Today, April 20th, is a cult holiday celebrated by devoted followers of a certain recreational drug. People all over the country, the world perhaps, gather with their friends, loved ones, and strangers, in their homes, at parties, sitting around in circles, standing in line, and smoke some marijuana. It is self indulgent, and many would say irresponsible, but hey, these people are just taking one day to enjoy something they like, and to relax… isn’t that what holidays are about?
What does this have to do with vegan shoes? Good question. Let’s ignore the obvious hemp association for just a second and ponder a little about what it means to be a vegan and/or pot smoker. Like it or not, we vegans and vegetarians adopt an alternative lifestyle, and some would even say are part of a subculture, counterculture, or even just cult. The same could be said about potheads and stoners. Now I’m not saying that we are the same, I know enough of both to say that these are a distinct group of people with widely differing worldviews. But we are not mutually exclusive of each other, and we cannot deny that there are similarities, especially as to how we are viewed by outsiders.
That said, one thing we can all appreciate are the fine qualities of a vegan hemp shoe. Hemp is a soft, durable fiber that is made of the stalk from Cannabis plants (the leaves and flowers are the parts lit up). It is one of the fastest growing biomasses known, and one of the earliest domesticated plants. It is also very environmentally friendly as it requires few pesticides and no herbicides. It is truly a shame that this plant has had a stigma surrounding it that has prevented it from being put to better use.
There are hopeful signs that this stigma is starting to disappear. Hemp products are popping up all over, in the form of paper, textiles, health food, and medicine. Nowhere is it more obvious than when you search for hemp shoes – they’re everywhere now! Okay not everywhere, but they are becoming more and more popular. And here are some of my fave hemp shoe picks.
UPDATE: just wanted to share a video of my favorite stoner comedian doing a little bit on, uh, weed. It starts at 0:25, and only lasts for a little but everything after is still funny.