This article originally appeared on hempsley.com
Back in 2016, Amy Dawn Bourlon-Hilterban started the "Talk to the Hand" campaign (Massroots, 2016) to raise awareness about the fact that the government has not only one but many patents on cannabis. Immediately following the Drug Enforcement Agency's ruling to leave cannabis listed as a Schedule 1 Drug, the campaign featured people holding their palms to the camera with the number #6630507, the patent number, written on them.
Learning that this government patent claiming "cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants" proved to me that cannabis was in fact medicine, and I didn't need to feel guilty about the fact that using it improved my quality of life. Cannabis is medicine — and the government knows it. They've done extensive studies on it...as they have to in order to be able to file a patent. Patients should not be forced to endure the stress of living in fear of being arrested, having their homes raided, or being locked up.
So for Christmas 2016, I made all of my closest friends in cannabis a watercolor leaf illustration with the quote "cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants", then framed it with a green calcite stone tied to the middle. A note came with it, explaining that this artwork was meant to be a reminder that even when things get really, really tough (and in this industry, they do...there are a thousand hoops to jump through), we are doing the right thing. This is medicine, and there are thousands of patients out there who need it. And if you need it, you should not feel shamed for it.
After posting the illustrations and getting such positive feedback, I decided to design a series of artistic and informative prints meant to be proudly displayed in your home and act as conversation starters to provide natural and heartfelt opportunities to educate the people in your life about this medicine.
The fronts display artwork while the back explains the government patent:
Patent #6630507 claiming “cannabinoids as antioxidants & neuroprotectants” was filed by the United States Government as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services on February 2, 2001 — proving that our government does in fact know that this plant is medicine.
Two of the prints exhibit whimsically illustrated cannabis plants for those openly “out of the green closet” while the other two are purely typographical, designed specifically for anyone who may not have the privilege of feeling comfortable enough to display a cannabis leaf in their home.
The prints were designed with the intention of being letterpressed, a vision inspired by Holstee prints. I have been doing photography for Holstee's Mindful Art Subscription for over a year now, which features art representing a monthly mindfulness theme, with an explanation of how the art relates to the theme with a note from the artist. These prints are letterpressed, which is a printing process that I learned to do in college where inked up artwork and type is pressed firmly into paper to create a debossing that makes for a unique tactile experience. This was one of my favorite printing methods.
We started out with letterpressing our Botanical Watercolor Illustrations. Since the front artwork is a watercolor, however, we had to have the fronts digitally printed then mounted to a 220# paper that was then letterpressed with its information on the back. We plan to letterpress both the fronts and backs of the remaining 3 designs in the next few months, but until then, are digitally printing them one-by-one on my inkjet printer on Neenah Paper.