Weedmaps remembers cannabis freedom fighter Eddy Lepp
Charles Eddy Lepp, known affectionately as Eddy, was a cannabis freedom fighter, advocate and friend who passed away on Monday at the age of 69. Mary Schumacher of Weedmaps remembers her life and her legacy.
My life would have been very different if I hadn’t known Eddy. We met at the end of 2004 at a NORML conference in Oregon. Eddy and Jack Herer, whom I had met on other occasions as cannabis heroes, were best friends and traveled together. I interviewed them for my first cannabis article, published in Highlights. Jack had suffered a stroke years ago and needed help with various tasks related to mobility and writing, and by the end of the conference I had made myself available for any needs of Jack.
Eddy, observer as he was, picked up a sharpie and one of his 40-acre cannabis farm posters and wrote down his cell phone number. He told me that if I ever wanted to come to Northern California and help Jack, I would have a place to live on his farm. After the article was published, I called my new editor and asked if I should do this sort of thing if there would be a place for articles on the California Eddy and Jack scene. The answer was yes, and the rest is my cannabis-fueled story. My writing has become almost entirely focused on the defense of cannabis, and I have never looked back.
There are countless stories like this. Stories of Eddy uplifting and empowering his friends, fellow freedom fighters and cannabis allies in intense and engaging ways. In honor of Eddy and his contributions to the cannabis community, I want to share his life story and the memories of his friends.
Charles Eddy Lepp was born in La Harpe, Illinois, but often moved with his military family until they landed in Reno, Nevada. Eddy enlisted in the military at the age of 19. He started smoking cannabis during his basic training and spent a year in Vietnam. For the next twenty years, Eddy struggled with bouts of addiction and recovery, with cannabis being his only lifeline. Finally, during his last period of convalescence, he meets Linda Senti, who will become his wife and his inspiration.
Eddy was introduced to Dennis Peron after he was arrested growing medical cannabis for Linda, who was battling cancer. Eddy became the first person to be tried and acquitted under Proposition 215. He then met Jack Herer, who became his dear friend and who led him on his journey to become a pure cannabis freedom fighter. Eddy said cannabis had kept him from killing himself for years during his addiction struggles in this article by cannabis journalist Bobby Black. Eddy had administered cannabis to his father for relief during his own lost battle with cancer years before, so Eddy was well prepared to take cannabis prohibition on his shoulders.
At first, Eddy and Linda dabbled in a few unsuccessful lucrative ventures before settling in Lake County, California, on the edge of the legendary cannabis-growing region, the Emerald Triangle. .
They began to organize cannabis clinics to allow doctors and patients to meet before gradually embarking on cultivation. Eddy and Linda continued to meet people who couldn’t afford their drugs, couldn’t find them, or couldn’t grow them on their own. Seeing the glaring gap, Eddy and Linda decided to take their large farm and start farming for friends and neighbors. Over time, the operation has grown to over 30,000 factories, all along Highway 20, and all with full knowledge of local law enforcement. And all of this before great crops like this were fully legalized or even somewhat standardized.
In 2004, Highlights named Eddy the Freedom Fighter of the Year. Eddy has been honored at countless events and festivals, including a virtual appearance at the Los Angeles Million Marijuana March in 2011 while serving time for growing cannabis. In true legendary form, he had a strain named after him which won second place at the 2013 High Times Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam.
Sadly, Eddy was arrested several times for cannabis until he was convicted and sentenced in 2009 to ten years in prison. He was released eight and a half years later, but while in prison, Jack died. Linda died of cancer in 2007. He spent the last of his years fighting for the plant, retaining the immense personality he always has been and empowering his friends and allies.
We thank you for everything, Eddy.
âEddy was the first and most inspiring person I have ever met in the cannabis industry. He welcomed me with my team like we were family and he always showed us consideration and love! He will be missed but never forgotten! RIPower my friend.
– Tony Van Pelt, Candy Chronicle
âEddy Lepp was to me a saint of marijuanaâ¦ A compassionate, loving and caring husband, friend and person. He literally learned how to grow marijuana to help his wife who had cancer and people who were sick … This man stood up for the rights of people at close range, especially the right to grow marijuana. He will be forever immortalized through my music.
– Ponyboy, Los Marijuanos
âEddy was a true blue cannabis revolutionary: talented, hilarious and real. Part of the first wave of a handful of brave and fearless souls who fought on the front lines of politics to make medical marijuana help patients, but also to change the world for the better. I was honored to be a part of this first group and one of Eddy’s closest friends, and I will miss him incredibly.
– Lynnette Shaw, Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana
âBeing involved in Eddy Lepp’s life has been the craziest and most glorious adventure of my life. Not having it there leaves a void that no one can fill. No matter where you are in this world, if you ingest cannabis of any kind, Eddy Lepp is one of the soldiers you should thank.
– Jason Dunlap, documentary maker and photographer
Selected image courtesy of Jason Dunlap