The Show Will Go On: Seattle Hempfest Gets Permit for 2011

CANNABIS CULTURE – After filing a lawsuit against the city of Seattle and successfully negotiating with local officials, organizers of Seattle Hempfest announced today that their 20th anniversary event will take place at its originally planned location at Myrtle Edwards Park from August 19 – 21, 2011.

“Last Friday the mayor signed a memorandum of understanding that Hempfest would go on in Myrtle Edwards Park and we would have three days this year,” Seattle Hempfest organizer Vivian McPeak told Cannabis Culture. “We took a real but calculated risk and we got lucky.”

Seattle Hempfest, thought to be the largest marijuana-related event in the world with over 300,000 people in attendance, has spent most of its 20-year history at the same location on the Seattle waterfront, which now stretches about 1.3 miles along the city coast. This year, activists were shocked to find that the city had planned the construction of a footbridge overpass at the same time as the festival, effectively blocking the event.

After searching for another adequate venue to no avail, organizers felt they had no choice but to take the city to court. After the lawsuit was filed, the city started co-operating.

“We met with the mayor’s representatives two months ago and we devise an agreement that we would back off pursuing the lawsuit if the city would allow an alternative bid process,” McPeak told CC.

The city agreed to hear bids to construct the footbridge at a later date, and one of the contractors proposed a lower bid – a million dollars lower. This effectively left city officials with no choice but to change the date of construction and allow Hempfest its original date and venue.

“It’s been a long, stressful, demanding period here for us,” McPeak told CC. “It’s been very difficult to figure out what was the right path. So it feels incredibly good to be on the other side of this and be victorious.”

As an added bonus, the city approved an extra day for the festival, making it a three-day cannabis celebration.

“It’s a whole another day of getting our message out,” McPeak said. “More speakers and more bands we don’t have to turn away, and potentially a little more revenue.”

Seattle Hempfest has an estimated budget of $200,000 and is organized and operated by hundreds of hard-working activists. The event is now in its 20th year.

“We’re overjoyed that we can go back to preparing a world-class 20th anniversary Hempfest,” McPeak wrote in a press release today. “The Pacific Northwest is at an important turning point, and this will be the most important Hempfest to date.”

McPeak says that despite having filed a lawsuit against the city, recent events have actually improved Hempfest’s relationship with government officials. He also thinks the recent skirmish may have had less to do with stifling free speech, and more to do with dysfunctional bureaucracy.

“Were they out to destroy us or were they overwhelmed with a really difficult situation and a terrible budget crisis?” he questioned in his comments to CC. “As miffed as we were, we just tried hard to understand that there’s stuff going on at city government levels that’s beyond us and that we’re not privy to. Why always assume the worst? It’s really about going forward and being successful.”

Go to the Seattle Hempfest website for more information on the three-day festival.

Comments

2 Comments

  1. Leonard Krivitsky, MD on

    I believe it is a matter for the majority of people to see that the whole cannabis prohibition, the whole DEA “dogma” that “marijuana is a dangerous drug without accepted medical use” be exposed in its anti-scientific, deceptive nature. Cannabis is not physically addictive as it lacks the recognizable “physical withdrawal syndrome” (like opiates, or alcohol, for example); the so-called “gateway drug theory” has been proven to be nonsense by a scientific research, and was even declared “half-baked” by a recent study; drug Marinol, much touted by the DEA, is not at all the same as medicinal cannabis which, as opposed to Marinol, has over 70 active compounds interacting in therapeutic ways. Cannabis decriminalization is followed by a decrease (not an increase) in “teenage use”, as the example of Portugal clearly shows, and (with another major scare-tactic disintegrating), smoking cannabis does not increase one’s risk of lung cancer; combine all this with the violence-suppressing qualities of cannabis use, its propensity to be a “safe alternative” to alcohol/hard drugs, its remarkable medicinal properties, and then see if the DEA “dogmas” have any factual foundation and not just an empty talk that is being enforced by a version of philosophical “radical pragmatism” which basically “allows” its followers to disregard the truth in favor of, let’s say, DEA “dogma”, with such a dogma being constantly “reinforced” by a consciousness of “guilt” and “fear”. “Radical Pragmatism” was at the basis of Illinois patients being denied their medicine, because the DEA intimidated enough “law-makers” with the “non-existing entity” of a “gateway drug theory. The same way, some rogue politicos in Montana are trying to trample the will of Voters of that state by “repealing” the medical marijuana law! So, what we (and I mean, all of us) need to do is spread this scientific knowledge (along with the refutation of “dogma”), so that even for the politicians this becomes a question of either siding with fear and ignorance (which will assure one kind or “legacy”), or with science, progress and compassion, which will bring a totally different “legacy” altogether; I doubt that any of these crooks will enjoy a “legacy” of him remaining silent when the modern-day “storm-troopers” dragged a cancer-afflicted granny to jail for using medicinal cannabis. Let’s not forget to ask our politicians as well as to why they are “crying broke” and yet, at the same time keep financing the so-called “marijuana enforcement” while most of the country wants this rather harmless natural substance decriminalized altogether, and definitely legalized when it comes to its many remarkable medicinal uses.

  2. Leonard Krivitsky, MD on

    I believe it is a matter for the majority of people to see that the whole cannabis prohibition, the whole DEA “dogma” that “marijuana is a dangerous drug without accepted medical use” be exposed in its anti-scientific, deceptive nature. Cannabis is not physically addictive as it lacks the recognizable “physical withdrawal syndrome” (like opiates, or alcohol, for example); the so-called “gateway drug theory” has been proven to be nonsense by a scientific research, and was even declared “half-baked” by a recent study; drug Marinol, much touted by the DEA, is not at all the same as medicinal cannabis which, as opposed to Marinol, has over 70 active compounds interacting in therapeutic ways. Cannabis decriminalization is followed by a decrease (not an increase) in “teenage use”, as the example of Portugal clearly shows, and (with another major scare-tactic disintegrating), smoking cannabis does not increase one’s risk of lung cancer; combine all this with the violence-suppressing qualities of cannabis use, its propensity to be a “safe alternative” to alcohol/hard drugs, its remarkable medicinal properties, and then see if the DEA “dogmas” have any factual foundation and not just an empty talk that is being enforced by a version of philosophical “radical pragmatism” which basically “allows” its followers to disregard the truth in favor of, let’s say, DEA “dogma”, with such a dogma being constantly “reinforced” by a consciousness of “guilt” and “fear”. “Radical Pragmatism” was at the basis of Illinois patients being denied their medicine, because the DEA intimidated enough “law-makers” with the “non-existing entity” of a “gateway drug theory. The same way, some rogue politicos in Montana are trying to trample the will of Voters of that state by “repealing” the medical marijuana law! So, what we (and I mean, all of us) need to do is spread this scientific knowledge (along with the refutation of “dogma”), so that even for the politicians this becomes a question of either siding with fear and ignorance (which will assure one kind or “legacy”), or with science, progress and compassion, which will bring a totally different “legacy” altogether; I doubt that any of these crooks will enjoy a “legacy” of him remaining silent when the modern-day “storm-troopers” dragged a cancer-afflicted granny to jail for using medicinal cannabis. Let’s not forget to ask our politicians as well as to why they are “crying broke” and yet, at the same time keep financing the so-called “marijuana enforcement” while most of the country wants this rather harmless natural substance decriminalized altogether, and definitely legalized when it comes to its many remarkable medicinal uses.