County Wants to Stop Hemp Fest!

County Wants to Stop Hemp Fest!
Posted by FoM on May 16, 1999 at 07:36:36 PT
Source: South Bend Tribune
CASSOPOLIS If Cass County officials have their way, comedian Tommy Chong, the High Times Cannabis Cup Band and the Billy Bongster Band will have to cancel their trips to Vandalia for Hemp Aid '99.
Hemp Aid is a four-day, three-night festival that has taken place at Rainbow Farm over Memorial Day weekend since 1993. Its purpose is to promote hemp awareness. (Marijuana is hemp's most well-known byproduct.) More than 3,000 people attended last year's event. The county is asking the courts to cancel the event because the owner of the farm, Grover Tom Crosslin, does not have a permit for it. The county's lawsuit -- filed in Cass County Circuit Court by the law firm representing the county, Kreis Enderle Callander and Hudgins -- also asks that a similar Labor Day weekend event called Roach Roast '99 be canceled for the same reason. "They're out after us because we're out to promote the legalization of marijuana," said Doug Leinbach, manager of the Rainbow Farm Camp Ground. A county ordinance requires permits for outdoor gatherings of more than 500 people. The ordinance also lays out safety regulations and rules for items such as food service, insurance, traffic control and waste disposal. However, events that are sponsored by or conducted by a not-for-profit organization are not required to have a permit. At issue is whether Hemp Fest '99 is, in fact, sponsored by such an organization. Leinbach says the event is sponsored by the Columbus Institute of Contemporary Journalism, an Ohio-based tax exempt group. Two years ago, a similar lawsuit filed by the county was dismissed when this was proven to be true. In the more recent lawsuit, the county's attorneys claim the institute is no longer in good standing with the Ohio secretary of state and the Internal Revenue Service has no record of the institute. Leinbach disagrees. "They're a legal entity," he said. "This is the same thing we had to do two years ago. We've got to shell out $10,000 for legal representation. (The county) is trying to put us out of business." Neither Terry Proctor, county administrator, nor R. James Guse, chairman of the board of commissioners, could be reached for comment Friday afternoon. The lawsuit is scheduled for a court hearing May 24, just four days before Hemp Aid '99 is set to begin. Admission to Hemp Aid is $40 per person, Leinbach said. The admissions generally bring in close to $50,000 annually, but most of the money is spent on things like entertainment, insurance and advertising. However, the money donated to the Columbus Institute of Contemporary Journalism is enough to publish two editions of its quarterly journal, said Robert J. Fitrakis, executive director. In addition to publishing the journal, the institute distributes an anti-racist action newsletter. It also sponsors a group called "For A Better Ohio," which promotes the industrial use of hemp, Fitrakis said. Industrial hemp contains virtually no tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the chemical that gives marijuana its mild hallucinogenic effect, and can be used in rope, fabric and other products. News article found by Cryote!Thanks Cryote!
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