Seattle Hempfest

Seattle Hempfest 2001 was a terrific success! Over 150,000 supporters came out for our first ever two-day event, making Seattle host to the largest Cannabis policy reform event anywhere. The weather was great, and several new additions and expansions added to the call for reform and policy change at this year’s Hempfest.
The best surprise was when Woody Harrelson took the stage at 4:20pm on Sunday. “I been thinkin’ about quittin’ smoking” Woody quipped…”but then I remembered I’m not a quitter!” Of course the crowd went wild. But probably the most memorable moment was having former “Drugwar” POW Will Foster address the audience. Will once faced 93 years in prison for medical marijuana. Now he’s one of the more articulate and outspoken activists fighting to change America’s cannabis laws.

Seattle Hempfest featured 6 stages this year, and the ever popular Hemposium Stage featured the hemp biomass powered “Hemp Car” (, a Mercedes model 420 that has been traveling the U.S. as a shining example of the prospects of hemp biomass as an answer to our nation’s energy problems. One of the crown jewels of this year’s Fest was the Casbah Teahouse Stage. Possibly the largest hemp canvas tent in the world, the Casbah is a huge Bedouin style tent adorned with prayer flags, Turkish rugs, fantastic food and teas and an entire add-on stage tent. Fantuzzi showed up and added a special Rainbow flair to the entertainment there. The DanceSafe Electronica Stage was also a new addition and a huge success. The Mainstage, Seeley Stage and McWilliams Stage all hosted world class musical support and speakers as well.

This year our speaker line-up was almost a who’s who of movement luminaries. Keith Stroup, Founder and Executive Director of National NORML ( came and he brought almost the entire Board of Directors with him including Stephen Dillon (Chair), Dale Gieringer (Vice Chair), & longtime Board Member Norm Kent. We were also excited to have Todd McCormick’s mother Ann come out from back East to participate for the first time. Other notable speakers are almost too numerous to mention. Included were Kevin Zeese and Doug McVay from Common Sense for Drug Policy (, Nora Callahan, Chuck Armsbury and Dietra Lied from November Coalition (

Seattle City Councilman Nick Licata gave a great tremendous speech calling on us all to exercise our precious freedoms of assembly. Mayoral candidate Scott Kennedy spoke, as well as Andy Ko from the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington State. Callum Francis from High Times Magazine gave a rousing speech, and then assisted the Emperor of Hemp himself…Jack Herer…on the comeback trail after courageously overcoming some significant health challenges. It was great to see that Jack’s back!

Other speakers to mention include author/activist Chris Conrad, Mikki Norris from, Sandee Burbank from Mothers Against Misuse and Abuse, Oregon activists Jeff Jarvis and Tracy Johnson, Seattle Attorney Dan Merkle, Debby Goldsberry from Cannabis Action Network, Rev. Lynette Shaw and scores of others (click on line-up for a complete list).

Seattle City Initiative I-73 made its debut at Hempfest. Organizers hope to have all the necessary signatures in order to bring decriminalization to the ballot boxes next year. I-73 would make simple possession by adults lowest police priority in the city limits of Seattle. We want to see a change in the laws, and Seattle is as good a place as any to start!

We are proud to welcome new sponsors The Seattle Weekly, radio stations KISW and The Buzz! While we are at it we can’t forget to thank High Times Magazine, Clear Choice, DanceSafe, Northern Stars, Vintage Wagen, Common Sense for drug Policy,, American Music, Cannabis Culture, Test Clean and all the other great sponsors and supporters who have stepped up to the plate to defend your freedoms.

This year’s two day Seattle Hempfest stretched our resources and energy to the limit, but we came through it all with another victory. We invite you to come and join us now, as we forge into the future and responsibly influence reasonable change in America’s laws concerning the domestic industrial use, medicinal use, and adult recreational use of the special and sacred cannabis plant. Without our steering committee, our core group, and our 1,000 plus volunteers Seattle Hempfest could never have been the huge success it was. Please join us as we plan our next exciting adventures in our quest for freedom and liberty for all.

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Hempy Trails,
from all of us at Seattle Hempfest!

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