Hopper Reflections: Dear American Dreamer
January 22, 2021
An open letter to our community from Hopper Reserve CEO, Evan Eneman
Dear American Dreamer,
Welcome to 2021! What an incredible first 21 days we have had. It’s as if each week has been a year, and our hearts and minds have most certainly aged as much, even if our bodies have not. Or maybe it’s the other way around.
Four months ago we launched Hopper Reserve in the mid-century modern oasis of Palm Springs, California. Nothing beats the year-round sunshine, golf games and tennis matches, followed by cocktails by the swimming pool, or today, a cannabis delight of your choosing. We kept it simple for now, cannabis the way Dennis used to like it, a classic joint; pre-rolled for your convenience of course.
When we started developing the cannabis brand a few years ago we wanted to honor the legacy of Dennis himself. He was an advocate for the legalization of “marijuana” and he dreamt of building a cannabis brand that could have a pervasive impact and break down the unjust system of the criminalization of cannabis and its effects on minorities. We are building our community using the power of art and conversation to change how we function for the better, in no small part as a result of our acceptance and embrace of cannabis in our daily lives.
Shortly after the release and worldwide success of the seminal classic that changed a generation, Easy Rider, Hopper reflected, “When I made Easy Rider, I made a movie that I thought was showing the criminal element of our society, because I consider our society a society full of criminals. I don’t see any difference between the young guys that we portrayed smuggling cocaine into the country which is tax free, and the examples their fathers had set for them by having munition plants and smuggling frozen funds out of the country and putting it in banks in Switzerland. I’m not sure which is a bigger criminal act. I think that we are a society from our movies and our films that have glorified the criminal, glorified the outlaw. The people at the end of Easy Rider that kill us, that shoot us off the bikes, what’s the difference between the two on the bike and the two in the truck?”
“There’s a revolution they say; the blacks have been made criminals, the browns have been made criminals, the yellows have been made criminals, we’re all criminals. I smoke marijuana I’m a criminal, society’s made me a criminal.”
A significant economic foundation of our union was nurtured by genocide and slavery. Beyond a time sensitive servitude it was cruel and inhumane depravity exemplified by rape, torture, murder and theft, framed ingloriously by slavery. There’s a saying that, “… we’re only human…”. Which is to say, if we cannot find the common bond of love for self, love for our family, love for our friends, love for our neighbors, love for our communities, we have no humanity at all. The only way we can move on and grow as humans, is to first understand who we have been, who we are, and who we want to be; recognize, acknowledge, and embrace our mistakes and live life to learn and improve ourselves every moment. If love for all doesn’t bond all spatial relationships, we may be lost as a civil society. I believe that we are not lost, we are resilient, we have love in our hearts and love in our souls. Cannabis may be that which nurtures our love, Mother Earth sharing her bounty. We have wasted its use and abused those who held it dear and needed its engagement for the daily respite it provided. Our time to heal is now.
What we all witnessed earlier this month is the culmination of hundreds of years of anger and hatred, foisted on the “other”; some of us just want to love and be loved, others just want to be left with their lives. It’s not that we’re too “soft”, it’s that we care too much about the wellbeing of others and that the sole point to have anything at all is to share it with those who don’t. We have to design and engineer the future we want, not with “1’s” and “0’s”, but with our hands and our hearts. As we enter the Age of Aquarius, are we to be enlightened once again? Cannabis may tell.
Dennis was a true documentarian, a social commentator, who captured moments in time that have reverberated for generations, and find us staring yet again into our own lens. Dennis was in no small way molded by the 50’s and 60’s.
He walked amongst giants of his day, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil rights leaders; the click of his Nikon no doubt ever present. If he were alive today, those same frames would be replaced with powerful female leaders like Stacey Abrams and Kamala Harris.
We are living through a sensitive time, a now hopeful time. We have the power to control our own destiny, our own existence, our purpose. Dennis changed culture and generations to come. We will carry on his legacy, as a socially conscious rebel, championing change through art and conversations. Hopper Reserve is a meeting place for like minded people, the canna-curious and aficionados, the creatively minded adventurers, students of wellness and socially conscious advocates ready to have a new conversation about cannabis. We have four core values:
- We believe in the Power of the Plant. Cannabis is a safe and natural supplement for self improvement and the actualization of the mind, body and soul.
- We exist in a Community of All. Our inclusive community celebrates unique perspectives and values experiences and stories unlike our own.
- We prefer to live life Outside the Lines. Life is meant to be lived and we consistently explore life off the beaten path, through creative expression, human connection and our daily practices.
- We truly believe that Art is Life. Art inspires change. Whether art imitates life, or life imitates art, we support and aim to amplify change-makers of the past, present and future, from all walks of life.
A month prior to launching Hopper Reserve, I had shared an article with my father that my wife’s father had shared with her. It was the story behind the song The Sound of Silence, and the selfless devotion and personal sacrifice of Art Garfunkel for his friend and college roommate, Sandy Greenberg when he unexpectedly lost his sight and his hope. Upon reading, my father reflected on the loss of his two closest friends and questioned what if anything he imparted on his four children of the insight and love of friendship. He reflected on the beautiful story of kindness, love and responsibility and spoke to the depth of the bonds we should all have to others. On the eve of launching Hopper Reserve to the public, I followed up on that thread that I had let permeate for weeks, and shared with my father the weight that was being lifted with the “launch”, knowing very well that the “weight” had only just begun its losing battle with gravity. I have been involved in the cannabis “industry” since 2014. I’ve had my ups and downs, the good and the bad of this industry and experienced some of humankind’s worst vices; and in my father’s words, “For far too long you have evaluated each tree and assumed its honesty and grandness only to be undermined to the ugliness when the leaves fall and the tree is unmasked in its desolate nakedness.” He implored me to “Stand back, look at the whole and contemplate the future laying under the leafed umbrella of an infected tree.” And that, “Your time has come to plant your own tree and nourish it from the springs of honesty and shared goals and a bond of brotherhood with those who lend their hands in the planting,” and nurturing. Hopper Reserve is one of those many trees I have planted and have been nourishing for some time. Our communities and families are built on love and mutual respect, it is only with continued selfless devotion to each other that we will achieve our highest calling.
A little over two years ago I delivered one of the keynote speeches at a National Cannabis Industry Association conference in San Jose. It was a time of great change in my life. I said it then, and mean it more even now, the most important part of my life is my relationship with my loved ones, which includes family, friends and my community at large. I want to see those I love, healthy, happy, and live fulfilled lives. I care deeply about these people, and that gives me meaning. We don’t have to fight to beat someone out to “win,” we have to fight to help each other out and lift each other up; that is what unifies us and what makes us stronger as a community. As an industry we’re built on the back of a plant given to us by Nature, and its gift is one that needs to be accessible to all unreservedly. We haven’t even begun to explore its possibilities– we haven’t researched it enough, consumed it enough, or explored the vast boundaries of what it will enable our society to become.
You are all members of our Hopper Reserve Commune. We have intentionally created a community of people sharing physical and digital spaces, interests, human values, beliefs and resources. We believe it is time to change the narrative of cannabis, change the narrative of our dysfunctional society. We believe in the power of art and cannabis to dismantle ineffective, corrupt and unjust systems and to uplift our collective love for one another. We know that we’ll get there together. Each member of our Hopper Reserve Commune contributes in their own unique way to this core mission, by supporting the voices of emerging artists, to championing action around cannabis de-stigmatization, decriminalization, legalization and equal access for all.
As Harry Truman stated before Congress in 1947, “I believe it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.” That statement couldn’t be more relevant today.
We may all worry about the social consequences of our actions. We also have a collective responsibility to act, to come together, to gain clarity on what is needed to help reshape the cannabis landscape and our society at large. We need to model and inspire more appropriate behavior, a more egalitarian approach to community. We need to focus on actions that change culture through positive behaviors and reinforcing the collective good.
Dennis wasn’t afraid to speak his mind when he saw an injustice and neither will we be. We will work tirelessly to give voice to those that do not have it and give hope to those that have had their light dimmed. As Dennis said, “My heroes in real life are the so-and-sos who got fed up and changed things.”
We look inside to learn what drives us and share that with the world through art and creative self-expression. We look forward to honoring the legacy of Dennis Hopper. Let’s create the world we want to live in. We are not criminals.
Here’s to the REBEL in all of us, The American Dreamer.
With humility and respect,
CEO, Hopper Reserve