Hemp Fest Attracts UMKC Students

Hemp Fest Attracts UMKC Students
Posted by CN Staff on September 13, 2005 at 20:28:14 PT
By Greta Wilkins
Source: University News 
Mohemp, the Kansas City based affiliate of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), sponsored the annual Hemp Fest in Swope Park on Labor Day. Many citizens attended to hear live music and spoken word as well as to discuss hemp legislation."It was really about providing entertainment while promoting the cause," said Betsy Barratt, volunteer for Mohemp who helped coordinate the festival.
Many people there, including University of Missouri-Kansas City students, had a strong opinion about legalization."I think that the whole idea of prohibition is not wanting to lose investment on what they thought was a good idea. We would do much better in municipal budgets if police didn't have to arrest five stoners a day. National budgets would do better because we could dissolve the DEA [Drug Enforcement Administration] and replace it with prudent regulation. There wouldn't be SWAT teams, there would be people controlling supply and demand, basically similar to alcohol," said Jimmy Glavin, junior.Organizers of Mohemp were excited to have an opportunity to educate."It's a good cause. Legalization of marijuana and hemp needs to happen. It can help with the fuel situation, help the economy. A farmer's coalition in Missouri is trying to get a bill passed called HR 3037 that will differentiate between hemp and marijuana, so farmers can grow hemp. Hemp fibers are longer and coarser, easier to make textiles and fabrics. Marijuana has medical value. You can't get high off a hemp plant," said Justin Day, Mohemp volunteer.All of the performers at Hemp Fest offered their talents for free."We were looking for bands that were down with the cause and willing to entertain and provide services and let people know how to contact their senator and stand up for their rights," said Jorma Lucas, who helped coordinate the event.Mohemp did find it difficult drawing together performers for the festival."It's difficult to find people who are willing to attach themselves to a cause like this," said Barratt. Valorie Engholm, a UMKC student and guitarist at the event, was excited about the opportunity."I love playing live music, I like learning new things, and I like teaching people new things. Freedom of expression is very important. My songs may not be about hemp or the cause, but the cause is about freedom," said Valorie Engholm, sophomore.Some of the performers thought they could still do more for the cause."I do support the cause, but not enough because I don't buy hemp products. I don't have anything hemp. I guess what we are trying to say here is 'Wake up!' Rock's the only way to solve it. Rock's the only way to bring hemp to the masses, not drum circles," said Aaron Baker, bassist of Rock 'n' Roll's Last Great Hope.First-time attendees of Hemp Fest were a little surprised by the lack of drug use."I was expecting some pot. I figured I would smell it, but not yet," said Nicole Leifer, a UMKC graduate student.Many were proud of the restraint of festival-goers."Whenever someone sees a gathering or a festival they say, 'Oh, it's just a bunch of hippies getting stoned,' but it's not," said Brook Wilson, an attendee. "It's Hemp Fest. It's not a bunch of people hanging around doing drugs. There's more to hemp than getting high."Source: University News (MO Edu)Author: Greta WilkinsPublished: Monday, September 12, 2005 Copyright: 2005 University NewsContact: gwilckens Website: Hemp Archives
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