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Friday, August 17, 2012

Hempfest Is Happening Right Now—but They're Not Trying to Legalize Pot

Posted by on Fri, Aug 17, 2012 at 5:01 PM

It's a three-day event now, and it starts on Friday. So you can go down to Hempfest in Myrtle Edwards park this evening or over the weekend. I'm gonna go and have a good time. But I think this is bullshit:

The pro-marijuana movement in Washington state is so splintered that Hempfest organizers are staying neutral on the legalization measure, Initiative 502.

Yes, Hempfest—the world's biggest pot legalization festival—has decided to sit out the most most sweeping, best-funded, well-organized legalization initiative campaign ever in the US. When it's in their state, no less. That's like gay pride staying neutral on this year's marriage equality referendum. Why can't they support the thing that the entire event is purportedly all about?

Hempfest director Vivian McPeak, a critic of I-502, said several staff members would have left the organization if it had taken sides on the measure. "It's painful and it's frustrating," McPeak said. "For Hempfest it's been sort of like navigating shark-infested waters."

I guess it's too much to expect a leader of the local pot movement to take a bold stand—for, uh, legalizing marijuana—if it requires navigating shark-infested waters. Unless he's one of the sharks against the initiative. But the case against I-502 is ridiculous. Thank god for rational minds:

"I'm actually sad that Hempfest isn't embracing this as sort of a pinnacle of the work that they've been doing for so long," said Alison Holcomb, campaign director for the I-502 campaign. "There have been so many people who have worked literally for decades to have a chance to begin to roll back marijuana prohibition ... and this is the year that we can finally break through that wall."

Anyhow, I love Hempfest for helping get us this far, even if it's dead wrong on I-502. So go this weekend. And vote yes on I-502.


Comments (31) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
Vote Yes on I-502, and vote for the candidates supporting it who are also running this year!

John Urquhart - Sheriff
Bob Hasegawa - Senate
Roger Goodman - House
Jaime Pedersen - House
Cindy Ryu - House
Luis Moscoso - House
Dave Upthegrove - House
Bob Hasegawa - Senate

Those are the ones I know of in the King County area at least...
Posted by Whodunit? on August 17, 2012 at 5:28 PM · Report this
I have no real opinions on marijuana legalization besides being marginally for it, but it is adorable to see the pothead lobby being all like ... disorganized and ... wow, man ... confused?
Posted by Tyler Pierce on August 17, 2012 at 5:31 PM · Report this
Westlake, son! 4
I fucking hate Hempfest. Move that trash to the Seattle Center. I can't believe they get to destroy one of Seattle's few waterfront parks and a key cycling "greenway" for an entire week.
Posted by Westlake, son! on August 17, 2012 at 6:16 PM · Report this
I Heart Flan! 5
I love The Stranger and all, but every time I follow the voting guidance on these hot issues from you guys, I feel completely screwed in the end.

Greg Nickels. Mike McGinn. Shitty, expensive liquor at Safeway, it seems to be always the same argument from you guys:

"Look how stupid the opposition is!!! How could they be so stupid???? Only idiots wouldn't vote the way we are saying isn't right!"

Meanwhile, I find it hard to buy proper cocktail ingredients, and on an ever shrinking budget, my staple bottles are just plain over priced, and i'm lining the pockets of shitty corporate interests.

And believe me, I would love to go someplace and have a large selection of top notch weed to choose from. I would love to be able to smoke that, legally, and be the first state in the country to do so: effectively saying "fuck off" to the federals and their antiquated notions of prohibition.

But something about this doesn't feel right to me. It feels like a setup. I've read the arguments. I have no side other than I think prohibition of cannabis is ridiculous.

Tell me why I am wrong to think this way?
Posted by I Heart Flan! on August 17, 2012 at 6:30 PM · Report this
Ditto@4. Whatever Hempfest pays for their permit, it ain't nearly enough.
Posted by DOUG. on August 17, 2012 at 6:35 PM · Report this
Let's say in a few years some threat to the medical pot community's little decriminalized and but not terribly legal gravy train materializes. Oh I don't know - like the Feds, perhaps? Do you think any of us who are not stoned out of our minds will stand up for you after this? After you opposed a perfectly reasonable and likely to win initiative?

You're never, ever, ever going to get completely legal, unregulated pot. Never. So the best you're going to get is on the table. The most likely it'll ever pass is now. But you go ahead and whine cause of the DUI provision. Go right ahead.

Stupid fucks.
Posted by ScreenName on August 17, 2012 at 7:17 PM · Report this
Andy_Squirrel 9
@8 AMEN!
Posted by Andy_Squirrel on August 17, 2012 at 7:23 PM · Report this
Dominic Holden 10
@5) The SECB endorsed a "no" vote on last year's liquor initiative.
Posted by Dominic Holden on August 17, 2012 at 7:33 PM · Report this
I Heart Flan! 11
@10: Sorry, I stand corrected. It must be all the Kirkland Signature Vodka thats filling my glass these days ;) There must of been a ton of editorial "yays" that I am recalling no?
Posted by I Heart Flan! on August 17, 2012 at 7:54 PM · Report this
Christ, I had to commute through the park this week while they were setting up for Hempfest and it was like the set of a movie about dreadlocked homeless zombies. The idea that anyone would set foot on a stage that had been assembled by that crew is astounding. Plus, when you've got someone manning the "STOP/SLOW" traffic sign, they shouldn't be smoking a joint.
Posted by tiktok on August 17, 2012 at 9:13 PM · Report this
Eastpike 13
As shocking as it might seem, @12, when compared to other similar festivals (block party, 4th of julyvars), Hempfest is the best production in terms of how well it's put together. They also get high marks from police and fire. It's a safe event, against the odds as it is. But I won't be there.
Posted by Eastpike on August 17, 2012 at 9:35 PM · Report this
@8 Amen! The bridges the no on 502/medical marijuana folks are burning right now may never get rebuilt. I supported, donated to, and stumped for our medical marijuana law. I did the same for I-75 and was even on its steering committee and served on the city's review panel.

Yeah, and I'm not even a fucking pot smoker. My level of disgust with some of the one time allies from those prior battles is pretty bottomless right now. If ya'll were drowning I'd have to think twice about throwing you a preserver.
Posted by gnossos on August 17, 2012 at 10:03 PM · Report this
OutInBumF 15
Even if I-502 passes, I'll still treat my consumption as an illegal substance, thanks so much. Think you're going to get a fair trial anywhere outside of Seattle for being under the influence? Think again, suckers. Busted with legal pot- going to jail by a jury of your (very Reefer Madness influenced) peers.
Out here in BumFuck, it's a one-in-a-million chance of avoiding conviction. So I'll be joining the Hempfest, Inc's No on I-520 chorus. Keep it safe and illegal, and avoid the witch hunts.
Posted by OutInBumF on August 17, 2012 at 10:13 PM · Report this
The perfect is the enemy of the good
Posted by transplant on August 17, 2012 at 10:57 PM · Report this
There are a lot of people in this thread who would benefit from smoking a bowl and chilling the fuck out.
Posted by suddenlyorcas on August 17, 2012 at 11:31 PM · Report this
watchout5 18

That's the point though. If you go into the legalization of weed debate with the attitude that the only progress you can make is such that you can smoke, carry, possess and have sex with as much weed as you want anywhere you want and in front of all the cops stations you're never going to get something like that passed (as was the case after we ended alcohol prohibition). It's enough of a problem for the feds such that THEY WILL DO EVERYTHING IN THEIR POWER TO FIGHT THIS AND THAT'S THE FIGHT WE REALLY NEED TO HAVE. Jury nullification is a problem regardless, however it should be noted that history is on our side, primarily only used today to get people out of charges involving pot. The idea that because we start to regulate pot differently in that we stop locking people away for merely owning it that we will have some epidemic of jury's hellbent on punishing what they think should still be a totally illegal substance is just propaganda, the only cases that would make it to a jury would be few DUI charges, and if there's enough evidence people who endanger others on the road deserve to be in jail. My vote yes on I-502 this year is against my economic interests, you or anyone else voting against it IS PUTTING MORE MONEY INTO MY POCKETS AT THE EXPENSIVE OF MY PIECE OF MIND. You bragging about putting more money in my pocket only makes me happy dude, please vote against this, my wallet is begging you to keep weed illegal. I appreciate your vote for my bread and butter.
Posted by watchout5 on August 18, 2012 at 4:18 AM · Report this
Sean Kinney 19
Vivian McPeak is a tall motherfucker in this town - he has, with the help of many, built something pretty amazing [an event that celebrates an illegal plant...!!!] with no money, pure willpower and personal charisma, encased in a broken-down, old-man body.

Of course he wants to stay outside the fray surround this year's particular initiative and its attendant flame-wars, turf-wars, and backbiting. Hempfest has served as a vehicle against the impulse of prohibition, and has helped normalize the very idea of legalization. I can't imagine that the annual smarmy, winking coverage of the festival by our local TV news manikins would even be possible without the foundation that Viv and his crew has laid.

Hempfest FTW!!!!
Posted by Sean Kinney http:// on August 18, 2012 at 5:38 AM · Report this
wilbur@work 20
McPeak: self-promoting hypocritical asshole. Fuck him and the clowns that follow him. What a useless clusterfuck self-humpfest has become. PUKE!
Posted by wilbur@work on August 18, 2012 at 8:56 AM · Report this
@5 The Stranger as a whole recommened against the booze initiative, but a couple of staff memebers wrote whinny op-ed pieces of "I WANT MY BOOZE NOW DAMN IT". And now all the booze has gone up 10 bucks. Prices in washington state are worse then back home in Ontario. I don't know who thought switching one Middle Man - The State, with three - The distributor, the state and the seller, would make thing's cheaper. It's just simple math. But now all of washington has lost a good thing because some fucktards wanted gov'erment out of the booze buisness. You know cause having big buisness run things always makes it cheaper (Sorry for the rant, still really pissed that washington state could be brainwashed by Coscto into giving up a good and cheap liquor system).

As to the pot thing, is it just me or are the pro pot but anti I-502 some of the most self-entiled douches out there? I've heard stuff like "Well I can't drive stoned" and "I can't walk down the street puff pot into peoples faces" and "OMG the gov't going to tax this! How is that fair". Grow the fuck up people. You shouldn't be driving stoned, and I can't walk down the street drinking a mickey of booze. AND OF COURSE IT WILL BE TAXED!!!!

As to hempfest, never been but this is always "avoid the stoners who come up to queen anne" weekend for me. Seriously, stay out of queen anne :P
Posted by j2patter on August 18, 2012 at 10:48 AM · Report this
Lew Siffer 22
Lot of uptight people here. I go to hempfest mostly for people watching, free music, and the lovely park. Bitching about Hempfest is as tired as complaining about the Blue Angels.
Posted by Lew Siffer on August 18, 2012 at 12:28 PM · Report this
Bauhaus I 23
Just like all that anti-legalization movement in Humboldt County - and the belief that legalization will drive down the price of a pound. People can burn incense and talk about co-operatives and world peace and eco-friendliness, but when it comes down to it, it would appear that cash says it all.

Who knew hippies could be greedy, too?
Posted by Bauhaus I on August 18, 2012 at 2:00 PM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 24
@15- Huh? If Washington legalizes weed, it means the Federal government will need to step in to arrest you for simple possession. For the average user, that's very close to immunity as long as you don't try to carry in an airport or Federal building. (Or maybe a bank, the FBI has juristiction there, right? That's why Keunu was chasing those surfers.)

Right now, you can earn a living with a walk-in closet full of plants. Without prohibition, that's impossible. Some people rightly see their livelihood threatened. But people should realize that while crime pays, it's got a shitty retirement plan.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings on August 18, 2012 at 5:19 PM · Report this
Great job covering this Dominic!
Posted by j2patter on August 18, 2012 at 5:24 PM · Report this
Viv ain't perfect, but he's got a good heart and has done yeoman work for little or no compensation. Wilbur @20 can go fuck himself hard with a rusty chainsaw.

Posted by Mr. X on August 19, 2012 at 2:52 AM · Report this
@ 21, The system is better now it is more convenient, you pay for convenience.
Posted by Democrat1234 on August 19, 2012 at 12:33 PM · Report this
Honestly I don't blame Vivian McPeak for keeping Hempfest neutral. It's disappointing to me yes, but if I was running a festival for twenty one years and had volunteers coming up to me saying they wont help if Hempfest supports or opposes, it would make me think twice. Especially if they had been volunteers for 21 years. The volunteers at Hempfest take a great amount of pride in what Hempfest is able to accomplish every year.

I give him more props since he is on the No I-502 side but he started this festival with no hate theme and one that recognizes that we all need to come together especially if we need to talk about our differences. I give McPeak a lot of props for pulling Hempfest off. I imagine it consumes a tremendous amount of his time through out the year. If you have been watching all the infighting then you know it must not have been very easy for him to navigate through all the worked up anxiously nervous cannabis consumers this year.

Make a donation if you can, pick up the trash you bring in, this is all Vivian McPeak asks of us. Maybe we're asking too much from him?
Posted by Jared Smith on August 19, 2012 at 1:32 PM · Report this
What People simply do not get , is that I-502 is not legalization no where in the 64 pages does it legalize Marijauna, in fact it adds criminal penalties with the DUID portion , but the I-502 supporters would like you to believe this very carefully written legaleze document that most of the "John Q. Public cannot understand, and I-502 supporters take advantage of this by lying to the public to get them to believe their rhetoric.If you are an avid smoker and you like to drive, you probably dont want to vote in favor of I-502, there are so many things wrong with this bill. please read the bill in its entirety. this will make criminals out of all of us.just remember who the supporters of this bill i.e. lawyers, ex law enforcement, bailbondsmans and even an ex US Attorney, these people stand to make the most out of this. traffic is already gearing up just look at there web site
Posted by cavemaneric on August 20, 2012 at 6:53 AM · Report this
@29 If by more convenient you mean I now can buy booze where I buy my food instead of one block from it, then I guess so (although if you live in Seattle it was pretty fucking easy to get to a state ran store). Oh and the supermarket that has the best selection of good booze closest to me stops selling it at 9pm. So yeah, now I need to get there even earlier and pay 10 bucks more. I fail to see how this is better. Oh but if I want to buy taste like shit vodka for $10 bucks at 12am from the drug store I can. So yeah, I guess that's worth adding 10 bucks to a bottle of good quality booze for?

The Stranger, can you please do a follow up article soon on the booze initiative to show how much it sucked and how stupid people are? Thanks!
Posted by j2patter on August 20, 2012 at 11:13 PM · Report this
Banned on The Seattle Times 35
Fuck Vivian - he's a fucking traitor and deserves...something really bad...
Posted by Banned on The Seattle Times on August 22, 2012 at 3:11 AM · Report this
Wow, look at the park, Seattle Hempfest takes GREAT care of it! It's a gorgeous park, loved by the people who use it, including Seattle Hempfest.
Posted by kirklandSharon on August 26, 2012 at 10:38 AM · Report this
Hempfest was great.

I-502 Sucks.

So do Dom and Viv.
Posted by Haxo on August 31, 2012 at 5:49 PM · Report this

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