Holy Smokes! Hemp Festival is Too Groovy 

  Holy Smokes! Hemp Festival is Too Groovy 

Posted by FoM on February 17, 2000 at 10:36:18 PT
By Marty Beckerman
Source: Anchorage Daily News 

The atmosphere at the Hemp 2000 benefit concert, held in Anchorage's Organic Oasis Cafe, can best be described as ...well, far out, I guess. Crazy hip, man.In fact, it's really kind of touching, in a strange way. Dozens of genial people have congregated in this petite coffee shop and diner to support a cause they hold dear in their hearts, ignoring the pressure of societal norms to desist.
At the door of Organic Oasis, I'm greeted by a cheerful gentleman named Al Anders, who - as fate would have it - is treasurer of Hemp 2000. I introduce myself as a journalist, and he seems delighted at the media attention I'm apparently providing."What platform does Hemp 2000 support?" I ask."To legalize the hemp plant completely for all uses," Anders says."And what uses would you be referring to?""You can use it to make clothing, food, fuel, fiber, paper, oil for your car. ... Hemp has a lot of uses.""Does Hemp 2000 support the legalization of marijuana?" I ask."We support hemp for all uses, which would include marijuana," Anders says. "We are very much opposed to throwing adults in jail for doing something in the privacy of their own home."Feeling properly introduced to this basic hemp minutia, I stroll around Organic Oasis, fully experiencing all that is HempFest 2000. Well, not "fully" experiencing, but pretty close. You know? Too true. Mad groovy.After some brief searching, I find a table selling a pragmatic plethora of hemp merchandise. For example: "hempzels," hemp-saturated pretzel snacks; T-shirts and videos exhibiting such compelling proclamations as "The Emperor of Hemp" and "Cannabis For Humankind!"; and hemp Pops, tiny lollipops made from hemp extract.Anders offers me one of these Hemp Pops. I unwrap the candy and put it in my mouth, noticing itsplastic wrapper says "Hemp - Number One Source of Protein of All Plants.""Wow," I say, "this tastes just like tree sap and death."I walk around the dining room of Organic Oasis, looking for people who would like to be interviewed. I meet Linda Ronan, proprietor of a local business called "Flying Colors" - a tie-dyed shirt company - and author of the forthcoming dramatic production "They Just Don't Get It." Ronan says she has a funny story about working behind a booth at the Alaska State Fair last summer."I do custom tie-dies," she says. "We've done the fair for 15 years. But this year, I decided to make a little bit more money, so I got these marijuana leis ..."Ronan holds up a bunch of hemp leaf-shaped necklaces for my approval."These are marijuana leaves?!" I ask."No!" she says. "No, these are just silk, honey. It just looks like marijuana leaves, OK? You see here? Silk! ... That's absurd!!""OK, whatever.""So last year, Carmen came here. He's a religious singer of somesort. Anyway, the fair authorities said the leis were offending people, and they said Carmen had asked me to remove them. And I said "No, I've beenselling them all week, and everyone has been buying them. I've sold 500.""So you would rather not take down pseudo-marijuana necklaces thankeep your booth at the state fair?" I ask."It's the principle of the thing. The point is, there are lots of people out there considered criminals, but they pay their taxes, vote, giveto the community. And they're considered nasty people because they smokepot. ... Don't we live in a free country? It's supposed to be free, isn't it?"Just then, a woman named Regina Manteusel approaches me, introducing herself as a candidate for the state house come the next election."So who are you running against?" I ask."Against the incumbent, Allen Kemplen (Democrat, District 16)," Manteusel says."I take it Allen Kemplen isn't exactly Allen Hemplen?" I quip."I think Alan Kemplin is a former community patrol officer, and he doesn't really understand the healthy uses of hemp.""But if you were elected into office, there would be marijuana for everyone?""I think it's something that should not be around children, that it's something that should be done privately ... If you are not driving on the road, it's your personal business what goes on in your room.""Yeah, like heroin," I add."I am totally against heroin.""But c'mon, if you do it in your room, it's not like you're hurting anyone.""Heroin makes people violent and is extremely addictive.""But with pot, it's different?""Pot makes people eat a lot of food," Manteusel clarifies."Like Hemp Pops," I say."It makes people eat more food," she reiterates.Marty Beckerman is a junior at Steller Secondary School. Published: Thursday, February 17, 2000 Copyright © 2000 The Anchorage Daily News Related Article & Web Site:Marty Beckerman's Home Page Petition To Re-Legalize Hemp In Alaska News Search of Hemp Related Articles Plus Archives:

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Comment #4 posted by rico dakudao on February 12, 2001 at 21:28:09 PT:
hemp is wealth
arresting peace-loving, tax-paying and pot-smoking citizens is just absurd. it's a big waste of the government's money. this is a right that we all should fight for. if we are successful, it could save our depletting environment. it's the best way to save the world!!!
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Comment #3 posted by max stevens 2002 on January 04, 2001 at 15:23:44 PT
the criminalzation of M.J. is the greatest injustice facing us today.I cant understand how our government can accept money for liquer and tobacco, while putting people in jail for pot..IT IS OUTRAGIOUS..WE MUST PROTEST !!! THANX MAX
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Comment #2 posted by Hal on April 10, 2000 at 14:01:07 PT

My view of the "Holy Smokes" article.

 I found the commentary somewhat interesting. I think the author or interviewer had the right idea in mind when they decided to go to the festival, but she seemed a bit uncomfortable with the whole situation. I don't blame her at least she's more willing to learn than some, but still she needs to realize that simplely because you support hemp doesn't make you a hippie or stuck in the sixties. Hopefully she learned something at the festival and didn't just walk away thinking the lollipops were gross and tie-dye is so not in anymore.
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Comment #1 posted by Dankhank on February 17, 2000 at 10:55:58 PT:

Hooray for Freedom

The marijuana leis are very lifelike and bring a smile to the lips of most all who see them.Too bad there are hateful people that will not take the time to find the truth to the story of pot.It's great to hear of the efforts in AK toward legalization.Contact all you know there and urge them to support legalization of hemp, pot ... et al ...
Hemp n Stuff
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