Written by Daniel Pacheco
August 16th, 17th, and 18th you can expect some hazier than normal weather in Seattle. The 28th annual Seattle Hempfest will be kicking off in Sculpture Park along the water and as usual it’s sure to be an experience. Hempfest is lovingly and proudly known as a “protestival” and is the largest cannabis policy reform festival in the world. In the words of the organizers, Hempfest is first and foremost a political protest rally seeking to change America’s pot laws and to educate the public on the many uses of the cannabis plant.
The original Hempfest started back in 1991 at Volunteer Park and only had about 20 volunteer staff members and 500. This year you can expect about 150,000 attendees over the weekend as well as a staff of almost 1000 volunteers. Will you see people happily enjoying marijuana? Yes. Will there be music? Yes. Lots of delicious food trucks catering to people with the munchies? Tons of them. Despite all that Hempfest isn’t your typical festival – education is really what it’s about as the organizers are looking to make positive changes in marijuana laws, and people’s ideas about cannabis in general, in our country. Throughout the years musicians, actors, political activists, congressman, and even police chiefs have taken the stage.
So, can you go to Hempfest without getting in any trouble? Totally. Is it just full of a bunch of Seattle hippie stoners? Some, but not the majority. Hempfest is free to attend and you’ll see plenty of law enforcement in attendance as well. Roughly 20% of attendees are from out of town, so if you end up visiting you might even run into some people from your home state. As far as staying out of trouble there are still laws you need to follow for a stress-free experience. Hempfest is totally legal and protected by the United States Constitution under your right to freedom of assembly and freedom of speech. However, Hempfest is not a “free zone”. All local, state and federal laws are in full effect at Hempfest, and Seattle parks are designated “Drug Free Zones” which increases the penalties for selling and buying controlled substances. Hempfest is the worst place to attempt to buy or sell illegal substances of any kind. Please don’t do it.
Hempfest is one of the reasons why Washington was one of the earliest states to legalize marijuana and is a GREAT place to get more info on modern marijuana policy. You’ll find experts from all walks of life who can answer all sorts of questions. The legalization of marijuana has gone from a pipe dream, pun intended, to a policy question asked of almost every presidential candidate. No matter what side of the spectrum you fall on you’ll get a wealth of information if you stop by. Parking is very very limited so public transit or walking from most of our properties is the easiest way of getting there. As always if you have any questions feel free to shoot us an email or give us a call! Be sure to also check out the Pike Place Market during your trip!