Marijuana: 14th Seattle Hempfest Draws 150,000 -- No Arrests 8/26/05

Drug War Chronicle, recent top items

more...

recent blog posts "In the Trenches" activist feed

SUBSCRIBE TODAY!!!


http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/401/hempfest.shtml

The nation's largest annual marijuana protest/festival has come and gone, again drawing record crowds and notably recording no arrests of any kind. The now venerable two-day Seattle Hempfest drew as many as 150,000 devotees of the herb to waterfront Myrtle Edwards park for music and political speeches blaring from multiple stages, not to mention a magical mile of glass pipes and bongs, hempy wares of all sorts, and the tables and booths of numerous political and social groups.

"The world's phattest protestival" featured numerous marijuana reform movement luminaries as well as friendly Washington state politicians, including Seattle city council member Nick Licata, state Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Wells, NORML executive director Allen St. Pierre, and recent Supreme Court plaintiff Angel Raich.

In the Raich case, the court upheld the federal government's right to prosecute medical marijuana patients and providers even in states where it is legal. Since Washington is one of those states, the issue resonated strongly in Seattle. "This war is far from over. I'm not going to give up. I'm going to keep fighting until there's no fight left," Raich told a large center-stage crowd.

With the slogan "Don't Just Burn It, Learn It!" this year's Hempfest had an educational theme, with the "Hemposium" featuring exhibits, panels, and presentations on industrial hemp for food, fiber, and fuel, as well as presentations on medical marijuana and the health benefits of cannabinoids. That's in addition to the more than 90 speakers who addressed the multitudes over the two-day period.

David Guard
Chris Mulligan of DRCNet got a few moments on center stage, appearing right after headlining band Fishbone -- using them in part to pitch attendees to work for the repeal of a law that takes financial aid away from would-be college students because of drug convictions. "After leaving here today, if 150,000 people start telling Congress we're sick of them holding education funding hostage to drug war politics, things will change," Mulligan told the crowd before leading them into a chant-and-response "No More"..."Drug War." It was cheesy, Mulligan told DRCNet, "but you just have to do that when there are 150,000 people in front of you."

DRCNet associate director David Guard also addressed the crowds, although he didn't get center-stage. "This is as much a festival as a protest," he said after the event. "Maybe 10% of the people who come to this really care about the politics. But when it's 150,000 people, that comes out to a lot of people we want to reach." In addition to speaking, Guard reached the crowd through the booth DRCNet shared with Flex Your Rights, whose uniformed and sun-glassed Officer Friendly (Flex Your Rights executive director Steve Silverman) was a constant draw for curious passers-by.

In its 14th year, Seattle Hempfest is a smooth-running, well-oiled, cannabis-fueled machine that is the most public manifestation of Seattle's cutting edge position on drug policy reform. And it happens without problems. "This is a successful social experiment in legalizing marijuana, and it works," said Mulligan. "All those people, and there were no arrests, no fights, not one crime worth busting," he marveled.

It's not that pot-smoking wasn't present or that the Seattle police weren't present. They were on-scene, but appropriately laid-back. "Marijuana enforcement is one of our lowest priorities," said Seattle police spokesman Sean Whitcomb. "Keeping the public safe is our No. 1 mission at Hempfest," he told the Seattle Times.

-- END --
Link to Drug War Facts
Please make a generous donation to support Drug War Chronicle in 2007!          

PERMISSION to reprint or redistribute any or all of the contents of Drug War Chronicle (formerly The Week Online with DRCNet is hereby granted. We ask that any use of these materials include proper credit and, where appropriate, a link to one or more of our web sites. If your publication customarily pays for publication, DRCNet requests checks payable to the organization. If your publication does not pay for materials, you are free to use the materials gratis. In all cases, we request notification for our records, including physical copies where material has appeared in print. Contact: StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 293-8340 (voice), (202) 293-8344 (fax), e-mail [email protected]. Thank you.

Articles of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of the DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.

Issue #401 -- 8/26/05

Drug War Chronicle, recent top items

more...

recent blog posts "In the Trenches" activist feed

SUBSCRIBE TODAY!!!

Appeal: Drug War Chronicle Still Needs Your Help | Editorial: A Tale of Two Cities | Feature: PLUR Meets SWAT as Utah Cops Attack Electronic Dance Party | Feature: National Methamphetamine Conference Convenes Unscathed Despite Attack by Congressional Drug Warrior | Feature: Bush Administration Methamphetamine Initiative a Bomb | Feature: Western Hemisphere Anti-Prohibitionists Set to Gather in Buenos Aires | Weekly: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories | Blogging: Airport Corruption | Marijuana: Lawrence, Kansas, Ponders City Marijuana Ordinance -- Impact of HEA Cited | Sentencing: Rockefeller Drug Law Reform Measure Awaits Gov. Pataki's Signature | Europe: Former British Drug Czar Mo Mowlam Dead at 55 -- Called for Legalization, and Will Again in Forthcoming Book | Medical Marijuana: Supreme Court Justice Regrets Vote on Raich Case | Marijuana: 14th Seattle Hempfest Draws 150,000 -- No Arrests | Europe: Scottish National Party Considers Prescription Heroin | Sentencing: Kansas Lawmakers Want "Internal Possession" Charge | Web Scan: U-Mass/DEA Hearings, Seattle Weekly on Hempfest, JPI Report on Marijuana Enforcement's Non-Impact | Weekly: This Week in History | Weekly: The Reformer's Calendar

Mail this article to a friend
Send us feedback on this article
This issue -- main page
This issue -- single-file printer version
Drug War Chronicle -- main page
Chronicle archives
Subscribe now!
Out from the Shadows HEA Drug Provision Drug War Chronicle Perry Fund DRCNet en EspaŮol Speakeasy Blogs About Us Home
Why Legalization? NJ Racial Profiling Archive Subscribe Donate DRCNet em PortuguÍs Latest News Drug Library Search
special friends links: SSDP - Flex Your Rights - IAL - Drug War Facts

StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet)
1623 Connecticut Ave., NW, 3rd Floor, Washington DC 20009 Phone (202) 293-8340 Fax (202) 293-8344 [email protected]