The Bookworm of Edwards welcomes author Finn Murphy

Cover of 'Rocky Mountain High'
Courtesy image
  • What: Rocky Mountain High with Finn Murphy
  • When: Thursday, July 20 at 6 p.m.
  • Where: Bookworm of Edwards (295 Main St. C101, Edwards, CO 81632)
  • Cost: $10
  • More Info: Call 970-926-READ or visit

Reminiscent of the popularity of the West during the gold rush, when hemp was legalized nationally a couple of years ago, Colorado was at the center of the hemp growing and processing boom. One former long-haul trucker decided to buy a 36-acre farm and try his hand at hemp farming, but it turned out to be way more than he bargained for.

On Thursday, July 20, hear from retired long-haul truck driver and author, Finn Murphy, about his misadventures diving into the alluring world of the hemp industry. Murphy brings another intriguing story that elucidates a traditionally unexamined subculture, through his trademark wit, insight and honesty. There will be a Q&A session and book signing following Murphy’s presentation, and light refreshments will be provided.

After years of living on the east coast, Murphy found himself in Boulder, where he saw firsthand the excitement over growing hemp. “I was drawn into the hemp industry because it was new, having just been legalized after 83 years of prohibition,” Murphy said. “There was a lot of excitement about hemp’s possibilities in the agricultural, financial, medical, and cultural realms that I wanted to be a part of. The biggest challenge during that first year was that everyone was piling into hemp without knowing a thing about it, which certainly included me.”

Murphy, and his publisher, decided that these challenges were part of an interesting story to tell, especially after the success he had with “The Long Haul,” his first book. “With my first book, I really wanted to tell a story about truckers and what I experienced on the road over all those years,” Murphy said. “That book was very successful so my publisher, W.W. Norton, asked me to write a second book about a different part of my life. I agreed to do that and then got involved in hemp which was a big distraction. After the hemp boom was over and I was picking up the pieces, I thought the experience might make another successful book so I wrote it.”

Even if you’re not interested in the nitty-gritty details of the hemp industry, Murphy believes that all kinds of readers can find something they resonate with in his book, especially people who like learning about American subcultures. “‘Rocky Mountain High’ is a book for the general American reader who enjoys reading about subcultures,” Murphy said. “Hemp is its own little world that operates in plain sight but also invisibly. It’s a lot like truckers in that way. An added bonus for readers is that this book will definitely be of interest to farmers and people who want to start businesses.” 

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The hemp industry operates under the radar, so many of the people Murphy worked with, and who worked for him, lived under the radar, too. “The hemp space is one of those netherworlds in the American economy where traditional workers are not found,” Murphy said. “It operates off the books and thereby attracts individuals whose lives are off the books, such as unauthorized immigrants, folks with mental issues, and renegades of various stripes.”

From long-haul truck driver, to volunteer ski instructor for people with disabilities, to less than successful hemp farmer, Murphy might just be one of these renegades himself. In reading “Rocky Mountain High,” readers will hopefully come away with understanding and grace toward a man who tried something new to him. “I hope people have some fun reading my book and maybe learn a few things along the way,” Murphy said. “The book’s tone is light and conversational, and I’d hope I come across as a guy who the reader would like to have a beer with. I sincerely hope that the reader sees me as someone who got caught up in forces beyond his understanding and did his best.”

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