This year, pot enthusiasts from around the globe celebrated the 25th Anniversary of Seattle’s Hempfest for three beautiful days at Myrtle Edwards Park. As an outsider, one might imagine a bunch of long-haired hippies in tye-dye toking it up along the beachy park. This is actually partially true. What you may not know, is that Hempfest is the largest pot “Protestival” in the world, where the cannabis community comes together to talk shop, talk pot, and most importantly, get involved in the Cannabis Freedom Movement.
The stoner culture was alive and well at Hempfest, as demonstrated by the dank aroma and funky tunes emanating from the park all weekend. With 6 stages and hundreds of vendor’s tents to peruse, three full days are definitely required to fully immerse yourself into the experience. Connoisseurs of Seattle’s finest greens had the chance to high-five their favorite growers while spinning a wheel for a prize at their tent. Tourists frolicked through fields of fresh bongs to pick, directly from the glass blowers themselves. Joints were passed. Nugs were admired. Life was good.
While the sunshine did make for a cheerful, fun-filled festival, the activism remained as captivating as ever, with speakers promoting stoners to get involved, and reminding them that the fight isn’t over yet. Even though many festival-goers could be seen freely smoking in the park, the tone was clear that our freedom is still in jeopardy as long as cannabis remains federally illegal. Drug War heroes like Seattle Lawyer Douglas Hiatt and Jodie Emery attended the festival to share their losses and victories, and encourage the community to stay involved in local politics. It is even rumored that Federal Cannabis Patient Elvy Musikka was in attendance, who suffers from glaucoma, and regularly receives a tin full of joints from the Feds to relieve her pain.
Hempfest is the perfect summer event to attend if you are interested in learning more about the past, present, and future of cannabis. The website states that their mission is “To educate the public on the myriad applications of the cannabis plant, the laws about its use, efforts for reform, and conducting business in the new legal environment.” If you stopped by the Hemposium, you had the chance to view a live hemp plant on display for the first time at Hempfest. Among the rest of the vendor tents were samplings of un-infused edibles, and many interesting conversations regarding the Washington State law that allows anyone 21 years or older to purchase cannabis in a recreational shop.
If 2017 will be your first Hempfest: comfortable shoes, sunscreen, and staying hydrated are a must. Participate responsibly, and make good use of public transportation for a safe ride home, just in case you accidentally catch a contact high. Make sure to hug a Hempfest staff member. They’ve done an amazing job for the last 25 years, all the way from underground cannabis to the now legal market. You will want to keep a hand free for all of the stoner swag you’ll accumulate, and another free hand for high fives from all of your new friends.