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1997 | Harrelson shows up to movie premiere in Kentucky Hemp Museum

Updated: Jan 19, 2019

As if Harrelson hadn't drawn enough media attention, on January 8, 1997 Woody arrived in the Kentucky Hemp Museum van, wearing a tuxedo, and his "100% hemp Kentucky" cap to the Cincinnati premiere of his film, The People vs. Larry Flynt. With him on his arm, none other than Simpsonville schoolteacher, Donna Cockrel. An article written in the Lexington Herald-Leader claimed, "not even a glitzy premiere could keep Harrelson's mind off his Kentucky crusade."

Woody credited his role as Mr. Flynt with inspiring him to pursue his crusade to legalize industrial hemp and other causes. He still stood trial for planting hemp seeds, and was arrested in the followering December for climbing the Golden Gate Bridge to protest environmental threats. Without Mr. Flynt's example, Mr. Harrelson said, ''I wouldn't have planted those seeds. I wouldn't have gone into Donna Cockrel's classroom. I wouldn't have hung off the Golden Gate Bridge.''

Ms. Cockrel stood at his left side, grinning when he introduced her as ''The first lady of hemp.'' She was still being investigated for inviting Mr. Harrelson to talk about his pro-hemp crusade before her fifth-grade class. Jennifer O'Banion, 17, of Campbellsville,, Ky., a winner of an essay contest to promote interest in industrial hemp.

"We don't want to get away from Kentucky. It's going to be the first state to make (hemp) legal." The push continued Wednesday night on David Letterman's show: He gave Letterman a hemp hat and Letterman asked: "So you're saying hemp won't get you goofy?" Harrelson: "That's a proven fact." Letterman quickly tossed the hat.

During the premiere, Woody was asked about, "running for governor of Kentucky on the all-hemp ticket." He responded with a smirk.

Click the links below to learn more about the Harrelson and Cockrel trials:




Isaacs, B. (1997, January 10). HARRELSON: HEMP'S CAPPED CRUSADER. Retrieved December 3, 2015, from

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