“How’s it goin’ brother?” He said. He was a husky middled-aged man with a significant southern accent. “Did you hear they done legalized marijuana, by presidential decree, I thought Obama was with us, but never expected The Donald, new day.”
I was seated in the Snug section, in The Moon, contemplating his statement before Jane had returned with a Guinness.
“I get it,” I said. I smirked over at him. “April fools…”
“Oh man,” he said. “I thought I had ya, names, Elwood.”
“Rob,” I said. “What’re you in town for?”
“Glad it ain’t fifteen-to-twenty,” Elwood said. He grinned. He nudged his head back toward the Vinoy Hotel. “Hemp summit, over at that fancy place.”
His blue eyes were too alive, and he lacked the aroma for having been smoking marijuana, I thought. He appeared more like a thick, happy lumberjack, with a buzzed hair cut.
“Never got into it,” I said. Jane set a Guinness on the bar top. I pointed forward a the beer. “This is my legal drug.”
“What can I get you?” Jane asked Elwood.
“Booker’s?” Elwood asked. “That’s my preferred drug.”
“Sure,” Jane said. “How do you like it?”
“Just a bit of shaved ice,” Elwood said. He pulled out a gold money clip, and tongued his thumb and pealed off a crisp fifty. “This should cover it.”
“Roger that,” Jane said. She walked down the bar searching for the master-crafted, aged bourbon.
“I don’t smoke weed, never have,” Elwood said. He took off his glasses. “Hemp farmer, back home in Winchester, Kentucky.”
“I’m from Lexington,” I said. “Or, if I hang around you for another hour, I’ll call it, lex-ton.”
“Small world, yeah, that accents down in there, hiding,” Elwood said. Jane had returned with the bourbon drink. Elwood lifted it up. “Cheers, brother.”
“Cheers,” I said. “Hemp summit? At the Vinoy.”
“Place is expensive, it’s hot down here,” Elwood said. He sipped the drink. “I needed to take a walk, found this place, it looked all right.”
“It is,” I said. I pointed over at the menu. “They’ve got some pretty good food, always consistent, and they have Guinness.”
Jane looked down at the bourbon drink.
“Nothing I can do with that,” Jane said. She tapped-out on the bar. “It’s already at its maximum density.”
“That’s why I don’t touch the stuff,” I said over at Jane.
“Ah, live a little,” Elwood said. He grinned. “Just a little Kentucky nectar.”
I set the Guinness forward. I thought about Kentucky. The leafy tobacco fields, the majestic thoroughbreds, and nature’s untouched beauty.
“I guess the cliché,” I said. “Home is where the heart is, right?”
Elwood nodded back over at me. He understood what I had meant.
“Remember, we do have all the major vices in Central Kentucky,” Elwood said. “Tobacco, bourbon, gambling at the track, and, a major cash crop, marijuana.”
“I guess your Hemp summit’s not about,” I said. “Abraham Lincoln’s father-in-law, his rope manufacturing out Old Frankfort Pike?”
“No sir,” Elwood said. “We’ve expanded from rope.”
“I’m not a big fan for legalizing pot,” I said. “Smoking cigarettes are bad, but smoking pots, okay? I don’t get it.”
An older man had entered The Moon, he had sat down next to a dark lacquered column. Jane stood in front of him.
“Industrial hemp business, we’re not in that world, I was messing with you,” Elwood said. He leaned back, and crossed his arms. “We are into non-psychoactive, CBD, the trials for CBD, and what not.”
“CBD?” I said.
“Cannabidiols, CBD,” Elwood said. “Extracted from hemp plants, and it’s NOT got appreciable THC, stuff in wacky-weed that gets you high, sorry, I just tell people that off the bat.”
“Then why are you into it?” I said. “If you’re not getting high, but then again, I drink Guinness.”
Elwood leaned forward, he scratched his nose.
“It’s been used to minimize epileptic seizures, in kids,” Elwood said. He sipped his drink. He stared down the back bar area. “I noticed it, I was a sceptic. But it helped some little kids, it was heart-breaking to watch the video they showed me. But this grandparent gets it, so, I got involved.”
I looked back over at Elwood.
“I cannot imagine a child with seizures, I’d lose my mind,” I said. I looked back over at Elwood. “But you’ve got land, you’d need a lot of land, right?”
“Yeah, got Kentucky Ag department ticket, we’re legal,” Elwood said. “Instead of tobacco, we started growing hemp. Man, Winchester’s taken off, it’s become a huge deal.”
“I’ve been there,” I said. “I guess, Kentucky’s not fifteen years behind everybody else.”
“Yeah, we’ve gotten all modern, all hip,” Elwood said. He chuckled, and he took a modest sip. “You don’t need to move back to die there.”
“Summit’s been worth your time?” I said.
“Oh, yeah,” Elwood said. “I had to skip out, clear my mind, there’s several investment groups over there, lookin’ to get involved with us.”
I looked past Elwood, and watched the restaurant hostess guide a tourist group over to a large table. The waitress quickly stood nearby, and started her service routine.
“I don’t know much about it,” I said. “But I’ll guarantee big pharma’s going to take notice.”
Elwood nodded, he turned toward me.
“Follow the money, that’s what the politicians pay attention to,” Elwood said. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m a businessman, but drug companies are good at creating more customers, I’m not sure they share our desire to help kids.”
“Sorry, I’m sitting here thinking of one of my dogs,” I said. “I wish I’d had some of your product.”
“What’s that now?” Elwood said.
“I had a dog, she had seizures, killed me to watch her, I was powerless,” I said. “Took her in, she had a brain tumor, right behind her left eyeball. They couldn’t promise they could get it all, so we went the drug route. I got up everyday for two years, gave her human drugs, they helped, but eventually the tumor won.”
“Dogs,” Elwood said. “They are your best friend, mine was, Hank.”
“Pink Petunia, brain tumor got her, Margaret May, heart attack got her,” I said. “We cried like babies, both times.”
“Me too, when I had to put Hank down,” Elwood said. “He was in pain, I had no choice.”
“I still have her ashes,” I said.
“You know who has really gotten with the plan?” Elwood said. “Buying CBD oil like it’s catnip.”
“Parents of kids with seizures?” I said. I shrugged. “Not sure…”
“Old people,” Elwood said. “CBD has significant anti-inflammatory properties, helps with pain. I’ll tell you a secret, I gave some to friends dog.”
“Really?” I said.
“Brother,” Elwood said. “Dog started walking, before it was just laying on the floor, you know, it was painful for it to walk.”
Elwood set his drink down, he put on his eyeglasses, he tapped on his smartphone screen.
“Just so you don’t think I’m messing with you,” Elwood said. He had placed the screen in front of me. It showed some smartphone photos of a dog. “Before, and after…”
“I had no idea,” I said. “Totally clueless, which wouldn’t shock my ex-wife.”
“From what I’ve learned,” Elwood said. “Now remember, I’m a finance guy, farmer, but it’s in part our endocannabinoid system, nervous system, might help with anxiety, pain, from what our science team tells me.”
“Science team?” I said. I stared up over at Elwood.
“Hey, we’re serious about this,” Elwood said. He chuckled. He took off his eyeglasses. “This is not some fly-by-night venture. We’re into genetic testing, plant testing, trials with CBD, whole works.”
“The things I learn,” I said. I lifted my drink glass. “Drinking a Guinness down at The Moon.”
“Tell ya something else,” Elwood said. “Since I own the joint, I talked to the team, I was having real pain in right shoulder, as in it couldn’t function.”
“Oh no,” I said. “You’re not just a pusher, you’re a user?”
“Yep,” Elwood said. “They gave me some super juice, with a dropper, used it everyday, about week or so went by, guess what?”
“For real?” I said.
“I’m all in, brother,” Elwood said. “I’m pushing to make this business legal, properly regulated, to help and to protect our customers.”
“That’s really cool,” I said.
“If we help some kid,” Elwood said. “I’ll be happy.”