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  Political Aroma Detected at Hempfest
Posted by CN Staff on August 18, 2003 at 07:40:42 PT
By Emily Heffter, Seattle Times Staff Reporter 
Source: Seattle Times 

cannabis The political undercurrent at the annual Hempfest in Myrtle Edwards Park had the sweet odor of momentum this year. Seattle residents will vote next month on Initiative 75, which would make busting adults for using marijuana the lowest priority for the city's police officers.

The initiative is exactly the kind of thing Hempfest organizers support. The festival offers a good time — music, vendors and the occasional whiff of marijuana — but at its core, it's a political event.

"It's become a flagship event for drug-policy reform," said festival director Dominic Holden.

Holden says he doesn't smoke pot. But he doesn't want his tax dollars paying to jail otherwise law-abiding citizens who enjoy a joint after work, he said.

The Seattle City Council voted in October to place I-75 on the Sept. 16 ballot.

Two City Council members — Nick Licata and Judy Nicastro — have said they support the measure. Other city officials have said they don't think the initiative is necessary because the city rarely prosecutes adults for possession of small amounts of marijuana.

While yesterday's sunshine drew throngs of revelers to the Seattle waterfront to check out the milelong spectacle of stages and tents, many in the crowd were more into the scene than the activism behind it.

"We came to have fun," said Mike Crowley, 21, of Bremerton. Sure, the government should legalize marijuana, he said, shrugging, but "it's more about the gathering."

His friend Donna Burt, draped in a fabric marijuana-leaf lei, said the festival would be better if they would let dogs in, like last year.

"We mostly came for the shopping and the people and the music," said one Tacoma woman, who said she didn't want to risk her reputation by having her name published.

Holden predicted this year's crowd would break last year's record of about 175,000 people.

The group at yesterday's free festival included middle-aged couples, families, tattooed teenagers and plenty of dreadlocked travelers loading in and out of Volkswagen buses.

A small group of Christian protesters carried signs through the crowd urging festival attendees to repent. A few police officers strolled through the crowds without incident.

Under a hemp-fabric tent, belly-dancers performed and, later, a panel of political organizers spoke to a small group gathered on rugs and blankets.

"Who are the politicians to vote for?" Buddy Myers, of Seattle, asked the panelists. "Is there like a list of politicians who are friendly to pot smokers?"

The panelists, who were not from Washington state, punted on that question, referring Myers to local advocates.

There's no question supporters of loosening marijuana laws are a growing political force, Holden said. Few causes could draw such a large and diverse crowd, he said.

Surveying attendees from the I-75 booth, where he was collecting names of volunteers, campaign volunteer Nicholas Hart said "a lot of them just look like kids that like to get high."

But another faction of the crowd at the annual festival is more politically charged, he said. And he said having the initiative on the ballot is exciting.

"It just kind of feels like a lot of hard work finally paid off."

Complete Title: Political Aroma Detected at Hempfest: I-75 Supporters Find Backing

Source: Seattle Times (WA)
Author: Emily Heffter, Seattle Times Staff Reporter
Published: Monday, August 18, 2003
Copyright: 2003 The Seattle Times Company

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Seattle Hempfest

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Taking Another Pot Shot

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Comment #5 posted by FoM on August 18, 2003 at 13:38:35 PT
Thank You kaptinemo
Before the Internet and CNews I thought I was just a person who thought about life differently then most people. I know now that the world is full of people like me. I too know who I would want as my neighbors.

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #4 posted by kaptinemo on August 18, 2003 at 13:30:39 PT:

Culture wars
It's what's playing a *huge* part of the multi-faceted war against us.

The cannabis culture, if one can be said to exist, is for the most part non-acquistional. In other words, it isn't interested in purely material gains, and views such gains in proportion to the social impact of what achieving those gains may cost...and the cost is always considered more than just dollar signs.

Whereas, the culture which preys upon it can be said to be driven by many motivational factors...none of which are indicative of a healthy society. The primary goal of said society appears to hinge upon one, single concept: Punshment.

It is intent upon theft (forfeiture), imprisonment (and gains immensely from cheap prison labor, the same kind we denounce so ringingly in China and elsewhere), destruction of property, evisceration of the family, devotion to the general misery of it's victims and in all too many cases, death.

All fronted for by people who loudly proclaim to all and sundry that they are the 'protectors of society'.

I know who I'd rather have for my neighbors...

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by FoM on August 18, 2003 at 12:45:37 PT
This Is How I Feel Anymore
Sometimes I believe with all my heart that what we believe, our values, and what we feel is important just doesn't matter. Sometimes I look at this big picture and what I see really does scare me. Then I look at us as a culture and realize they just hate everything we stand for. That makes me so very sad. I don't want to think that we will never be remembered for all the good we've done for society. Will we be given any credit when history is recorded for future generations? That would be wrong if we aren't because we are here and we aren't mean or cruel or greedy and our culture has contributed quite nicely to society. Our culture deserves a place in history.

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #2 posted by fearfull on August 18, 2003 at 12:26:44 PT
It's not the fear of a tarnished reputation
It is fear of the Gestapo/Gulag machine. Nobody wants to go to jail over pot. Oh Ghandi where are you?

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #1 posted by 13th step on August 18, 2003 at 07:57:53 PT
This is what we are up against...
"We mostly came for the shopping and the people and the music," said one Tacoma woman, who said she didn't want to risk her reputation by having her name published.

What reputation? Why are people so worried about telling the truth about the things they do?

I know, her job , can't lose that. Oh, she went to hempfest, oh, nobody can know that. God forbid, someone thinks you do something that they don't like. Gasp! Horror!

Our self image as cannabis consumers/supporters/etc. is in a terrible state. We all need to no longer worry about our "reputations" with respect to this subject. I couldn't give two *stihs* about what some ignorant, uninformed, prohib supporter thinks of me. Nor my boss.

If she did get fired for something like talking to a reporter, or for being at hempfest, she would have one hell of a lawsuit. Just showing up at an event is not proof positive you are doing anything illegal. I know several people who don't consume cannabis in any form who would go to hempfest if they could. That perception has to be eliminated. The perception that if you are involved in any way in cannbis/drug reform that you are a user...well, that's just malarkey. Bah!

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