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 thecause 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 Hemp Fest and Freedom Rally, and is the key contender and forerunner as an independent resident for legalizing cannabis in New Hampshire.
As I met Rick, his great white beard and amazingly friendly demeanor, he greeted me with a “Hey, man! great to meet you!” and shook my hand with tremendous force. It was inspiring to see the man who will soon go on to be the leading factor of Cannabis legalization for Granite Staters.
So you’re the director of the New Hampshire Hemp Festival?
Rick: You better have a seat. Im 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, Ive 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 its 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, you’re the Director of the New Hampshire Hemp Festival and Freedom rally, you’re really spearheading New Hampshire’s fight for Legalization…
Rick: Im one of the many people, man, there are several of us that have spearheaded the legalization of Cannabis here in New Hampshire. Ive been doing this for 30 years as an advocate and, you know, Ive had my run-ins with the police and it has been difficult for me, not about jobs, thankfully, Ive always owned a business or was an executive of some form. Ive never really settled for a job. I was raised early on to know that I have to supersede as a minority, so to speak. 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 steam ship 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 bails of Cannabis. After the smugglers took what they needed, I went to the area they dropped it in and collected all the broken bails I could and hid them until I knew it was cool to start selling it. This was the beginning of my Cannabis experience.
Where was this?
Rick: So thats how I started my journey. On 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 life style 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 Hemp Festival…
Rick: So the hemp festival has been going on two years now, last year was the first and then this year. The first year we had more volunteers than we had guests. We probably had a little over a thousand people. Last year I became the executive director I was asked to because of the efforts I put forth in the Cannabis industry here in NH 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 a long, but now Im truly going to show you and prove this to you and let me know if I should wear my suit and tie.
The atmosphere changed as Rick started to tear up.
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?!
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.