A lot has changed within California’s Cannabis Industry over the past several years. Changes came to a peak with the monumental passing of the Recreational Cannabis Bill, Proposition 64, which made the voting ballots during the presidential elections of November 2016. At the time, the general public became awkwardly divided with the newly elected President, Donald Trump, who brought with him the alt-right ideology, extremism among other radically different political and social views compared to his predecessor, two-term incumbent, President Barack Obama. With the sea parted, it was through the sheer power and fortitude of the hands of Jesus which brought us stoners into the New Year with a bhang, pun intended.
Whether you were fortunate enough to live in the Greater Los Angeles area to witness in person the epic display and act of our freedom of speech on January 1st 2017 (*Tommy Chong), or you tapped in through the various social and media platforms, the images of the Hollyweed sign went viral.
On April 20th, 2017, I found myself kickin’ it at the Hollyweed booth during the annual Southern California Cannabis Cup event hosted by High Times Magazine at the NOS event center in San Bernardino. Real lowkey, humble with a douse of pizzazz, Zachary Fernandez a.k.a. Jesushands, is the daring artist who recreated the Hollyweed sign. Dating back to 1976, Danny Finewood was the original artist who briefly converted the Hollywood landmark to read Hollyweed. Danny demonstrated his artistic and political message with the passing of the Mascone Act of California, which helped lower the penalty for the possession of small amounts of cannabis from a felony to a misdemeanor charge. Fast forward 42 years where Californian lawmakers presented a Recreational Cannabis Bill which would further decriminalize the possession of small amounts of Cannabis for personal consumption. It’s safe to say that both Danny and Zach felt compelled to share their culturally & politically influenced art with the world.
Ocean-grown in Southern California, Zach bleeds Dodger Blue and breathes only Cali loud. A natural-born artist, Zach has also spent considerable time as a Cannabis Cultivator and Medical Cannabis Caregiver. Zach has lived in both Los Angeles and Central California with his beautiful family. Known for its vast agricultural landscape scattered with wild golden chanterelle mushrooms and their massive greenhouse facilities specializing in the cultivation of ocean grown orchids, San Luis Obispo County has also become identified as a region known to cultivate some of the world’s most exotic cannabis phenotypes. Drawing from his artistic talents and sticky green thumbs, Jesushands was destined to leave his mark on the world.
As I sat there with Zach, I began to realize that I was sitting with an extremely unique artist with legendary characteristics. Jesushands embodied a social justice artist with both symbolically visual and socially provoking art meant to illustrate the current social and political climate. Weeks leading up to the covert mission, Zach spent considerable time planning, prepping, and visualizing his pursuit. Although many of his closest artists and friends did not take him seriously, Zach remained focused on the task at hand. “I was just committed a 100, you know what I mean. Once you commit, that’s it, you just commit, and everything else just falls into place”.
Not knowing exactly how Jesushands pulled off this defiant feat, I turned to the mythical man and shared my personal reaction when I myself witnessed the Hollyweed piece. “Oh man, Jesushands, I couldn’t believe it, when I saw it, I thought to myself, IT’S HAPPENING!!!”. He chuckled and began to share what actually occurred in the days leading up to New Year’s Eve of 2016. Conceptual planning took place months before the actual preparation. With only a few days left before the new year, Zach began to prepare the custom black & white bed linens tailored through visual estimations for the required size and dimensions necessary to cover parts of the double O in HOLLYWOOD to read HOLLYWeeD. During the night of, Zach pulled up to a predetermined location, with plans to return to his vehicle once the mission was complete. Equipped with only camouflage Army cargo field gear, a knapsack packed with the custom Hollyweed drapes and trusty mini vice clamps, Jesushands hiked his way up to the historic monument. According to weather sources, it got to as cold as 45°F that evening. In the typical warm Southern California climate, that’s pretty nippy.
Halfway to the promised land, Jesushands fought through the elements and positioned the custom-tailored bed linens by scaling the sign’s metal beams before accessing the ladders attached to the individual letters of the HOLLYWOOD sign. Going unnoticed throughout the New Year’s Eve celebrations, Jesushands worked tirelessly to display his art installment. The feat took approximately 3 hours to complete, and once upright, Zach hiked down to his car. When Zach got home, he wanted nothing more than to blaze one and crash.
The world woke up to 2017 to embrace the meaningful message left by Jesushands. Locals rushed to the landmark to take selfies with the Hollyweed backdrop, while News choppers and vans alike engulfed the Hollywood trail to get a piece of the action. By the time Zach woke up, it was clear that his efforts had not gone unnoticed.
Although Zach had to turn himself in to local authorities the following Monday, the world would never forget Jesushands. Auspiciously, Zach had to only face a misdemeanor charge for trespassing on private government property. Today, Zach and his family live in Los Angeles where Jesushands continues to manifest his artistic visions. In addition to his continued dedication to his craft, Zach has officially launched his Hollyweed brand, which possesses the type of illustrious clout deserved only by those who have earned it. My man, Jesushands, has earned his stripes and medal of honor from the Cannabis Community.
Follow Jesushands:@jesushands @hollyweed.la
*Tommy Chong: Coined Jesushands’ action to be an Act of our Freedom of Speech. Thanks for putting this into perspective, Sir Tommy Chong! (Credits: Vice Media)