Cannabis News Media Awareness Project
  Mellow Folks at Hempfest Don't Seem Like a Threat
Posted by CN Staff on August 20, 2002 at 08:08:44 PT
By Erik Lacitis, Seattle Times Staff Columnist  
Source: Seattle Times  

cannabis "Hey, Jerry Garcia! Bottle of water, $1!" I looked at the guy shouting it out, and he did look like the reincarnation of Jerry Garcia. He had the white hair and beard, the potbelly, the glasses, the tie-dye T-shirt, the peaceful smile. Other people at last weekend's Hempfest stopped and stared at this mirage from the Grateful Dead.

But he actually was Jack Hanover Miller, 65, and if you've gone to a baseball game, you've seen him playing his guitar and singing for coins and bills right by the new Seahawks Stadium. Sometimes he makes $5 a day, sometimes $60.

I asked Miller if he was a pot smoker, and he said, no, any kind of smoking was bad for his throat, and if you make your living singing, you gotta keep the pipes healthy. Miller was there at the entrance to Myrtle Edwards Park, helping a friend.

There was a steady procession of thousands of people around us. Driving along the Seattle waterfront this past weekend, you couldn't help noticing the crowds. The final estimate by the Hempfest 2002 promoters was that 190,000 people showed up over the two days. They jammed the streets and the sidewalks, and just by their numbers they made a statement about marijuana these days.

I heard a couple of radio announcers talking about the event, doing that inane banter they do in between segments, and the banter was something about hippies. And, yes, you could see plenty of Deadheads at the park. But not 190,000 of them.

Actually, a good portion of the crowd looked like they could have been at the Bite of Seattle, just your Wallingford or Ballard or West Seattle neighbor. They could have been your college-age son and daughter wearing a $3 plastic marijuana lei, one of the most popular items sold at Hempfest, which had 300 vendors selling everything from two-foot-long bongs to, of course, doughnuts.

There were plenty of cops at the festival, although they kept themselves at the edges and, I guess, enjoyed the warm summer weather.

I tried talking to a couple of them, but they didn't have that much to say. I wondered what they thought about our marijuana policy as they watched the crowds.

I mean, here was Scott Weir, 22, who works in Bellingham at a factory that makes dog and cat beds.

He was obviously in great physical shape; and with his crew cut, you could have put him in a 1950s teen movie. He graduated from Sedro-Woolley High in 1998, and he remembered the D.A.R.E. lectures. That's when a cop came in and told about the evils of drugs.

The thing was, pot and cocaine and speed and heroin were all lumped together in the D.A.R.E. lecture, and the kids didn't buy it. So after the D.A.R.E. sermon was over, Weir dutifully filled out the exam that was given out, and, as he explained, "made it look good."

But what he really thought about pot was, "No way are the cops going to stop us from smoking weed. It's grown just like tobacco, and if tobacco is legal, why not marijuana?"

While I pondered if it was worth it to make Weir a criminal, I talked to Aldrick Wilson, 20, of Lynnwood. He graduated from Lake Stevens High School in 2000 and now works delivering furniture. It turned out that Weir needed a ride, and Wilson agreed to help out.

Wilson doesn't smoke pot when working but said he'd used it recreationally, "more as a tribal experience." I asked what a tribal experience was, and Wilson said it was like a powwow, in which you have an inner search.

Maybe that's similar to the inner search that takes place when a bunch of people from the office get together for happy hour.

I asked Wilson that of the people he knew, how many smoked pot regularly. Wilson figured that conservatively it was one out of three.

So here I was talking to guys who work in a factory and deliver furniture, and I kept thinking that if by bad luck they got busted, would I personally consider Weir and Wilson a criminal threat to society and want to spend my taxpayer money prosecuting them?

Personally, I'd rather spend my taxpayer money investigating the guys who made my 401(k) worthless.

By the way, for you people already typing your e-mails, the answer is: No, I don't.

Complete Title: Mellow Folks at Hempfest Don't Seem Like a Threat To The Fiber of Our Society

Source: Seattle Times (WA)
Author: Erik Lacitis, Seattle Times Staff Columnist
Published: Tuesday, August 20, 2002
Copyright: 2002 The Seattle Times Company
Contact: opinion@seatimes.com
Website: http://www.seattletimes.com/

Related Articles & Web Site:

Seattle Hempfest
http://www.seattlehempfest.com/

Thousands Attend Hempfest in Seattle
http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread13791.shtml

Marijuana Backers Pack Park in Seattle
http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread13783.shtml


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Comment #7 posted by qqqq on August 21, 2002 at 02:47:44 PT
..Phasetheory...
...Good to see you........sorry I've thrown so much crap in your direction,politically.......it aint easy being an idiot.

..I wish I could have made it up there for Hempfest.......I was born in Seattle,and grew up in Edmonds....


[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #6 posted by Phasetheory on August 21, 2002 at 02:29:55 PT
I had a great time.
I live only a few miles from Seattle and was very happy to attend.

The guy selling water was there too! I bought some from him. But he was saying, "Ice cold water, only a dollar." Bottled water of course.

But man, was there marijuana use. Exactly at 4:20 everyone gathered around the main stage and formed a huge circle. Everyone in the middle was lighting up! There was joints everywhere! Pipes and bongs too. I hit at least 15 J's in a few minutes.

And guess what... no violence, no fights...

I would bet anything that if they rounded up 200,000 alcohol drinkers at a beer-fest there would be fights everywhere...

the hyprocrisy...

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #5 posted by canaman on August 20, 2002 at 22:27:25 PT
alright!....overtoke!
Sounds like it was a good place to be. We need more Big Events like these. It's seems like it takes 100,000 minuim to get any attention sometimes. Something like this needs to be taken on the road maybe? Next stop Portland.......

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #4 posted by overtoke on August 20, 2002 at 20:43:34 PT:

TV Coverage
Yes. There was some tv coverage. What I saw was very amiable. (I travelled from Arkansas for the Seattle Hemp Fest! ) ::)

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #3 posted by canaman on August 20, 2002 at 18:42:49 PT
I was wondering Tim.....
Do you know if there was any local television coverage?

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #2 posted by Tim Stone on August 20, 2002 at 18:34:49 PT
I was Wrong
As a local resident, I predicted in this forum a few days ago that the Seattle Hempfest would get very little token coverage in the local newspapers.

I was wrong, and in this case, gladly admit it. The two-day turnout at the Hempfest has been estimated at 150,000. It was cheek-by jowl - crowded and everybody pretty much cool and serene.

The two local newspapers both actually covered the event for a change in their general news sections. Huzzah!

The other major competing event occurring that weekend in the general Seattle area was a big , Christian Evangelical hip meeting with some headliner God-botherer name of Luis Palau. The local Seattle rags gave almost no advance promos of Hempfest, but puffed the evangelical Palau's meeting all the live-long week before, predicting that as many as - wow - 100,000 prople might show up over the two-day evangelical event, so it was definitely newsworthy.

In the event, the Palau evangelical happening got no more attendence than the predicted amount of 100,000 over two days, while the Hempfest, by the most conservative estimates, got 150, 000 over the same two days. You wouldn't know it by the local reporting, but it seems more Seattle area people are into pot than Palau.

Still, the turnout at Seattle Hempfest was so large - and peaceable - that the local news rags this year were unable to ignore the event, as they have tried to do in years past.

So I was wrong. The local media _did_ cover the event, where I predicted they wouldn't.

May I be just as wrong in just the same way ten thousand times again this year, all over America.



[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #1 posted by canaman on August 20, 2002 at 10:38:44 PT
Another positive article
from a major newspaper. It's just a matter of time. And since they mentioned one of my favorite musicians here's one of my favorite songs. Thanks Jerry

Ripple

If my words did glow with the gold of sunshine And my tunes were played on the harp unstrung Would you hear my voice come through the music? Would you hold it near, as it were your own?

It's a hand-me-down, the thoughts are broken Perhaps they're better left unsung I don't know, don't really care Let there be songs to fill the air (note 1)

Ripple in still water When there is no pebble tossed Nor wind to blow

Reach out your hand if your cup be empty If your cup is full may it be again Let it be known there is a fountain That was not made by the hands of man

There is a road, no simple highway Between the dawn and the dark of night And if you go, no one may follow That path is for your steps alone

Ripple in still water When there is no pebble tossed Nor wind to blow

You who choose to lead must follow But if you fall, you fall alone If you should stand, then who's to guide you? If I knew the way, I would take you home

Sung by Jerry Garcia with the Grateful Dead words by Robert Hunter



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