Hempfest 2000 Heavy On Toke-Lore 

Hempfest 2000 Heavy On Toke-Lore 
Posted by FoM on August 21, 2000 at 06:41:14 PT
By Peyton Whitely, Seattle Times Eastside Bureau 
Source: Seattle Times
All along Seattle's waterfront at Myrtle Edwards Park yesterday, thousands of people crowded around displays, listened to bands and speeches, and bought items from hundreds of booths - something that happens at community fairs all over the Puget Sound area all summer. But this one was different. Although the event may have resembled the Bellevue Art Museum Fair in crowd size, the intent was something else. 
This was Hempfest 2000, a day dedicated to celebrating and changing the way a common substance in the United States is treated. The substance is marijuana, a form of hemp, and the festival's message was repeated in a thousand ways, from T-shirts to bumper stickers. "Just be glad I'm not your kid," said one T-shirt. "Rehab is for quitters," said another. "Thank you for pot smoking," said another. There's little question it was a popular message. Hempfest organizers predicted 90,000 people would attend. Admission was free, so there were no tickets to count, but many thousands of people thronged the waterfront from Pier 70 north to the grain elevators. On the festival grounds, bodies flowed endlessly past booths and bands, from displays of hemp products such as jackets and sandals to colorful glass pipes that have only one purpose. There was nothing subtle about why many in the crowd had gathered. "This is what Hempfest does. It's a day for us to come together and say, 'Yeah, brother, I smoke pot,' " said one young man wearing a Hempfest staff T-shirt as he spoke to the crowds. Everyone cheered. But festival organizers said they were emphasizing the legalization of hemp, which contains less than one percent of marijuana's mind-altering chemical. "My thing is saving our planet. . . . If we don't stop using trees we aren't going to be breathing much longer," said volunteer Jueles Scott with the Hemp Coalition. "We're not a bunch of hippie freaks who want to sit around and smoke pot all the time. It's about American rights." Meanwhile, Keith Stroup, founder and executive director of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said, "Marijuana smokers are simply average people who happen to smoke marijuana. "They don't want to be treated as criminals. We need a policy that distinguishes between use and abuse." Event's Impact Unknown:It's unknown, of course, whether events such as Hempfest, now in its ninth year, will succeed in changing national policies, and the event seemed as much a chance to enjoy a nice afternoon. Allan Erickson, 48, and his wife, Darcy, 29, had come with their children from Eugene for their first visit to Seattle's Hempfest, mainly because they'd been told that it attracted more than 50,000 people, twice as many as similar events they'd attended in Oregon. He said they brought their children, Robin, 8, and Alex, 7, partly with the hope of helping them make their own decisions. "I think it already is changing," he said of the attitude toward marijuana use. "I don't want my kids growing up under prohibition." The Ericksons also don't advocate that their children use marijuana, they said. "I give them the same lectures they get in schools - not to use drugs," Darcy Erickson said. When they get to be adults, they'll make their own choices, the Ericksons added. Others said the festival just offered something interesting to do. "I've been to a lot of them," said Emily McHugh, 22, who was attending with a friend, David Shiel, 24. "We thought we'd check it out. There's a band here we wanted to hear. It's mostly for the music," she said, adding that she was "kind of split on the whole issue" of marijuana use. "If people can use it responsibly, I don't see why not," McHugh said. Part of the point of Hempfest was to do things such as encourage voting, and Cindy Lamb was working the crowd with a clipboard with a "Gore 2000" sticker. Lots Of Tie-Dyed T-Shirts:She joked that it seemed that as she moved farther from the center of the gathering, she saw fewer tie-dyed T-shirts. "It's a good place," she said, adding that her goal is to keep "George W." from being elected. Hempfest generated a lot of political interest, she said, "mostly Democrats." No Republicans? "Oh, maybe a couple," she said. Information from The Associated Press is included in this report. Published: Monday, August 21, 2000Copyright  2000 The Seattle Times Company Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer (WA)Copyright: 2000 Seattle Post-IntelligencerContact: editpage seattle-pi.comAddress: P.O. Box 1909, Seattle, WA 98111-1909Website: Articles & Web Site:Seattle Hempfest Hempfest Seek To Alter Mind of the Voting Variety 99, The Seed Is Mighter Then The Sword
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on August 22, 2000 at 22:45:48 PT:
Pictures From The Seattle Hemp Fest 2000
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Comment #2 posted by Tim Stone on August 21, 2000 at 14:17:28 PT
As a resident of Seattle...
...who did not make it to the Hempfest, but who follows local news reporting of Hempfest closely, this is a definite inprovement in reporting over past years. Last year, and I think the year before too, the entire coverage in the two local news rags comprised a picture with accompanying caption, that's it. The fest clearly had editorial "taboo" (not) written all over it. This year, at least the local rags actually wrote up something beyond just a pic. I suspect that the local newspapers, who, like politicians, feel that "I must follow the people. Am I not their leader?", have been perturbed and divided on how to handle the growing drug policy reform movement, especially in the light of Wa. State re-legalizing medical cannabis in a recent election. I suspect the policy reform movement scares them, as status quo establishment freaks with a latte, beholden to advertisers, which is why there was a virtual blackout on Hempfest coverage the last year or two. It may well be a good sign that at least this year the local rags have managed to rouse from their pusillanimous slumbers enough to report the Hempfest, while doing so flippantly, just to cover their editorial butt. Hey, here in the upper-northwest-corner of the lower forty-eight, that's _progress_, believe it or not. 
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on August 21, 2000 at 08:08:48 PT:
Fest About More Than Hemp 
Seattle P-I, August 21, 2000 2000 The Associated Press.A languorous crowd of thousands strolled through a waterfront park gazing at hemp products and drug paraphernalia yesterday at Seattle's annual Hempfest."Dude, why don't they have this every weekend?" one man remarked to a friend as 15,000 to 20,000 people wandered along crowded walkways in warm sunshine.A whiff of marijuana scented the air, though organizers said they were emphasizing the legalization of hemp, a variety of the marijuana plant that contains less than 1 percent of its mind-altering chemical."My thing is saving our planet. . . . If we don't stop using trees, we aren't going to be breathing much longer," said volunteer Jueles Scott with the Hemp Coalition."We're not a bunch of hippie freaks who want to sit around and smoke pot all the time. It's about American rights."Advocates said hemp plants nourish the Earth and that its fiber can be made into textiles, paper and construction materials, among other things. Although it is generally illegal to grow hemp in the United States, the products can be imported.But there was no shortage of folks favoring marijuana, too. A group called the November Coalition collected hundreds of signatures on petitions asking President Clinton to release non-violent drug offenders.One seller displayed blown-glass hashish pipes for $25 and bongs for smoking marijuana at $50 and $75, which she said were "really good prices, lower than the head shops."Marijuana's legal status in Washington state has slipped into a more relaxed position since voters approved a 1998 measure allowing patients with certain illnesses to possess a 60-day supply of pot.Police patrolled the crowd. Capt. Jim Pugel said that under the new law, when an officer sees someone in possession of marijuana, a report is written and forwarded to prosecutors. Seattle police had made no arrests by late yesterday afternoon.
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