Weed Warrior

Meet cannabis crusader and aficionado Rick Naya

Rick Naya dresses as a colorful crusader when he attends festivals, some he helps host, to spark the growing interest in high-quality pot, but he takes things seriously when he’s in Concord, speaking for thousands of NH cannabis users, both medical and recreational, who can’t speak publicly without risking jobs or status. He’s spent the last 15 years as one of the chief advocates for “wise legalization” and says he’s never made a dime for his efforts. He sees it all as a personal calling and a joy.

  • I’m called the great-grandfather of hybrid American cannabis.
  • In the ’70s, I was growing some Columbian. A friend came back with some ounces of Hawaiian and two seeds popped out. I planted them the following year and the Columbian cross-bred with the Hawaiian. We planted those seeds and it became the Gainesville Green. The very first American hybrid.
  • That original has diverged into so many of the breeds we know about in the world today.
  • It’s now my calling to be a warrior to protect cannabis and bring it to an industry that’s respectable.
  • We got rid of lots of people who were bad prohibitionists [in the election] this year.
  • In the state’s “Cannabis” Commission, that word is there because I fought to keep the invented word “marijuana” away. It’s not its name, it’s not clinical — it’s discriminatory and racist.
  • We’re going to say no to out-of-state cannabis. We want to be growing and exporting. It’s the only way we can protect our interests.
  • We’ve already extorted our citizens long enough in our failed drug war. We will have removed the long arm of injustice to minorities and citizens ruled by a lie created by greed.
  • I will not let them down and won’t stop until we all know we are experiencing true liberty for the first time in our lives.
  • What I love most about NH is the feeling of nature, old-time America, the steepled churches and squares. I love New England for its conservative, loving, giving people.
  • I would love to debate Sununu on any topic as long as we could have a debate of cannabis. I would sweep him under the rug.
  • I made a vow to my son that I would never cut my hair until they legalize it. Then I’ll hold an event in downtown Concord and have my son cut my hair and prove my commitment was not just for a day or a week. It was my life.
  • I’ve done this for the sense of humanity that we should be sharing with our state to truly live by our motto, which is to live free.

Naya, executive director of NH NORML, is a celebrity at cannabis festivals and “cups” (competitions where various strains are judged) and he often wears this necklace of painted clothespins — each one “pinned” to him by a friend or admirer. “It’s a festival tradition,” says Naya. “They are just sharing the love.” Naya personally operates the NH Cannabis Freedom Festival and the NH Freedom Cup and Bake-off. He also owns A Newer NH — a New Hampshire cannabis company and farmers’ collective that’s anticipating the day weed becomes legal in the Granite State.

Thanks and a tip of the Transcript Top Hat to the folks at Concord’s NY Smoke and Vape for the loan of that impressive-looking bong.

Categories: Q&A