Hemp Fest Lights Up Commons

Hemp Fest Lights Up Commons
Posted by CN Staff on September 18, 2006 at 08:26:34 PT
By Matt Donnelly
Source: Daily Free Press
Massachusetts -- Hemp Fest the annual public convention held to advocate the legalization of marijuana in Massachusetts -- was held Saturday and Sunday at the Boston Commons, with local students and dread-locked, tie-dyed demonstrators alike demanding one thing: freedom. Mike Cann, a spokesman for MassCann, which sponsored the event, said he was unhappy with Massachusetts' current political agenda. "The police are not our enemy," he said. "We have one common enemy: politicians. I will never vote for someone who wants to arrest me."
Yet the Boston Herald reported yesterday that police arrested 53 people for marijuana possession, and passed out fliers stating they would not pardon anyone with the drug.But that did not deter thousands of people from attending the event or protesting.Rachel Normington, a student from New Hampshire who did not want to name what school she goes to, said she was a first-timer at "the 'Fest." "We'll keep coming as long as [legalization] is an issue," Normington said. "It's about everybody coming together as one family. We're trying to reform marijuana laws but it goes deeper than that, and the more people, the greater the effort."Jimmy Devine, a representative for Students for Sensible Drug Policy -- an organization that leads college students across the country in an effort to amend anti-drug policies on campus -- also spoke on behalf of college kids choosing to use marijuana."More than 300,000 students have lost financial aid for the possession of marijuana," he said. Devine added that in the United States, someone is arrested for a drug-related crime every 40 seconds. Hemp Fest 2006 was also a medium for local businesses to publicize their products, including Amy Fulgham, a delegate for Awea -- a clothing and accessory company out of Portland, Maine -- who was there to support hemp as an alternative material."Awear is here to promote hemp as a sustainable material," she said. "We're looking to replace cotton and other materials that people don't understand are chemically grown.""Hemp Fest is about displaying a peaceful demonstration," said Aaron Depner, the artist for Hemp Fest's logo. "Legalizing marijuana in Massachusetts so the sick can have access to it is important. I've been doing this for eight years now."The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws -- a MassCann sponsor and nonprofit lobbying organization working to legalize marijuana -- has been representing Cannabis consumers since 1970. Behind posters of Jerry Garcia and beside shirts that read "Don't Panic, It's Organic," advocates spread the word about the rush towards legalizing marijuana, informing attendees on the dangers of tobacco and alcohol.One of the many bands performing at the convention, StilFro, sang with conviction, "I smoke more weed, I smoke weed forevermore." "I'm just here to see my son," Lois Geary, father of the drummer for StilFro, said. "I grew up in the 60's, though; I know what this is about."Source: Daily Free Press (Boston U, MA Edu)Author: Matt DonnellyPublished: September 18, 2006Copyright: 2006 Back Bay Publishing, Inc.Contact: letters dailyfreepress.comWebsite: Articles & Web Sites:SSDP Fest Revelers Stir The Pot in Hub Rally at Common May Support Us All
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