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Monday, August 18, 2008

Last Weekend on Drugs

posted by on August 18 at 12:33 PM


Just when it seems like the novelty of Hempfest has worn off—we do it every year, it’s always pretty much the same, perhaps a bit bigger than the year before—I was struck yesterday afternoon that, damn, 100,000 people are openly smoking pot in the middle of a huge American city. They’re pretty much saying, “Come bust us,” in the country that’s been pushing the most draconian, over-funded, violent drug war in history. But they don’t get busted. Pot rallies of this size have never happened before. This is a revolution. It would seem more poignant if it weren’t stigmatized by a bunch of dirty hippies, of course. But the interesting thing is, the crowd at Hempfest this year wasn’t all that hippied out. Mostly it was mainstream folks, freakishly hot guys without shirts, and perky little emo kids. But the folks putting on the event still hang tie dyes from the stage. Jesus, cut it out, guys. Hanging tie dyes from the stage (and all the honky Reggae and Jam Rock) makes folks who support the cause want to avoid Hempfest, or, if they do attend, pummel the hippies senseless with their new glass bongs.

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You hit the reason right on the head why I avoid Hempfest. The 60's are over!!

Maybe Hempfest needs to go through what Pride went through to make it more mainstream?

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | August 18, 2008 12:35 PM

Exactly. I would have gone, but I generally detest the barefoot, shirtless, plastic-pot-leaf-lei-wearing, pit-bull-mix-on-a-rope crowd.

The bus stops downtown Saturday night were packed with just these assclowns, waiting to board buses back to Woodinville, Tacoma, and god knows where else. Word up, hippie. Nobody takes you seriously when you're wandering down Fifth Avenue wrapped in a pot-leaf-printed batik blanket over your Abercrombie gear.

Posted by Jessica | August 18, 2008 12:39 PM

Well said by the writer and the commenters above. "Nobody takes you seriously when you're wandering down Fifth Avenue wrapped in a pot-leaf-printed batik blanket over your Abercrombie gear." That's exactly right.

I used to live in Olympia. There were many horrible hippies. They'd have protests for the sake of having protests, which hippies do. I worked in a coffee shop there. One time, after a march for something-or-other some of the hippies came to get tea. One hippie girl, dressed as some sort of pelican, asked one hippie guy, wearing some sort of hemp parka with dirty, dirty white-guy dreadlocks, "Why can't these people take us seriously?"

It was hard not to laugh.

Posted by Matt Fuckin' Hickey | August 18, 2008 12:45 PM

Dirty hippie is not a cute term or funny. It's a term of bias and you know it. Hempfest has a a big umbrella. I saw all sorts of people there. Not enough "fags"? Then start your own gay pot rally or parade and stop complaining...

Posted by bloomdude | August 18, 2008 12:48 PM

Wait, why do pot-smoking hipsters hate -- and, judging from the comments so far, that seems a bit conservative -- "Hippies"? Are pot-smokers pro-war now? Is the pro-pot crowd now against tolerance? What the hell did the "hippies" do to you? I don't get it. If you want to hate people, fine, hate them -- but hate the right group, the people who are keeping your pot illegal, your issues out of the media -- not the hippies who just want to get high with you (I had no idea my peace sign so offended you).

Posted by ... I can't keep up | August 18, 2008 12:52 PM

Seems calling US laws "the most draconian... in history" might piss off the 58 individuals on Indonesia's death row for drug offenses.

The drug convicted death row-ers in Bangladesh, Brunei, China, India, Iraq, Kuwait, Laos, Malaysia, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam might agree...

Posted by J2 | August 18, 2008 12:59 PM

It's the New Years Eve of pot smoking. People who do it a couple times a year and act like asswipes.

Posted by Mike Schank | August 18, 2008 1:00 PM

I just don't get it... where are all these people getting all this pot in Seattle?

Posted by James | August 18, 2008 1:03 PM

I'm more concerned about the litter, quite frankly.

It's just like any other parade or event - anyone using a park or the streets - my question is did the cops arrest people for litter, starting fights, and getting in accidents - that's their JOB.

Posted by Will in Seattle | August 18, 2008 1:05 PM

Yeah that is why you park near the north entrance, go right to the electronic music stage, and avoid the jam-band stages like the plague until your desire for a coconut and lime snowcone takes over and you walk through miles of bongs and tie-dye and pot brownies and agro-emo kids and candy ravers (still alive and well!) and return 3 hours later with nothing to show except more freckles and a bright green mouth that lasts for hours.

Maybe that was just me (the girl with the green mouth hanging out at the electronic stage for two days straight)

Posted by Shilo Urban | August 18, 2008 1:06 PM

dirty hippies??? real hippies???


Dominic got a job writing and now has gone mainstream - with headbands and some beads everyone who works at the Stranger could be "dirty hippies" especially when they are huffing and puffing getting stoned ...

By the way, pro pot rallies are not new and can change nothing at the state level - Hempfest is simply another recreation in the Seattle summer - go to DC every year with a million people, course the crowd might not be sanitized enough for some ...

The action for reform must be at the Federal level. Duh ...

Posted by Larry | August 18, 2008 1:07 PM

Who you calling a Honky Reggae?

Posted by Biggie J | August 18, 2008 1:18 PM

You know why the hippie bias? It's simple.

In the 60's when this was all new to white people, they put on their tie-dyes, started dancing to the Dead, and came off as a bunch of freaks. 40 years later, you think they look any better?

I always say this: If you want a good protest and you wanna be taken seriously no matter what the issue, stop looking like an acid flashback, an anarchist, or space case. Imagine if at Hempfest everybody had haircuts, bathed, and wore nice clothes. Now, granted, it ain't ever gonna happen, but it would certainly make a different impression.

Posted by Jason Josephes | August 18, 2008 1:29 PM

Wait a sec...first you're amazed at the size of the crowd, then you complain that people are staying away because of the negative message? Are you suggesting that more people would attend if the organizers would lose the old skool drag? If so, then how many would you net versus how many you would lose who supported the drag?

I support the cause and I'm not a hippie, but I'm also not offended by the drag. Just curious.

Posted by B.D. | August 18, 2008 1:33 PM

Mmmm, snowcones ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | August 18, 2008 1:41 PM

dreaming of taking all the dirty hippies out. ahhhhhhhh. Now that's satisfaction.

Posted by Al-Qaeda | August 18, 2008 1:56 PM

I've never wanted to die more in my life. I'll never go again. From what I saw, there isn't really any way you can change it, the crowd is just pathetic. I didn't see one hot guy.

Posted by Mr. Poe | August 18, 2008 2:02 PM

To paraphrase the immortal words of Yogi Berra, "Nobody goes to Hempfest - it's too crowded."


Naw, apparently SPD was too busy ticketing scooters in Squire Park for being parked on "planting strips" that haven't had anything actually planted on them in about four years by my estimate.

As for prosecutions, well, just as soon as Ron Simms can cough up the $$$$$$ for a 100,000 bed county facility, things'll change, you can be certain of that.

Posted by COMTE | August 18, 2008 2:46 PM

I agree with Mr Poe, the couple times I have been there were never any hot guys. Some nice bodies but faces that looked downright nasty.

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | August 18, 2008 3:12 PM

Poe, really, you are so lazy when it comes to real man sex - no wonder you do the old men ...

Sweetheart, you take them home and give them a hot shower, another one later, and throw their clothes in the washer.

Honey, there were thousands of hot men, very hot indeed, it was about 100 degrees out ..... a cocksuckers dream, most of them stoned and all mellow, yummy stuff galore .... and at least one silver haired Jerry Garcia for you

Posted by Adam | August 18, 2008 3:18 PM

If it doesn't come equipped with a dress shirt, tie, noticeable cologne (but not excessive) and a decent haircut, it's not for me.

Half of the guys there looked like they grew out of a tree. Then there were guys who missed the memo that the Ecko is lame and always has been, there were the wiggers, frat boys, wigger/frat boys, obese men, skinny asian twinks trying to fit in (?), and to top it all off almost all of Capitol Hill was there. It was just a really, really bad scene.

Posted by Mr. Poe | August 18, 2008 3:35 PM
at least one silver haired Jerry Garcia for you
I could be wrong, but I don't think Mr. Poe is looking to spend his weekend explaining to the cops why there's an obese beardie in his bed, dead of a massive coronary.
Posted by Fnarf | August 18, 2008 4:18 PM
I could be wrong, but I don't think Mr. Poe is looking to spend his weekend explaining to the cops why there's an obese beardie in his bed, dead of a massive coronary.

I'd rather go to next years hempfest.

Posted by Mr. Poe | August 18, 2008 4:39 PM

Looking for Armani at Hempfest - surely you jest - those of us who are in that set - save it for NYC, London or Paris.

Sorry Poe, wrong place, wrong city. Suggest you travel a bit to the real big time world centers, with a culture of manners and male high style.

Of course, you better be a ten plus, the men you seek do not do second string.

Good luck, seems you have the instincts, nothing more sexy than a good hard on hanging out of pinstripe trousers and backed up with hand made silk drawers from Savile.

Posted by Kemper | August 18, 2008 6:15 PM

I'll give the organizers credit for putting it together and managing 1,000 volunteers. But it is no revolution nor is it close to being one. It's basically a street fair with as much consequence.
I can't help but think that the energy that went into it could have been better used than preaching old arguements to an apathetic choir.
Why not register voters at the Festival? Why not do a statewide initiative and legalize it once and for all? Tim Eyman seems to get one on all the ballot every year. Hempfest hasn't managed it in 17.

Posted by Zander | August 18, 2008 6:26 PM

Zander @ 25) Stop being silly. Getting a permit for a Hempfest is, by far, more challenging than getting a permit for a street fair. It involves year-long negotiations and a fleet of attorneys; you may recall that Hempfest had to sue the city for its permit a couple years ago. And while the change Hempfest creates is incremental, it's there. Seattle used to be like any other place in the country when it came to drug policy. But it's played a vital role bringing together activists, elected officials, mainstream institutions like the county bar association and the ACLU to help in the US.

You wonder why doesn't a rally run an initiative. Seriously? Because it's a rally. Perhaps you should wonder why those other organizations aren't running initiatives. Oh, right--they are. Medical marijuana or I-75 ring a bell?

It's unlike a street fair, also, in that producing the event on volunteers and donations is a veritable miracle--no other event of its size and complexity operates year-in and year-out without major corporate sponsorship.

Hempfest has always registered voters at the event. Thousands of them.

I may bitch about wanting Hempfest to be better--oh, yes I do and they wish I'd shut up--but you'd have to be more stoned than all the stoners at Hempfest to think it hadn't made a difference.

Posted by Dominic Holden | August 18, 2008 7:17 PM

I actually had a good time. I got away from all of my hipster friends for the day. I told them where I'd be, I got some negative feedback, but whatever, it's only for a few days and I scored some awesome, rad, cool chronic that I'll be sharing with those same hipster-whatever-to-it-all friends. They score by making snotty, ironic remarks, I win for the real fuck-you-I-don't-care-cuz-you're-smoking-hippie-weed-I-scored-at-Hempfest. A point worth making twice, bitcheZ.

Posted by Deacon Seattle | August 18, 2008 8:19 PM

@ Poe... It sounds like your S.O. is rubbing off on you (I didn't mean it that way. Really.)

You've become a self hating Seattlite.

Oh, wait. That's not original.

Posted by it was funny when i first typed it | August 18, 2008 11:38 PM

I have this sense that I must have been too stoned to notice the crowd ("dirty hippies" and yuppies in pot drag?) or something. I didn't think it was particularly different than your average Saturday on the Hill.

Posted by violet_dagrinder | August 19, 2008 7:49 AM

Will @9 The litter was bad, but HempFest has an ecology crew that picks the park clean after the Fest. I'm particularly proud of the recycling effort, there were 10 bags of recycling for every bag of trash at the DanceSafe stage.

@10 I'm glad you liked it! We felt it was the best year for the electronic music stage yet. Here's me, thanks to Nic:

Posted by NaFun | August 19, 2008 10:11 AM

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