[NOTE: Hazel and I went to Seattle Hempfest last weekend in Seattle (no big surprise on that location, eh?). It was a heat wave, and Friday was the hottest day of the year for the area. I asked Hazel to do a quick write up about it for the site – KIM ]
This weekend I spent some hot days in the sun on the Puget Sound to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Seattle Hempfest.
The 2.5 mile long festival along the Seattle shoreline is a peaceful cannabis reform event, attended by thousands of people over the three days it runs.
Since its inception, the event has been held as a free speech protest and for the right to assemble. It brings with it a dynamic lineup of speakers, live music, unique crafts and hemp products for all.
“Further” – Ken Kesey’s magic bus from the 60s was one of the stars on the north end of the park.
Finding a place in the shade turned out to be a challenge; the first two days were so sunny that I was almost burnt to a crisp.
As we wandered along, it turned out that a great place to find shade was at the Dope Magazine booth, packed with people, and with the CEO, Dave, being a cheerful host (a task he repeated at their VIP party the next day).
Thanks to our friends at Cannabis Radio, I was able to go backstage behind the main stage and check out the bands getting ready to perform and meet with a few advocates readying to take the stage.
They were discussing cannabis reform, and celebrating how far we’ve come in the last 25 years.
Radical Russ Belville, a well known cannabis advocate was back stage interviewing the speakers for CannabisRadio as well. . In addition to the main stage, there were multiple stages and seminars along the shoreline featuring both educational panels and informative speakers.
Washington state prohibits selling cannabis or marijuana in public (and restricts sales to licensed dispensaries), as well as prohibiting smoking in the park.
I saw many vendors sell hemp clothing, hemp topicals, glassware and hemp infused energy drinks.
There was definitely smoking going on, though. Most people brought it with them to smoke and vape openly and freely, in spite of there being officers present.
We’ll be featuring a full write up with lots more pics later this week on CannabisWallet.net, so be sure to sign up to get the mailer.
It was a peaceful event, but I saw many police officers walking and riding bikes around observing – can you spot them?
Vivian McPeak, Hempfest’s founder has seen it all over the past 25 years,
“It feels surreal, humbling, rewarding, and it’s mind blowing! When we did the first Hempfest in ’91 we had absolutely no idea that there’d be a second one, and I remember 500 people showed up, and we were like, ‘Dude did you see the crowd, it was huge!’ “
If you’re a cannabis enthusiast, as most people in Seattle seem to be, this event is one to support. Year after year it brings together a mix of vendors, advocates and cannabis related education, its easy to see that the cannabis reform movement has grown to the point where the stigma is gone when attending Hempfest.
[FINAL THOUGHT: We talked to some police officers at a restaurant on Friday night, and they are pretty sure that this was the last Hempfest, not just the 25th. It seems that when an event is held as a protest or free speech demostration, there are a lot of fees, like overtime for first responders, that are waived or paid for using grants from the various government entities. Doesn’t look like Hempfest will continue to qualify since cannabis is recreationally legal in WA, even though no one is allowed to grow their own plants — KIM]