Posted April 2017

Shared Dreams- A Tribute to Laura Kriho

Rest in Love Laura- you are already missed…

The day was May 28th, the year 2013. A truck had just pulled up outside my house on Curtis St in Denver. I got a phone call– it was the head of the Cannabis Therapy Institute, Video Flogger, Hemp and Weed Legalization Activist Extraordinaire and overall ass kickin’ freedom Fighter Laura Kriho on the other end- “You ready to witness history today Capn Cannabis?” She said– her tongue in cheek tone giving me a smile. “I’ll be right out” I said as I grabbed my jean jacket, hemp leaf adorned hat with a  stash pocket for weed, and headed out to meet her.

When I got in the car, Laura had a granola bar, orange juice, and two rolled and ready joints for our breakfast. “Can’t legalize Hemp on an empty stomach and not high, can we?” She laughed and nudged me to eat. She told me stories of Senator Lloyd Casey and the initial attempts to legalize Hemp in the Colorado legislature in the 1990’s. It never got passed, but they had fun, even bringing a full size bale of Hemp into the legislature, passing it off as hay. (Author’s note: The Bale of Hemp still exists somewhere- I have a few pieces of it given to me by Laura and Kathleen Chippi.) We were to meet up with the former senator before we went into the Governor’s office. After eating, Laura sparked the joint, and I smoked it, occasionally passing it to her, as she drove us to the Colorado State Capital building to see her longtime goal (and mine): Hemp and Marijuana legality, signed into law after all these years.

I first met Laura on 4-20-2008 in Civic Center Park in Denver when I filmed all willing participants of the 420 rally for my Pot activism centered Youtube channel. I had taken the name “Capn Cannabis” online and garnered a small but devoted following by sometimes being the only camera at Cannabis related activism events. Laura and Kathleen Chippi were Video Floggers– holding public servants and officials accountable by lambasting them online with video rants, questioning them in public about their ridiculous policies, and so forth. She talks on the video about the Cannabis Leis she sold– and highlights how “these are made in China- but they could be made right here in America, out of sustainable hemp. Anything petroleum and plastic made can be made from Hemp!” Her smile was ever present- even when you pissed her off her scoff contained some smile.

From there she began the Cannabis Therapy Institute, holding educational cannabis events of all kinds, and promoting full cannabis legality wherever she was– not some imitation. This led her to form her own plans to legalize in 2012, and although her efforts did not directly succeed– her interest and pursuit of the noble and just cause of cannabis legality forced the issue to the forefront– where Colorado did pass a version of cannabis acceptance– and we all owe Laura a debt of gratitude for her efforts. Just prior to Election night, Laura held the great debates on pot legality at Casselman’s on Walnut street downtown. My wife and I filmed these debates as Laura gave a voice to all in the movement– not just those with deep pockets.  Sometimes joints were smoked illegally onstage in acts of civil disobedience… but that’s just the kind of passionate, heart felt, fire filled gal Laura was- and the awesome events she put on. She always left you with some new knowledge, some new fire. Somehow you grew just from knowing Laura.

Flashing back now to that May 28th day in 2013– When we arrived at the capital, we met up with Senator Casey and saw Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper sign Recreational Marijuana into law in the main Capital rotunda. A bunch of professional TV cameras were present, and me with my tiny handheld video camera. But upstairs in the Governor’s office it was a more private affair. Just 20 or so people– no TV cameras or press– only well-dressed Hemp advocates. Das the Hemp Ice Cream man was there and a few famous lawyers. Kim Sidwell had her still camera next to me, clicking away as I ran my video cam and the Governor put ink to paper– accomplishing our dreams. As he did so, the spirit of Ken Gorman was present in the room and off to the left side the real Laura Kriho gave the guv a ball of hemp twine– which he loved. “We never get enough props,” he jokes as he handled the ball of hemp twine. (All visible in the video below, including Laura shaking the Guv’s hand at the 2:30 mark of the 4:20 long video.)

After the signing, I told the Governor about Cannabis curing cancer, and he said he had already heard, and he posed for a photo with me. It’s the proudest picture of me I have, that doesn’t involve my wife Genevieve or my 3 kids. It’s an image of me moments after I accomplished my dream, of cannabis and hemp being legal in my state. I’m wearing a pot hat, a jean jacket, and I look wild eyed and like I need a haircut– but it’s me accomplishing my dream. As of that moment I wasn’t a criminal anymore for pot. I could not have been prouder, and Laura was there to take the picture for me- like she was always there.

I cried often the night I found out Laura had passed away from a bacterial infection she contracted in Mexico. I could hardly sleep. It wasn’t until late, late that night, or early, early morning that the comforting image of Ken Gorman, Erin Marcove, and Laura Kriho smoking a joint in heaven finally came to me– and offered me tears of comfort instead of sadness. Laura was taken from us too soon. I know she had more to say.  Through my tears I watched the two videos of Laura. The first– so passionate about her cause. And the last– seeing that cause all the way to the end. Not a total, all out, victory forever more but still winning. Winning for Hemp. Winning for Pot. Winning for Justice. It brings tears to my eyes again just thinking of her long battle, finally won…

Laura and I first met because of our desires to have legal cannabis, and we saw it all the way through. I’ll forever be grateful to her for her true friendship, and of course, that photograph, that joint, that granola bar, and that orange juice that morning. For it sums up all she was in life– a caring, compassionate, thoughtful person who we all loved, and will miss, and who we will always remember. In the end I can only describe the life of Laura Kriho by saying it was an Activist’s life well lived. How many of us can say we changed the world? Laura could. I’m so thankful that my dreams, and Laura’s were Shared Dreams, so that I could know a great friend.

Rest in Love Laura Kriho

Your friend Kyle Marsh (Capn Cannabis)

Happy 4-20-2017!