Remembering Joyful Hemp Warrior Steve Levine

We’re sad to relay that Steve Levine, former President of the Hemp Industries Association and rock star hemp ganja joyful warrior, left us on January 1st. He also served as a boardmember for Vote Hemp and worked at Dr. Bronner’s as our trade show director for many years.

We dug up the DEA’s lawn and got arrested together, where his gentlemanly presence was like an iron fist in a velvet glove. As our shovels said: “Reefer Madness Shall Be Buried! American Farmers Will Grow Hemp Again.”

Please read the wonderful tribute below from Vote Hemp President Eric Steenstra.

Thank you brother for your courage, laughter, incredible smile and shining example. We love you forever and ever.



We were saddened to learn that our friend and colleague Steve Levine passed away on January 1, 2022. Steve was a Vote Hemp board member who worked for more than 20 years to grow the hemp industry and legalize hemp.

In October of 2009, Steve was part of a group of farmers and hemp industry leaders that were arrested for planting hemp on the DEA headquarters lawn to protest the ban on hemp farming. Steve was very passionate about bringing back hemp farming and spoke eloquently about the need to change the law in a video of the protest.

Steve founded the Santa Barbara Hemp Company in the mid 1990’s and sold a wide variety of hemp products via his retail store and at events including the Santa Barbara Hemp Festival which he founded. Steve joined the Hemp Industries Association and was elected to the board of directors in the early 2000’s. Steve became HIA President in 2005 and served in that role for more than 10 years.

From 2005 to 2013, Steve worked tirelessly to pass hemp farming legislation in California. Joined by his colleagues, Steve walked the halls of the State Capitol endlessly educating legislators on hemp and spoke persuasively numerous times before committees hearing the bills. His doggedness helped to finally pass the bill on the fourth attempt.

Steve was also a diehard Dodgers fan and even once met the famed Vin Scully in the top deck bathroom. Out of respect for Vinny’s space, he left Vinny alone to catch his breath between innings. That was typical of Steve, he always respected others’ need for a break. For decades he attended games with David Lander who played Squiggy on the popular sitcom Laverne and Shirley in the 70s. Steve helped David around the stadium after he developed Multiple Sclerosis. Such compassion symbolizes Steve’s huge heart.

Steve Levine with David Bronner, Patrick Goggin, Denny Finneran and Sue Kastensen

Steve also worked for many years as the Trade Show Director for Dr. Bronner’s and exhibited at many shows and events including Expo West, Green Festival, BioFach and Patients Out of Time.

Steve always had a huge smile and was known widely throughout the industry for his positivity and dedication to his favorite plant.

Steve lived in Carpenteria California and is survived by his wife Kathi.

Steve Levine at the legendary Santa Barbara Hemp Company he founded:

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David Bronner

David Bronner is Cosmic Engagement Officer (CEO) of Dr. Bronner’s, the grandson of company founder, Emanuel Bronner, and a fifth-generation soap maker. He is a dedicated vegan and enjoys surfing and dancing late into the night.

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