Papers of Lynda Parker
Scope and Contents
The Papers of Lynda Parker offers documents dated 1996 to 2019. The subject folders and email correspondence relate to the history and value of hemp as well as legislative efforts to legalize the production of industrial hemp in Colorado.
- Parker, Lynda (Person)
Restrictions on Access
There are no access restrictions on this collection. However, it is stored off-site, so advance notice is required.
Restrictions on Use
Not all of the material in the collection is in the public domain. Researchers are responsible for addressing copyright issues.
Citizen advocate Lynda Parker launched the Colorado Agricultural Hemp Initiative in 2006 as an effort to push for positive environmental change. Working with members of the state legislature, the Colorado Department of Agriculture, state law enforcement and agricultural organizations, and the Canadian consulate in Denver, Parker authored a pro-hemp resolution approved by the Colorado legislature in 2010. She was closely involved with two Colorado hemp bills (HB 12-1099 and SB 13-241) which passed without opposition in 2012 and 2013. Following the passage of Amendment 64 by state voters on November 6, 2012, Parker appointed the members of the committee that would create hemp regulations to be enforced by the Colorado Department of Agriculture.
Born in 1949 to John Martin Searcy and Therese June Odom Searcy in Denver, Colorado, Lynda Parker spent her early childhood in Eldorado Springs before moving at the age of 9 with her family to the Denver suburb of Arvada. Following graduation from Arvada High School she worked as a receptionist to fund travel to Europe. A succession of other jobs ultimately led to a 20-year career as a sales representative for US West Direct, a company that offered to pay for employees to take classes at the University of Colorado-Denver. To prepare for an assignment for a course in political science, Parker followed hemp legislation introduced in 1996 by state Senator Lloyd Casey. Although that bill did not pass, it sparked her interest in the history, economic potential, and environmental value of industrial hemp.
A decade later, after retiring from her position at US West, Lynda Parker contacted state Senator Suzanne Williams to talk about possible hemp legislation. Williams was serving in the legislature when the Casey bill was introduced, and enthusiastically assisted Parker in connecting with key Colorado legislators. The Colorado Department of Agriculture was not promoting hemp at that time because it was illegal, but introduced Parker to Yuma County farmer and hemp activist Mike Bowman. Soon afterward, Parker, Williams, and Bowman began educating farmers, organizations, and legislators about the many benefits of hemp.
In early 2006 Lynda Parker became acquainted with Brian Vicente, a Denver attorney and activist for the legalization of marijuana in the state. Parker and Vicente supported each other in their parallel initiatives, but didn't actively work together because, in Parker's words, "I spent 90% of my time explaining the difference" between hemp and marijuana. (Both are classified biologically as cannabis, but hemp contains no more than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive compound in cannabis.) Six years later, Vicente added a line regarding hemp to his draft for Amendment 64, which was passed by Colorado voters in 2012 to legalize recreational marijuana and industrial hemp in the state.
Mike Bowman provided connections to the Canadian consulate in Denver. In April of 2009, Canadian Trevor Kloeck came to Denver to discuss the Canadian hemp industry, which was unable to meet the growing international demand for hemp products. That same month, House Republican Ron Paul of Texas introduced the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009 to the 111th U.S. Congress in an attempt to amend the Controlled Substances Act to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana, but the bill died in committee. Also in 2009, Lynda Parker engaged in discussions regarding hemp with North Dakota wheat farmer and state legislator Dave Monson. Monson expressed his frustration at seeing flourishing hemp fields just across the border in Canada, while the lucrative crop was still illegal to grow in the United States.
During 2011, Parker worked with the Canadian consulate to organize a conference in which Canadian officials and producers shared their experience with cultivation and export of hemp products. Parker invited state legislators and Colorado State Patrol officers to meet with members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police via conference call to discuss law enforcement, and everyone left the meeting with a more positive opinion of hemp.
Parker and friend Erik Hunter traveled to southeastern Colorado and the San Luis Valley to educate agricultural producers about the value of hemp as a farm crop, and Colorado Senator Gail Schwartz joined their efforts when they met with people in her district on the Western Slope. Farmers throughout the state expressed enthusiasm for planting hemp if they could obtain seed. Small samples of viable hemp seed were purchased from England by an anonymous donor, and some growers collected seed from feral hemp plants that had survived after cannabis was made illegal in the United States decades earlier. In the spring of 2013, Ryan Loflin of Springfield in southeastern Colorado planted sixty acres of hemp to become the first commercial grower of the plant in the nation in more than fifty years.
A founding member and former vice president of the board of the Rocky Mountain Hemp Association, and a founding member of the National Hemp Association, Parker also served on the advisory boards of Pure Hemp Technology and the Nebraska Hemp Association. Her efforts to make Colorado the first state in the nation to legalize and cultivate hemp are documented in Doug Fine's book Hemp Bound: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Next Agricultural Revolution, published by Chelsea Green in 2014. Married to Jeffry T. Parker, Lynda continues to make her home in Denver and promotes her vision that hemp will be grown everywhere - on farms, next to roads, and along rivers to secure the river banks and to provide soil filtration, human food, animal feed, fuel, and fiber as a boon to agriculture, the economy, and the environment.
0.3 linear feet (1 document case, 1 oversize folder)
Language of Materials
Citizen advocate Lynda Parker launched the Colorado Agricultural Hemp Initiative in 2006 as an effort to push for positive environmental change. She was closely involved with two Colorado hemp bills (HB 12-1099 and SB 13-241) which passed without opposition in 2012 and 2013. Following the passage of Amendment 64 by voters in 2012, Parker appointed members of the committee that would create hemp regulations to be enforced by the Colorado Department of Agriculture. The collection consists of documents created by Lynda Parker to provide information related to the history and uses of hemp. It also contains news clippings, printed emails, and other materials documenting efforts to promote Colorado legislation to legalize the production and marketing of hemp in the state.
The collection consists of 1 series in 1 document case and one map folder:
Series 1: Records, 1996-2019 and undated
After recording an oral history for the Agricultural and Natural Resources Archive in 2017, Lynda Parker donated her papers to the Colorado State University Libraries on July 23, 2020.
Materials in the collection were organized by topic into acid-free file folders. Folder titles were supplied by the archivist.
- Guide to the Papers of Lynda Parker
- Edited Full Draft
- Prepared by Linda M. Meyer
- Copyright 2021
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English.
Part of the CSU Libraries Archives & Special Collections Repository
Fort Collins Colorado 80523-1019 USA