Hempfest (from October HQ Magazine)

Appeared in HQ Magazine October 2009 (also had cover rights for cover photo)

The Emerald City served as a perfect backdrop for Seattle Hempfest, a green-themed celebration of all things cannabis, to roll out the green carpet and welcome people from all over the country to learn and enjoy everything that hemp is and could be.

It all started in 1991, during a six month peace vigil to oppose the Gulf War, when a few of the participants decided to throw a “humble gathering of stoners”. Eighteen years later it has grown to be America’s largest marijuana law reform event.

The 2009 event featured five stages of free music with over 50 acts throughout the weekend; including Arlo Guthrie and Willie Nelson, speakers and hundreds of vendors.

There was a little something for everyone. Proponents of medicinal, industrial and recreational use of cannabis had booths and spoke in the Hemposium. As usual, there was a widespread smattering of food, arts, crafts and educational booths, even face painting. Of course there was also a wide array of local blown glass, imports, vaporizers and hemp goodies.

While there was plenty of fun stuff going on, the festival promotes some serious issues. The festival is referred to as a “protestival” and aims to not only celebrate the many uses of hemp, but also to educate and rally for the decriminalization of cannabis. The themes of human rights, civil liberties and freedom ring throughout the festival’s events. Some of the speakers at Hempfest represented organizations like the Marijuana Policy Project, California Cannabis Ministry and SAFER (Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation).

The show hosts some 100,000 visitors over the 2 day show. The attendees range from the counter-culture hippies and tie-dyers all the way to suit and tie politicians. Even with the gigantic proportions and cost, the event remains free to the public through donations and volunteer dedication, hard work and passion for the cause.

The show also adds to Seattle’s notoriety as a hemp friendly city. Five years ago, Seattle voted to make Marijuana the lowest priority for police officers and medical use of the plant is legal in Washington. State legislature is now considering downgrading possession of marijuana from a misdemeanor to a civil infraction taking the state one step closer to joining the hemp revolution.

The theme of this year’s Hempfest was: Cannabis for a better future. Change is definitely in the air and so are the fumes of the honored plant.

~ by accordingtoleanne on November 26, 2009.

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