If there is one thing Hana Gabrielová is passionate about – it’s making this world a better place. Studying agriculture in the Czech Republic, Hana spent several years working for environmental NGOs. However, it was the discovery of hemp that changed Hana’s life forever. After reading about the history of hemp in Jack Herer’s The Emperor Wears No Clothes Hana decided to make a change. In 2010, Hana founded Hempoint. Hempoint cooperates with farmers in the Czech Republic to produce products made from hemp. Currently, the company offers over 30 hemp-based products throughout Europe. Dedicated to sharing the history and power of the cannabis plant with the world, Hana is passionate about empowering women to help heal the world.
In the beginning, what inspired you to work with cannabis?
I read a book by Jack Herer, The Emperor Wears No Clothes. It opened my eyes to the fact that hemp has so much potential. This was information that was never taught in schools. I was shocked to learn everything. I couldn't believe it! Reading this book really sparked my interest in hemp. I read the book during my studies, I was about 19 at the time. Then, I had to decide what the focus of my thesis was going to be.
At that point, I knew that I wanted to do something with hemp. So I did my thesis on hemp. As part of my thesis, I started to work with non-governmental organizations in the Czech Republic. During my thesis, there was new legislation that would allow us to grow industrial hemp. But at that time there still was not a lot of knowledge about hemp at all. This is part of what propelled me. I was also a smoker, though. I enjoyed occasional joints. While I wasn't someone who smoked a lot I did some. This made me want to learn more about the plant. But it really all started with a book. One book changed my life.
What was it like starting Hempoint?
I started working for many years in NGOs on the issue of nuclear waste. A lot of my work was research oriented. It was difficult work. I stayed with it for eight years. After a while, I got tired of it. I was ready to move on. I didn't want to work for NGOs anymore. There is a lot of bureaucracy and so much processing. At the same time, I was working so much, I had no personal life. I wasn't able to take holiday or enjoy anytime for myself. I'm someone who values personal freedom. The work I was doing wasn't right for me anymore.
So, I knew it was time to change. I felt a calling to work with cannabis in the Czech Republic. It was an issue that I knew needed more attention. Cannabis had been undermined for too long. This issue really touched me. In 2010, I started Hempoint. Hempoint offers a wide-range of hemp-based products that are distributed across Europe. But we also perform research on hemp processing along with advising farmers on growing hemp. Hempoint cooperates with other farmers in the Czech Republic. Today, I live right next to our huge hemp field. It is amazing!
How would you describe the cultural climate towards hemp in the Czech Republic?
A lot of people in the Czech Republic still view cannabis as a drug because that is what they have been told. They are not aware of the plant’s capabilities. But the people have to know. The people need to know why cannabis was made illegal around the world and how. In human history, we’ve made a lot of mistakes. The prohibition of cannabis was one of those mistakes. It happened. Money and power were the driving forces. The people are waking up but we still need to spread this message. Hemp is part of our history. But it has been largely left out of our history. Yet, the cannabis plant has been part of human history for thousands of years. And in just a few hundred years, they’ve managed to wipe out this history. It is time to change that. The world needs to know. After all, where would we be without hemp? It is crazy. It is hard for me to believe this is really happening because hemp is such a simple truth.
What excites you as a woman in The cannabis World?
Women have incredible power. When we work together, amazing things can happen. Now, this is not to say that women should not work with men for initiating change. But rather women should work with conscious men. As people of this planet, we are working against the past. All of the things that have been put in place were under primarily male-dominated and misogynistic power. Women must rise above and repair it. The conscious men will welcome us in creating this change. When we are able to do this, great change can take place.
Are women in the Czech Republic interested in using hemp?
Women tend to use hemp for cosmetic purposes. They also frequently use it more for food. In general, women are more health-conscious than men. So I find that a lot of women in the Czech Republic are interested in hemp for health reasons. Because of this, women are more familiar with hemp in the Czech Republic. The men tend to be more interested in marijuana than hemp. They prefer to smoke a joint than consume hemp.
If you could give an aspiring cannabis entrepreneur one piece of advice, what would it be?
If you want change be the change. Take initiative in your own life first. If you want things to change globally, focus on changing yourself first. Get going. When you only think about a change or just speak about it, it’s nothing. Make things happen by taking action. Don’t wait. Make the decision and start putting things in place.