Eddy Lepp, born Charles Edward Lepp, is a Vietnam War veteran and California-based medical marijuana activist, world-renowned cultivator, author, poet, and artist born in 1952. His cannabis journey has now led him to the Northeast legal cannabis market, and the NUGL family!
After gathering signatures to get California’s original medical marijuana bill (prop 215) on the ballot with Jack Herer and Dennis Peron, he was the first American to be arrested, tried, and acquitted in 1997 for growing medical cannabis under California’s Prop 215. After refusing to back down from allowing patients and members of the ministry to produce cannabis on his property, providing care to his wife (Linda Senti, who was ill with cancer) and 2,700 other patients who needed safe access to medical cannabis in California, he was raided and faced 4 consecutive life sentences, plus 40 years in federal penitentiary, and $17,000,000 in fines. Eddy ended up sentenced to federal prison in 2008 for conspiracy to manufacture marijuana, as well as conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, and served 8.5 years of a 10 year sentence – the absolute minimum of time required, and no fines as the judge presiding over the case saw the injustice of his original charges. He was finally released in 2016. His wife lost her tumultuous battle with cancer just prior to Eddy leaving for his prison sentence.
Eddy’s Medicinal Gardens – the now famous Lake County, California site where Eddy oversaw the planting and growing of more than 32,524 medicinal cannabis plants for the thousands of members of his Multi-Denominational Ministry of Cannabis and Rastafari sadly no longer exists. Eddy, however, remains a true hero to everyone who now enjoys safe access to cannabis as medicine and sacrament. Before prison, he was known to never deny a patient access to the healing plant based on income or lack thereof. He made a space for everyone to take their health under their own control in a world where access to medicine is blockaded by one’s own income and social status. Throughout his journey, he has given away millions of dollars worth of medicine.
Eddy and Linda created California’s first open-public clinics for doctor’s recommendations to access medicine. Between 1998 and 2003, these clinics provided more than 1⁄3 of the state’s legal recommendations for cannabis. Among Eddy’s numerous accomplishments, he was the first cultivator to bring his garden into 100% organic standards. He has been recognized by Jack Herer, Dennis Peron, Kyle Kushman, and many others, as one of the world’s greatest cultivators within the space, receiving awards from numerous cannabis groups for exceptional garden quality.
Specifically speaking, his gardens have been named as two of the top ten best gardens ever!
He has been honored by numerous groups and publications, among them Emerald Cup, Cannabis College Amsterdam, and many more. Bringing earth-friendly standards to the community, he is also the first cultivator to encourage applying root mycorrhizae and the use of Gro-Kashi – a now commercially produced vital probiotic and nutrient essential for healthy plants.
Eddy, a celebrity in his own right within the cannabis community, is an OG founder of the freedom fighting movement in cannabis reform, rubbing elbows and bouncing ideas for legislative reformation off the likes of the late legendary cultivator and author, his dear friend Jack Herer , Dennis Peron (Cannabis Activist, Author of Prop 215), Ed Rosenthal (Cannabis Activist, Horticulturist, Author), Mark Leno (CA legislator), Willie Brown (former SF mayor, State Sergeant at Arms), Gavin Newsom (current Governor, previous Mayor of SF) and many more infamous individuals who dedicated their lives to changing the unnecessary social stigma around the life-sustaining plant. He has created countless famous strains of cannabis, and even has a Cannabis Cup winning strain named after him, OG Eddy Lepp.
Ironically, Eddy served the last few years of his prison sentence in Colorado, while the rest of the state – along with seven others – were enjoying complete legality at the end of a path he paved.
After experiencing the anguish of being incarcerated for something that is now legal, that he helped pioneer, Eddy is looking forward to sharing his stories, art, and intellect with his freedom. He is also very passionate about prison reform, the alarming rate of veteran suicides,and the many different uses of industrial hemp, recognizing that hemp will save the world from its current path of destruction. NUGL and our readers can look forward to Eddy’s regular insight in his upcoming regular column “Hey, Eddy!!!”. Look out for that on our site, and in our upcoming print issue, which will be launched at this years MJBizCon in Las Vegas.