escape of a life of monotony.
The jam band community plants the seeds of friendship and togetherness that helps to grow a sense of family and well-being that travels with each and every visitor.
The above image is titled Breeze – Oil on Canvas – 2015 – 8’x3′
First of all, tell me about your art.
I have been surrounded by art all of my life, and so have you. There is a repetitive branching system that occurs all throughout nature. Rivers, veins, capillaries, neurons and the branches of a tree all reflect the same pattern. I have been oil painting for a few years now and I feel it is the most diverse medium when working in 2-dimensions, however, it is different than the design work I grew up filling sketchbooks with. I am always exploring new things but the comfort of a pen and colored pencil always pulls me to it when creating album art, logos or designs. I believe all forms of creation and manipulation can be regarded as art. Inspiration too is art, which does not require any interactive change to occur. By viewing art or music, you are now part of the art and what you do about your feelings will be your masterpiece. The most common forms of paper and canvas art are best at expressing and understanding emotion because we have subconsciously evolved to accept the frame of the canvas as a window to the soul. Perhaps this is because most windows in your house are rectangular. Speaking of houses, art collectives save lives. Anyhow, I have always found that carrying a small sketchbook helped me deal with waiting. Everyone will have to wait at some point, so why not write a poem or doodle to fill the time. In the studio I work on large paintings, none ever finished. I do have one painting I’ve worked on for over 5 years that I would trade for a house. My favorite themes to depict or find inspiration in are Life, Death, and Birth. Although vague, I am fascinated that anything is at all and that it has a start and an end, because it feels eternal.
Obviously, cannabis legalization is something you want to represent, what brought you into the movement?
Cannabis grows from the earth, it has been here far before any human wrote a single law. The pharmacology of cannabis is amazing. Symbiotic relationships exist within humans and their surroundings. We have co-evolved with this plant and we need to understand why certain things work the way they do. What cannabis means for the medical industry, if globally legalized, will change the way we treat patients who suffer from a variety of ailments including seizures and pain. When we look back at the history of cannabis prohibition, we see an undeniable pattern. Certain industries did not want it legal because it will put them out of business. I recommend anyone reading this who is unfamiliar with the history of prohibition to do some research. Cannabis in its non-psychoactive form, as hemp, can be made into paper, fabric, bio-degradable plastic, and fuel. Hemp grows much faster than trees and produces four times more paper per acre. Mankind is cutting down trees much faster than they are growing back. Technically, this is not only a cannabis issue, this is a worldwide, planetary issue. I believe when cannabis is fully legalized, many things will come to light. We will see a major economic boost for local communities where certain materials can be locally sourced instead of relying on corporations, putting people before profit. When you research the history of this cannabis prohibition, you will notice tremendous propaganda that revolves around money, power, and greed. The pharmaceutical industry specializes in synthetics and the selling of them. If people had the freedom to grow their own medicine, they wouldn’t need a dealer or a doctor. None has ever died from consuming cannabis, so as far as protecting the community goes, I’d say our lawmakers are either misinformed or purposely avoiding the legalization of cannabis to profit from the ban. Prisons are overpopulated in America, 137,000 people are behind bars on simple drug possession charges. It has shown that police are making more arrests over “marijuana” than all violence combined. How many lives have to be ruined over a plant before the madness of prohibition ends? How many families have to be broken apart because a parent self-medicated on a natural resource? How many children will grow up using hard drugs because they were never taught the difference between Heroin and Cannabis? According to federal law, the two substances are in the same category. This grouping is not logical. In fact, cannabis has shown tremendous benefits in the treatment of opiate addiction. Opiates kill over 30,000 people a year while cannabis has never caused a single death. Many of the treatments provided for opiate addicts today, such as methadone, are merely blocking receptors. Cannabis has been shown to “rewire” and heal the brain from trauma. The real “gateway drug” is proving to be alcohol. Legal products and over-the-counter medications kill thousands of people each year, adding to the confusion of our chemical diet. What is right? What is wrong? It’s time to wake up and see the benefits of cannabis: IT IS HARMLESS.
Let’s talk about your experience with cannabis…
I can list a dozen mental and physical issues that cannabis helps me with. I don’t believe that you have to be sick in order to demand access to nature’s resources. In the same way, you don’t need to be a minority to fight for equal rights. If more people stood up for what is right, regardless of their economic or social position, the world would progress much faster. Whether or not you use cannabis, you should support it because the movement involves much more than getting high. Even if it was about personal satisfaction: If consuming a harmless plant makes you feel better, act better, see the world in a better light, treat others better and find inspiration in what you may not have otherwise, then perhaps you too should stand up and demand access to this planet’s resource without persecution. I do not condone illegal activity, I do however insist that each and every person research their surroundings and never stop asking questions. I will continue to represent nature and the human condition with every stroke of my brush. Hoping for worldwide acceptance of mother nature.
How did you get involved with the New Hampshire Cannabis Freedom Festival?
I met Rick Naya at Dam Sam’s NY Harvest Festival in 2015. I was painting at my tent and we started talking about life and art then all of a sudden Rick runs onto the stage and tells a story about this movement. His energy and his emotion were awesome. I remember we talked for a while that night, later he asked me to participate in designing the next years’ Freedom Cup for the NH Hempfest Freedom Rally and then it was on. I attended the event, during which I painted 3 large oil landscapes and took part in a massive collaboration that involved almost ten artists. It was an inspiring weekend!
Let’s talk the logo for the New Hampshire cannabis freedom festival. It looks fantastic. How was the creative process?
Expressing someone’s vision is not hard when you see what they see, feel what they feel. The passion that Rick has for this movement to legalize cannabis has inspired me to work with him. I believe this passion has poured over me from countless brave individuals that I have had the honor of meeting and hearing at these events. Many have fought their entire lives hoping to see cannabis legalized. Many have had their lives ruined. This movement is about doing the right thing. It’s about keeping families together. It’s about saving the environment. It’s about getting medicine to people who cannot enjoy life. These issues have inspired me to do whatever I can artistically to help it gain traction. I included a gate in my design to symbolize the opening of a new age for herbal respect. I feel humble and in a sense, a part of the band when I am asked to participate in something like this. It allows me to vote in a way that few people have the ability to. It is important to love what you do in life and much of this movement is about helping others. I support the compassion of The New Hampshire Cannabis Freedom Festival!
What does the future look like for you and your art?
Currently, I have a few events in my calendar. This Friday, May 12th, I will be painting in Syracuse, NY. Joe Driscoll, a local musician, and activist are running for 5th District Councilor. A fundraiser is being thrown by musicians and artists to show support at Munjed’s, 505 Westcott St. Afterwards I am headed to Germination Festival in Harmony, Maine which will runMay 19th-21st. The line up is phenomenal, expect large collaborative projects. I have been invited to Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in June on the 8th-11th by Adam Christoferson, founder of Musical Intervention, a music program that helps vulnerable populations write, record and perform original music. Its headquarters is a drug and alcohol-free space located at 23 Temple Street in New Haven, Connecticut.We will be hosting a Pop-up recording studio and an art workshop at Bonnaroo. Also, I have been put in charge of gathering artists and curating a gallery for a new event called Yonderville Music & Arts Festival in Virginia on June 23rd-25th. It has been exciting to have people be my palette when organizing large events and projects. You cannot do it all yourself, so you must dissolve your ego and collaborate with your community. I strive to make the festival experience as educational as possible, for myself and others. I do not see it merely as a party. To me, it is a classroom. It’s exciting to meet other artists. I love putting brushes into hands that may have never taken that route. Art therapy is a real thing. I have spent most of my life on the East Coast. I have a son now with my partner Sara. We wouldn’t be opposed to moving somewhere new in Fall. We would thrive in a community of artists and musicians, Sara is classically trained on the viola. On a side note, a serious investor who could commission my next wave of large oil masterpiece paintings would be great. I am open to new projects all the time. Email me at: YegorMikushkin@gmail.com
New Hampshire still faces the challenges of legalization. With the surrounding states, Maine and Massachusettes, having passed full cannabis legalization, the granite state still has an uphill battle.
The New Hampshire Cannabis Freedom Festival is the premier cannabis festival for cannabis users across the country. It is founded by the support of a large number of New Hampshire citizens and is lead by Rick Naya.
Rick Naya is the man you want to get to know in terms of Cannabis legalization in the Granite State. The actions and efforts he has taken to make New Hampshire’s Cannabis Industry friendly has spearheaded the cause and is bringing this state closer to its goal of giving residents the “freedom” that this state proudly boasts as its motto.
I had the opportunity of meeting Rick through the New Hampshire NORML Facebook page. Rick is the Director of NH NORML, Director of the New Hampshire Cannabis Freedom Festival, and is the key contender and forerunner as an independent resident for legalizing cannabis in New Hampshire.
So you’re the director of the New Hampshire Cannabis Freedom Festival?
Rick: You better have a seat. I’m about to blow your mind.
Well, alrighty then. What is Marijuana to you?
Rick: Well, first off I don’t call it “marijuana”, I refer to it as Cannabis.
Rick: Right on. Marijuana was originally used as a racist term by Harry J. Anslinger, who was the first Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and he gave it a bad name from its inception. So, for myself, I’ve never really called it marijuana. I learned very young-I educated myself to understand, really, what cannabis was. I was very curious at a young age as to why it was such a terrible thing if people were doing it. I used to think “They’re not dying, but they’ll claim you die.” So, Cannabis, to me, means peace on Earth and to me, it’s something that comes from the Bible, something from beyond times time and something that God placed on this planet to work with our bodies, to give us a sense of well-being and harmony. I look at it as spiritual, medicinal and recreational. I look at it as any educated adult should. If they’re educated, they’ll know.
So you’re part of the NH Marijuana Advocate and Activist group, and you’re the Director of the New Hampshire Cannabis Freedom Festival. You’re really spearheading New Hampshire’s fight for Legalization…
Rick: I’m one of the many people, man, there are several of us that have spearheaded the legalization of Cannabis here in New Hampshire. I’ve been doing this for 30 years as an advocate and, you know, I’ve had my run-ins with the police and it has been difficult for me, not about jobs, thankfully, I’ve always owned a business or was an executive of some form. I’ve never really settled for a job. I was raised early on to know that I have to supersedeas a minority, so to speak.
Tell me about your time before your time with Cannabis.
When I was born into this country, my parents were exiled from Cuba and we were from Spanish royalty that came to Cuba in the 1580’s, monopolizing the islands ports and oil industry. We were the largest ocean faring fleet of steamship vessels in the Eastern Hemisphere at the time of the revolution. I was born into an enclave of very wealthy and affluential politicians and I was raised with a nanny and a grandmother and I sort of became a black sheep. I grew up a corporate and political brat. I had a lot of advantages of growing up with people who were wealthy. Affluence is like diplomacy, it kind of rubs off on you.
Where did Cannabis come in on all of this?
Rick: It had to be when I was 9 years old. I was chilling with some chick. We were listening to the Mommas and the Papas. She pulled out a joint and said “This is pot” and I was like “What’s pot?” and she said, “Here have a puff of this.” So I took a few puffs and, **womp**, nothing happened, but I tried it. I was into the partaking of cannabis and “chillaxing” kind of thing, you know? It must have been the summer of 69’ — somewhere around that time. It was the first time I had ever seen pot, seen a joint rolled, oh, it was something. I don’t believe until 1975 that I started really using it. I must have been around 15 or 16. When I was 13, I was in the woods hunting and a big plane flew over the area I was in and they dropped a multitude of bales of Cannabis. After the smugglers took what they needed, I went to the area they dropped it in and collected all the broken bales I could and hid them until I knew it was cool to start selling it. This was the beginning of my Cannabis experience.
So you found it on a fluke?
Rick: On a fluke in the woods partying and it literally fell out of the sky. The problem was, my parents were so important to the area that it was impossible to bring anything home. I turned Cannabis into a lifestyle and it kind of started me on a different path than what my parents had wanted me to go down. But, you know, it took me down some avenues in life that most people would never be able to see. I got educated in the cannabis industry and not only did I get to see it and sell it and grow it, but I got involved. Being a good looking guy and Cuban really opened a lot of doors for me. I was living the dream and it was all falling into order until I realized I needed a life with children and a future.
So tell me about the New Hampshire Cannabis Freedom Festival
Rick: Last year I decided to host a festival because of the efforts I put forth in the Cannabis industry here in NH. I’ve worked at the state house with the legislators and state representatives and the department of health human services. I spent thousands of hours a year working on documents and working on the implemented rules for the Department of Health and Human Services, the ATC rules, laws and regulations and I put forth my best. So I decided this is the time, I have to do something and I need to give back. I had to give something back to this world, to humanity. So I said to myself I would give this my all and give it hell because there is something that people don’t know here in New Hampshire and that is that they know nothing about Cannabis, but, Rick Naya knows.
What brought you to the State House?
So I heard they were having an event down at the State House and I was hoping to have my answers fulfilled but I was surprised to see how ignorant they were of cannabis. So for the past 6 years, I had to do all of the research and data and I had to bring it to the State House and educate them. To help educate them that cannabis isn’t the “Scrooge” that it was made out to be. I was able to use my diplomacy and my education and bring it with me to share with them. My mom always taught me, that when things got tough and gloomy, to grab a drum, a trumpet, and a banner and start your own parade. I started my Parade! And that was for the legalization of Cannabis! I believe it is what God wanted me to do. This was my place to stand up in society to say “Hey, I knew you were wrong all along, but now I’m truly going to show you and prove this to you and let me know if I should wear my suit and tie.
You’ve dedicated your whole life to this.
Rick: I put my heart and soul into this and I feel we have made a huge difference and impact for this state. I do this for the state of New Hampshire, I do this for society, and I do this for the whole of humanity. I am leaving a legacy to my children to show anyone who commits themselves professionally and responsibly can make a change for society. I am incredibly happy because I am making changes in this world. People have a crusader out here who is really pushing things forward to help them. A lot of people have died and a lot of people have suffered because they don’t have the proper treatment that Cannabis can give them, you know?!
What do you hope the New Hampshire Cannabis Freedom Festival will achieve?
People aren’t going to hear an echo, they are going to hear a voice and if they need to hear a voice that voice will be Rick Naya’s. I believe I am here to make a difference in New Hampshire. I believe that God brought me here to make a difference for the state and to leave a legacy to all those who believe that living free and dying free has true meaning. God Bless us all, and may we all bring out the New New Hampshire.
Show your support for New Hampshire Cannabis Legalization by purchasing your ticket to the New Hampshire Cannabis Freedom Festival August 25th-28th!!
For more information in regards to cannabis legalization in New Hampshire visit our NH Therapeutic Page!
New Hampshire is sandwiched between Maine and Massachusetts – two states that have legalized Cannabis.
I live in Newington, New Hampshire. Directly to the north is the Piscataqua River. That river separates where I live from a state that has passed full Cannabis legalization. I can stand on my porch and stick my hand out. The extra 2 feet makes a legitimate difference.
New Hampshire has 16 miles of pristine coastline (17 if you include Hampton Beach). That small distance is what separates Maine from another legalized state – Massachusetts.
Can you understand my frustration?
To give you another perspective, that blue line in the above image is Interstate 95. Due to the increase in cannabis production in the neighboring states, this strip of road is a focal point for police when looking for potential targets.
The strains of cannabis enforcement are felt strongly throughout the state. With the majority of cannabis arrests targeting the 18-24 age bracket, many are left questioning which is more dangerous, cannabis or the state?
This isn’t to say that efforts in the New Hampshire cannabis movement haven’t been without notice. The Granite State has one of the most devoted and tight-knit cannabis activists who are eager to help promote the cause anyway they can.
With a laundry list of state representatives who support New Hampshire cannabis legalization, a medical cannabis program, and surrounding states making it harder for enforcement, New Hampshire is on the right track for legalization.
With the community coming together for the New Hampshire Cannabis Freedom Festival, the struggle does not seem to be as long as some had predicted.
Portsmouth, New Hampshire is a small town located just across the border from Maine could host New Hampshire’s first Cannabis shop.
It’s community, views, and respect for artisans, make it the most productive and respectable city In New Hampshire. To say it bluntly, it’s progressive.
New Hampshire has an issue with cannabis. The issue isn’t a result of the users, but a result of the law that still has the potential to ruin the lives of many who reside here. The punishment that affects people the most is the ability to arrest and jail residents for up to 1 year or face a fine of up to $2,000 dollars. New Hampshire is the only state in New England that hasn’t lessened the burden of this law.
For legalization, we should look to Maine for an appropriate reaction to legalization. In the city of South Portland, a bill was passed to give adults the ability to carry on them up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis without facing the harsh penalties that New Hampshire still burdens its citizens with.
That is where Portsmouth comes in. Portsmouth, with its small community and more relaxed view on cannabis, has become a hubspot for many young adults looking to reap the benefits of a weekend nightlife without the issues stemming from places like downtown Manchester, Nashua, or Concord. With its attractions, its cobblestone sidewalks, and effectively progressive ideologies, Portsmouth seems like the most effective area to show the state that cannabis users are more coherent and respectable with the freedom to obtain, smoke, or ingest cannabis.
Now, the state has passed a bill giving residents the ability to obtain medical cannabis, but the laundry list is small, and even though we now have people utilizing these benefits for self-medication, the state hasn’t taken kindly to those who qualify and have obtained the right to access it.
The House of Representatives have also voiced themselves as pro-cannabis by having most bills pass the house, but the buck stopped at former Governor, Maggie Hassan’s desk. Since our election, Hassan has been replaced with Chris Sununu (R) who maintains the stance of pro-decriminalization. If there was any consolation as to where New Hampshire can start increasing its progressive “free minded” values, it would be in the City of Portsmouth.