The 13th Annual Seattle Hempfest took place on August 21-22, 2004, and was a great success. It was one of the largest and most diverse gatherings of the cannabis culture in the world, with 200,000 people in attendance. It takes over $200,000 to put on the Hempfest each year, and there are over a hundred full-time volunteers dedicated to making this event happen.
Pause for the cause
This year’s theme, “Vote For Freedom,” was taken seriously by all, especially with the recent success of Seattle ballot initiative I-75, which makes personal possession the lowest police priority in Washington’s capital city.
Cannabis Culture was lucky enough to get booth #420, overlooking the main stage. Being surrounded by positive energy and masses of Canna-Americans was overwhelming. Many people came and shared their thoughts about our magazine and their love of the plant, and we were very well treated with kind words and kind buds all weekend. It made us cannabis Canadians feel well at home.
I must say that Seattle has some of the best pot I’ve ever smoked. These strains were grown to perfection, well-cured, well-stored and well-smoked. I felt privileged to be smoking these strains.
With the amount of ganja food and rolled joints being dropped off for the staff, we were all well-medicated. Traveling to festivals is always a great time, and so is being able to participate first-hand in a culture that is trying to make a difference.
It was great to see so much cannabis and hemp literature available. Cannabis Culture, Cannabis Health, Heads, High Times, and many other underground cannabis zines were circulating important knowledge and information.
There were also companies with quality hemp clothing and foods available. Indeed, hemp was the nutritional fuel for one and all on this particular weekend. In addition, there were many artists with beautiful hand-blown pipes, bubblers, bongs, and a variety of jewelry for sale.
Canna-celebrities such as Jack Herer and Ed Rosenthal were present to sign books, give speeches, and socialize all weekend. As well, Chris Conrad and Mikki Norris of Shattered Lives and the Cannabis Consumers Campaign both spoke strong words to the festival attendees about changing the laws.
Flaws in the laws
Eddy Lepp was there, inviting people to a “replanting gathering” at his medical gardens in California. (The DEA raided his farm and stole millions of dollars worth of medicine just weeks before the festival.) Now facing life in prison, Lepp has no choice but to take the federal government through the court system.
Focusing on voting for freedom in the upcoming elections, this year in American politics may prove to be crucial for the freedom of one and all. There was a strong effort to register voters this year at the festival, making people aware of the current politics at hand in our culture. Taking our freedom for granted is long over.
Without the powerhouse Seattle Hempfest on the West Coast for the past 13 years, we would have a much harder time trying to circulate the knowledge needed to secure the freedom of our culture. This year’s event once again goes to show how strong and vibrant our culture is, and what we can do to make our freedom happen.
Thanks to all the Hempfest staff, volunteers, vendors and supporters!