Jay Smoker and I weren’t able to secure the funding to get to Seattle Hempfest this year (sad face indeed), but luckily our friend Radical Russ is there, and had a great recap of day 1. If you made it to the event, please share your experience below so that others can know what it’s like. People like me who have never been before would love to know what the best parts are about the event! Below are some excerpts from his post, check out his blog to read the entire recap:
I have been a speaker at the Seattle Hempfest for six years. It’s always been an honor to speak at the world’s largest “protestival” and there’s nothing that recharges my activist batteries more. Every year the most dedicated marijuana law reformers from the Northwest, West Coast, and from around the country spend three days fighting for the freedom we all envision: when no man or woman is subject to imprisonment, punishment, discrimination, registration, or limitation for their personal use of cannabis. We make our best case, each in our own area of expertise, for ending this insane second, more destructive Prohibition.
But this year, Seattle Hempfest is different. Green pot leaf buttons and t-shirts among the freedom fighters have been replaced by more red and blue rivalry than the Electoral College map. Legalization is on the ballot, known as Initiative 502 (I-502), yet Hempfest’s heroes are divided on it, with supporters sporting the blue-themed “Yes on I-502? buttons and t-shirts and opponents sporting the red-themed “No on I-502? colors. I’m not going to go into great detail (I blog on that plenty), but for first-time readers, the basics are that the Blue/Yes camp likes the initiative because it legalizes marijuana (buying/having an ounce, state-licensed distribution) and the Red/No camp hates the initiative becauseit institutes an unscientific drugged-driving provision that will wrongfully convict frequent pot smokers.
Like most election years, I fall on the blue side of the divide, wearing my blue I-502 button. My first direct encounter with someone from the red team came quite unexpectedly. On my long walk to retrieve my speaker credentials I bumped into Philip Dawdy, who I had just derided on the show Wednesday before leaving for Hempfest. Yet he approached in that open-arm let’s-hug body language known well to the 420 crowd, telling me, “Dude, you know I oppose you, but I love you and what you do, man.”
Russ on stage:
Russ with Jodie Emery: