Sensi Seeds’ pivotal moments: Giving thanks to those who make a change

Richard Branson receives the Cannabis Culture Award with Ben Dronkers

This article is about people whose actions have contributed to changing perceptions about cannabis and for the most part continue to do so, people who have been recognised with a Cannabis Culture Award for their courage in the fight for the acceptance of hemp and cannabis.

Richard Branson receives the Cannabis Culture Award with Ben Dronkers
2012: Richard Branson receives the Cannabis Culture Award

The year 2015 is dedicated to the 30th anniversary of Sensi Seeds – a milestone that the company is particularly proud of. To mark the occasion, we are currently publishing a series of articles about the pivotal moments in Sensi Seeds’ history, as well as its associate companies. They represent the building blocks of our core values and what we stand for today.

In the previous article in the series, you could read about how Sensi Seeds’ associate company HempFlax re-launched the hemp industry in the West. Ben Dronkers’ had a vision to once again grow the traditional hemp plant with its long history in his home country, in Europe and in the rest of the West. With HempFlax he made this dream a reality.

This article is about people whose actions have contributed to changing perceptions about cannabis, people who have been recognised with a Cannabis Culture Award for their courage in the fight for the acceptance of hemp and cannabis.

What are the Cannabis Culture Awards?

Cannabis Culture award

The Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum awards the Cannabis Culture Awards to all those in the front line when it comes to fighting for the acceptance of cannabis in all its forms, and who contribute to ensuring that this extraordinary plant has a future in which it is recognised and applied, and a history that is well known and appreciated.

Who organises the Cannabis Culture Awards?

The Cannabis Culture Awards is an initiative by Sensi Seeds founder Ben Dronkers, philanthropist, and director of the museums in Amsterdam and Barcelona. The establishment of these valuable cannabis and hemp information centres means an awful lot to him. They tell the true history of the plant and house some 12,000 objects that reflect its past, present and future. It is these museums that host the Cannabis Culture Awards. What other institution could be more fitting?

What is the reason for the Cannabis Culture Awards?

In the struggle for the acceptance of cannabis, it is crucial that people speak out in public and share their opinions without reservation. The Cannabis Culture Awards are awarded to people and organisations who have, in the on-going debate about the legalisation about cannabis, proved time and time again in that they do not give up, and contribute to ensure that the topic does not disappear from the agenda. Their engagement is an example to us all.

If the debate on drugs is to be held in a hopeful and optimistic manner the world over, it is crucial to recognise those who really make a difference in the perception and use of this plant so wrongly scorned.

The importance of the Cannabis Culture Awards is more pertinent than ever. All over the world, individuals, clubs, parties and organisations are fighting for acceptance for the end of prohibition and against renunciation, repression and stigmatisation.

The current Cannabis Culture Award holders

In the past, the Cannabis Culture Awards were awarded to remarkable people from all over the world, ranging from politicians, entrepreneurs, doctors and psychiatrists, to authors, entertainers, activists and other big thinkers. They are public personalities, who play a significant role in history by criticising and fighting the war on drugs and campaigning for the acceptance of cannabis in all its forms. People who stand in the front line! People who spread the message!

Marc & Jodie Emery and Howard Marks

Marc and Jodie Emery smiling
Marc and Jodie Emery

In 2014, Marc and Jodie Emery were awarded the Award. Together they are the most famous cannabis couple in the world. They achieved their fame through their relentless activism and campaigns, even in desperate times.

Howard “Mr. Nice” Marks spent years campaigning for the legalisation of cannabis in a valuable and positive manner through education and conversation, and as author and public speaker.

Frits Bolkestein and “Spuiten en Slikken”

The winner of the 2013 award was the former Dutch leader of the VVD party (People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy), Frits Bolkestein, and the Dutch TV program “Spuiten en Slikken” by BNN. Mr Bolkenstein is a renowned advocate of regulation of the drug trade. For years, the Dutch TV program “Spuiten en Slikken” has played a key role in the discussion about cannabis and other drugs.

Sir Richard Branson & Thorvald Stoltenberg and Fernanda de la Figuera & Todd McCormick

Ben Dronkers and Sir Richard Branson
Ben Dronkers & Sir Richard Branson

The prize holders of 2012 were entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson and Thorvald Stoltenberg, former Norwegian minister of foreign affairs, who both accepted the Award on behalf of the Global Commission on Drug Policy.

In addition, Fernanda de la Figuera, Spanish cannabis grower and, since 1973, relentless activist, and Todd McCormick, American cannabis campaigner, head editor of the Hempire magazine and author of “How To Grow Medical Marijuana” and “21st Century Hash” were also awarded the Award.

Dr. Lester Grinspoon & Dr. Frederick Polak

Dr. Lester Grinspoon, Associate Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the famous Dutch psychiatrist in the field of drug use, Dr. Frederick Polak, were also awarded a Cannabis Culture Award.

Dr. Hans-Georg Behr, Dries van Agt & Simon Vinkenoog

Simon Vinkenoog with the Cannabis Culture Award
Simon Vinkenoog

The year before, the winners were Dr. Hans-Georg Behr, psychiatrist, history professor and productive writer, as well as Dries van Agt, former prime minister of the Netherlands and the Dutch poet and artist Simon Vinkenoog.

Ed Rosenthal

In 2007 the American gardener, author and explorer Ed Rosenthal was the Award winner. He is internationally renowned for his knowledge of and commitment to medicinal cannabis.

Jack Herer

The most famous American cannabis activist, Sensi Seeds’ friend and author of “The Emperor Wears No Clothes” Jack Herer was also awarded the Cannabis Culture Award in recognition of his ground-breaking research and unrelenting work for the legalisation of the cannabis plant.

Eagle Bill Amato

Eagle Bill Amato
Eagle Bill Amato

The second ever Cannabis Culture Award went to Eagle Bill Amato in recognition of his pioneering work to improve and research cannabis vaporisation. This mysterious and very inspiring man in the field of medicinal cannabis, known as the Godfather of Vapor was awarded the Award in 2005.

Henk de Vries

In 2004, Henk de Vries, the most important and influential cannabis entrepreneur in the Netherlands, was the first to be awarded the Cannabis Culture Award.

The prize holders all have different backgrounds and have or had different jobs, but they all have one thing in common. They are all cannabis advocates! They put their all into fighting for reason, justice and humanity. Their engagement will help to shape the future.



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    Sensi Seeds

    The Sensi Seeds Editorial team has been built throughout our more than 30 years of existence. Our writers and editors include botanists, medical and legal experts as well as renown activists the world over including Lester Grinspoon, Micha Knodt, Robert Connell Clarke, Maurice Veldman, Sebastian Maríncolo, James Burton and Seshata.
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