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Paying tribute to beloved medical marijuana pioneer & P.O.W. OG Eddy Lepp.

Sadly, it appears that old adage about deaths coming in threes is proving true today: first, we lost master hash maker Frenchy Cannoli on July 18th; then, longtime Yippie activist Wayward Bill Chengelis died on August 7; and now we've just learned of the passing of yet another icon of the cannabis community—medical marijuana grower/activist OG Eddy Lepp. Eddy passed away peacefully in his sleep around 2 am yesterday morning after a difficult battle with cancer. He was 69 years old.

Charles “Eddy” Lepp was one of the most famous and revered pot POWs in America. As an activist, Lepp traveled the world with his best friend Jack Herer and worked closely with Dennis Peron to help get Proposition 215 passed in 1996, and was then the first person to be acquitted under that law in 1998 after being charged for operating a medical cannabis collective. In the early 2000s, he established Eddy’s Medicinal Garden—the largest medical cannabis grow in history, containing over 30,000 plants servicing around 4500 patients.

The farm also doubled as the site of the Rastafarian ministry he founded, earning him the honorific of Reverend. Though the farm was protected under California law, it was still federally illegal and was raided by the DEA in 2004 (the largest individual medical marijuana crop seizure in US history), then again six months later. Lepp was convicted in 2007 and served over eight years in prison before being released in December 2016.

Lepp has received several honors over the years, including having a song (by Los Marijuanos) and a cannabis strain named after him. In 2004, Lepp was named High Times’ Freedom Fighter of the Year, and in 2017 was awarded their Lester Grinspoon Award for Lifetime Achievement. On April 20 of last year, we at World of Cannabis (in conjunction with our friends at the Cannabis Business Awards) named Eddy one of our 420 Icons (one of the top 100 cannabis advocates of all time).

Eddy Lepp was one of our nation’s most beloved and beleaguered medical marijuana growers and activists—a modern-day marijuana martyr whose bravery, conviction and sacrifices helped pave the way for the freedoms we enjoy today. He will be missed and never forgotten.

For the full story on Eddy’s life and legacy, read our Cannthropology article about him and listen to his interview on our podcast by clicking below.

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