On June 18, the cannabis community lost a colorful and dedicated freedom fighter, photographer and Army veteran, Larry LK Kirk. Known globally simply as “LK”, Larry traveled the country to bring awareness to the injustice, which is the drug war. He believed no one should go to jail for a plant.
A long-time Hemp News and High Times photojournalist, LK captured thousands of historic photos in his effort to document the path to legalization. There was no distance too far in his effort to, as he stated, “document freedom as it happened.” LK had the ability and access to get the camera angles and photographic perspective that most could only imagine.
As an avid supporter of NORML, he had many friends in the organization from founder Keith Stroup to board member Rick Steves. LK was an Oregon NORML board member for several years and through his tireless efforts helped to persuade Oregonians to regulate cannabis in 2014.
LK was a regular attendee and judge at the High Times Cannabis Cups across the United States and in the Netherlands. Over the years, due to his dedication and charm, he became close family with the entire High Times crew.
Among LK’s many talents, he helped promote several local bands including Portland hip hop artists Bad Habitat, Portland rock trio Pass Margo, Sacramento rockers Arden Park Roots, Blues artist Justin James Bridges and many others. Through his personal connections he began working with the Portland Hempstalk Festival, where he quickly became a core staff member. The Green Goddess Blues Stage at the event in 2014 was also known as “The LK Stage”. It’s no surprise that LK was also a proud, card-carrying VIP member of Seattle Hempfest and travelled faithfully to Seattle for the annual event.
In 2014, LK took his efforts to the road on the Cannabis Common Sense Tour, a way to put money on the books for cannabis prisoners. Traveling through Oklahoma and Texas, he believed the states that oppressed cannabis most were the places he needed to speak out. He changed hearts and minds on the journey.
As a regular at the World Famous Cannabis Café, LK helped establish veteran’s night, to give veterans free entry and a place to meet, socialize and relax together. LK’s hero in the cannabis legalization movement was Dr. Phillip Leveque, DO, PhD, World War II US Marine Infantryman, and Oregon’s first medical marijuana doctor. The two had a unique connection through their military service, and LK greatly enjoyed his interview sessions with Dr. Leveque. In 2012, LK spearheaded Veterans for Measure 80, gathering endorsements for cannabis legalization from local VFW groups.
In 2015, LK was the Grand Marshal at the Portland Global Cannabis March in Pioneer Square, an event he helped to produce for the past decade. Although in the final stages of his battle with cancer, he found the strength to inspire with a speech from the stage that will never be forgotten. In his speech, he noted the wonders of Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) as he stated, “For the last nine months I’ve been a cancer survivor, so if anybody tells you Rick Simpson Oil don’t work, you’re looking at it, guys. As long as I keep getting my Rick Simpson Oil, I’ll be around.”
From the second I met LK, we bonded. Over our decade together in friendship and activism, we became brothers. The moment Vancouver, Washington opened their first day of legal cannabis sales, we were there to witness and document history happening real-time together.
In November 2014, Oregon passed Measure 91 for cannabis regulation and LK saw legalization happen in his home state. LK knew that our job as activists has only just begun as we push for nationwide cannabis freedom and he was hopeful for the emerging cannabis industry.
“We lost one of our Portland cannabis activist volunteer community members today, Larry Kirk. LK is a great guy who is a positive inspiration. We worked together for many years. He made this world a better place and will always be in my heart,” said Paul Stanford of the Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH).
CRRH is honored to have had LK as part of our team. Every member of our organization will remember him, always.