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Monday, August 18, 2008

Re: Last Weekend on Drugs

posted by on August 18 at 14:43 PM

I totally agree with Dom: Hempfest is a good—no, great—thing. We should be proud that every year 100,000 people gather in the middle of this city, right under the windows of a newspaper overseen by the DEA’s useful idiots, to openly smoke pot, and that thousands of joints are distributed—free—to the crowd while the police look on. It is a giant challenge—an enormous fuck you, actually—to our idiotic drug laws and, again, to the useful idiots that do so much to preserve the status quo. The folks openly smoking pot at Hempfest call to mind the folks that marched for gay rights way back when gay people could still be arrested for declaring their homosexuality publicly. The pot smokers at Hempfest are brave and necessary and sometimes a little embarrassing, yes, just like some of the folks at the gay rights marches were (and are) embarrassing. But they’re gonna change things—hell, they already have.

But I also agree with Brendan, in as much as I go out of my way to avoid Hempfest. But it’s not the dirty hippies that bother me—and you do realize, hippy-bashers, that the hippies were right about pretty much everything?—it’s the… smoke. Being at Hempfest means moving through a cloud of second-hand pot smoke all day long. And guess what? Pot smoke isn’t pleasant. It stinks. It’s nasty. Inhaling other people’s pot smoke may be a little less unpleasant, I suppose, than inhaling other people’s cigarette smoke. But not by a lot. So I prefer to smoke pot in places that immediately revert to a smoke-free environments just as soon as I’m high. I’d rather not get high in a crowd of folks creating a constant cloud of second-hand pot smoke (and cigarette smoke too), thanks.

Another Hempfest disconnect: I’ve always gotten the feeling—induced or enhanced by the pot perhaps—that Hempfest isn’t an entirely safe place for a gay person to let down his guard. There’s are just too many punchy, stoned, agro teenage boys from Bremerburibotheltan in the crowd for me to relax. Oh, and the music is too loud, I don’t enjoy being in big crowds, and I hate having to stand in line for food, water, and toilets.

But as a pot smoker who supports Hempfest’s goals while pretty much loathing the Hempfest experience, I have to say that I absolutely love Brendan’s idea about a little Hempfest counter-programming—but instead of thinking of counter-programming as anti-Hempfest, we should view it—and promote it—as way for those of us who believe in Hempfest’s goals but don’t enjoy the Hempfest experience to show our support. I love the idea of a bunch of people gathering at SAM—or Alki or the Pacific Science Center or Pike Place Market or the Downtown Library or all of the above—and, at a prearranged time, smoking up in solidarity with the throngs at Hempfest. Then, once everyone is good and baked we can put away the pot, the air will quickly clear, and we can proceed to enjoy the art—or the beach or the laser light show or the food stalls or the stacks—in our stoned states, making our pro-stoner statement.

We could think of this counter-programming as Hempfest satellites, mini Hempfest actions taking place all over town, and create them specifically to target the folks turned off by sun- and pot-baked teenagers, marijuana-leaf leis, tie-dye, and reggae.

It’s a great idea, Brendan, let’s do it.

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The attendees at Hempfest give credence to the mainstream view that dope = non-contributing members of society who are threats to the public order and possibly violent as well. They appear to be the same people you rail against in your pit-bull posts, and that's never going to create change.

Hearing the horrible shit music echo across the water wasn't very attractive, either.

Posted by Fnarf | August 18, 2008 3:12 PM

Then, once everyone is good and baked we can put away the pot, the air will quickly clear, and we can proceed to enjoy the art—or the beach or the laser light show or the food stalls or the stacks—in our stoned states, making our pro-stoner statement.

Someone line up a Hempfest-satellite round of golf and I'm in.

Posted by jmr | August 18, 2008 3:17 PM

Cake and brownies is the smartest and most delicious way to get high with pot.

- You don't throw 3/4 of your stash up in smoke.
- Cops won't smell you 3 blocks away.
- It keeps your lungs clean.
- Chocolate brownies are delicious enough already.

Also, if you don't have time to bake, just buy a McCain Deep'n'Delicious cake and drop the buds on the icing. It's so creamy you won't even taste the pot.

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

Hell, why wait for Hempfest? Stage something like this every month.

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

you should post more about hempfest because NOTHING ELSE happened over the weekend. Just like your shitty neglect of the rest of Seattle during your stupid stupid greedy block party.

Posted by yawn | August 18, 2008 3:23 PM

For a guy who hates second-hand smoke you sure do pocket a lot of cash from tobacco companies in order to promote your events.

Which is fine, but really kind of funny too.

Posted by Jeff | August 18, 2008 3:26 PM

Ok, the hippies may have been right about a lot, but can they PLEASE get on board with deodorant?

Posted by Collin | August 18, 2008 3:27 PM

I-75 or no, I think that the cops would be all over any satellite hempfest functions. Think lions picking off gazelles that stray from the herd. They tolerate it now but I doubt they will allow it to grow. Just my 2 cents.

Posted by happy renter | August 18, 2008 3:33 PM

Why don't we just do the obvious Dan?

Smoke-out at "The Stranger" HQ, 11th & E. Pike St. This Friday, 4:20 p.m. Hippies must wear deoderant, and Hipsters must NOT wear cologne.

Posted by COMTE | August 18, 2008 4:01 PM

Hey Dan! put on a gas mask and come on down and see how many cute fags are down there not only just hanging out for the day, but also do a bang up job of volunteering!

Posted by rainbow pot leaf | August 18, 2008 4:15 PM

It is pretty fucking offensive to compare the gay civil rights movement to a bunch of people who want to smoke weed.

Posted by Kevin | August 18, 2008 4:16 PM

the problem is the right to smoke weed is a civil rights movement in the bloodshot eyes of the people who do it and are furious about the hamfisted attempts to curb an mostly harmless activity.

I get pissed off thinking about it myself. But then I remember that I sometimes have to deal with potheads and i'm in a quandary about what is right, and what is right. Sometimes I just wanna bash.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | August 18, 2008 4:21 PM

Great discussion about Hempfest. How about proposing a "gay" stage for next year?... Re: "dirty hippies" - it's offensive, derogatory, biased and prejudiced. If you insist on using the term, here's a more appropriate way of making your point: Say "hippies who are dirty or smelly." I'm a hippie, but I'm not dirty. I shower every day. We're politically correct about everything (African American, Asian, gay, flight attendant, etc.). Why not be PC about hippies too? They're an oppressed minority. One oppressed minority (in this case, gays) should not belittle another oppressed minority group (in this case, hippies). This constant harping on hippies is beneath the intelligence of SLOG... Lastly, Dan, you should have not only attended Hempfest, but spoken to crowd. And as a guest speaker and media maven, you would have had free "hippie" food backstage, where you'd find refuge from the aggros who scare you away. But you know that...

Posted by bloomdude | August 18, 2008 4:35 PM

Why isn't there a crackfest?

Posted by Morrow | August 18, 2008 4:36 PM

Why not a series of cultural events celebrating great marijuana users? ie., an exhibit of works by Diego Rivera, Pablo Picasso, a reading of Oscar Wilde short works, a dramatic staging of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," a George Carlin/Richard Pryor/Lenny Bruce comedy jam, all culminating in a concert with music by Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, the Beatles & Eminem.

Posted by Gurldoggie | August 18, 2008 4:37 PM

The music was soooooooooooooooooo bad.

Posted by Mr. Poe | August 18, 2008 4:38 PM

...alternatively we could just sit around and play video games!

Posted by Gurldoggie | August 18, 2008 4:39 PM

Shut up Hippie!

Posted by Shwan | August 18, 2008 4:41 PM

@17, Imagine the creatures you would make in Spore while high,

Posted by Bellevue Ave | August 18, 2008 4:44 PM

Theres only one way to actually make it work and that is 1. Have a mostly sober event that is all about changing the political landscape, hemp cultivation methods, etc etc. 2. then have hempfest where people get high and dance to jambands and drum circles. You can't inject the seriousness and clear political thought into what is clearly a party event without it being tacky or ineffective. you need a separate event at the convention center or something with keynote speakers.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | August 18, 2008 4:54 PM

@14 read comment 5. Sure they're not the same thing but uh... what was i talking about??? oh yeah WHITE POWDER!

Posted by read before posting | August 18, 2008 4:56 PM

A somewhat belated two cents: In some ways Hempfest is not terribly different from the "Gas Out" protests (collectively not buying gasoline for a day, only to buy more of it on the other days) or the tiny "Free Speech Zones".

Having a group of people come together and participate in an act of organized defiance in one spot for one particular day is certainly empowering. But nobody comes to Hempfest to be convinced of the cause - they come to show and enjoy support for what they already believe. It's organized and cordoned off and, well, "safe" - possibly too insulated to really foster change. The cops don't really care about Hempfest because it's all out of sight, out of mind from those who disagree, and the status quo is maintained.

If folks our serious about "acting out" in regards to their belief that it should be legal to possess and publicly smoke weed, then they need to leave the "Free Weed Zone". Pick a day to collectively stick their necks out and smoke weed in *any* public space in Seattle that tobacco smoking is currently permitted (ha). If you're 100,000 strong, the cops can't arrest all of you - and a group act of civil disobedience of this sort might actually mean something.

Posted by yelahneb | August 18, 2008 5:23 PM

@15: I believe you could include The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution in your program. Bunch of Hemp growers who are known to have lit up involved there.

Posted by Gabe | August 18, 2008 5:26 PM

@15: Slave owners too!

Posted by Morrow | August 18, 2008 5:34 PM

At the Stranger offices - then - if busted - they can do the bail out

Tons of attention for the Stranger, after all the sex thing is a bit stale

Lots of REAL plants, roped off space for medical users only, display of hemp fiber just to be GREEN, let's do it ... invite the City Council, they need a good buzz from time to time.

If the promoters can get control of hemp fest they can charge 25.00 a day or more and make a lot of money - beer gardens galore - chase out the poor hippies. It is not their smell that gets me, they are lazy and not connected to the system with jobs like the rest of us.

Posted by Frank in Ballard | August 18, 2008 6:00 PM

just tell me when, i will be there for the counter-counterculture programming.

best idea i've heard in 20 minutes.

Posted by cestlaguerre | August 18, 2008 6:05 PM

Dan, I hope to Goddess you've sparked with Bill Maher...
Should we consider a new agenda along with the non-fest-fest. Think global, act local. As post-hippie average suburbanites, we wear our best (least best) Banana Republic, insinuate ourselves into the local morality police organizations (perhaps those of us still tattoo-free) and bake delicious-but-undetectable goodies for meetings. The minutes, when read back, will be hilarious, (with more forward thinking and better syntax than the last 8 SotU speeches.) The "Concerned ______for________" manifestos sent to law enforcement will be made into Seth Rogan movies.
I vote for the plantarium.

Posted by stagelefty | August 18, 2008 6:52 PM

Let me know if the Stranger's offices get busted. I'll gladly come down to Courtroom 2 to see that mess get sorted.

Posted by Dave Coffman | August 18, 2008 7:46 PM

Hempfest....why not Rapefest?...or Cartheftfest?

It's a drug and a crime. The people who grow and sell the stuff guard their property with machine guns and militia.

Posted by John Bailo | August 18, 2008 8:14 PM
Hempfest....why not Rapefest?...or Cartheftfest?

Um, because people can't rape themselves or steal their own cars? Do you see the difference?

No, of course you don't.

Posted by flamingbanjo | August 18, 2008 8:50 PM

@29: Alcohol is also a drug. And as far as it being a crime . . . so what? Laws are, in the end, nothing more than lists of what the police are permitted to try to bust you for and what the courts are permitted to do to you if you're found guilty. Rape is wrong. Car theft is wrong. Pot smoking is risky. There is a difference. And a) there are numerous small growers who don't use violence and b) prohibition encourages the dominance of the crazy thugs: because pot growing is risky, one has to do a lot of it in order for the profit to be worth the risk, and because pot growing is illegal, one can't go to the police if one's pot is stolen, and therefor must discourage thieves in a more brutal fashion.

Posted by christopher | August 18, 2008 9:00 PM

Wait - you're gay?!

Posted by burgin99 | August 18, 2008 9:06 PM


Where does all that yay come from?

Why is Federal Way and Rainier Avenue turning into East La with weekly executions?

Why are they raiding hundred thousand acre farms in national parks?

This is not a "victimless" crime -- it's a savage economy that's turning nice Puget Sound neighborhoods rotten..

Posted by John Bailo | August 18, 2008 9:31 PM

Dan! You need to buy a vaporizer. I really love mine. Pot lasts a lot longer (which means I buy less, which means it's cheaper). And there's no smoke and no coughing (I'm a lightweight and cough easily.) Plus, all kinds of bad chemicals don't make it into your lungs. It's much faster (and easier to regulate the dose) than brownies or cookies or whatever.

Check out

Make sure you get one with a digital temperature readout so you can make sure it's at the right temperature for vaporizing.

Oh, and now they even have small portable vaporizers you can take with you!

Posted by M | August 18, 2008 9:37 PM


why? because it is dangerous because t is profitable because it is illegal.

fucking duh.

Posted by maxsolomon in cincinnati | August 18, 2008 10:25 PM

John Bailo @33 You are an idiot.

Do you not understand concepts such as 'feedback loop' or 'self-fulfilling prophesy' and how they relate to this issue?

Take a moment and ponder these questions, then answer your own.

Posted by drewl | August 18, 2008 11:18 PM

#33 - John Bailo, you might as well be stoned out of your mind to think that weed is destroying your neighborhoods. It's as if your personal hatred toward the stuff has clouded any and all common sense you may have had on the matter.

Posted by Damien | August 18, 2008 11:41 PM

I totally agree. I love the Hempfest experience and everything about it, but I do know people who hate it. I would be willing to help organize, but not attennd. I like to stick with the pot smoking throngs of teenagers to middle aged pot smokers in the sweltering heat.

Posted by Vivian | August 19, 2008 12:00 AM

I totally agree. I love the Hempfest experience and everything about it, but I do know people who hate it. I would be willing to help organize, but not attend. I like to stick with the pot smoking throngs of teenagers to middle aged pot smokers in the sweltering heat.

Posted by Vivian | August 19, 2008 12:01 AM

* There is a causal relationship between cannabis use and schizophrenia (psychotic disorders).
* The cannabis use precipitates schizophrenia in vulnerable persons.
* Cannabis use exacerbates schizophrenia -> symptoms are more severe.
* Patients with psychotic disorders are more liable to abuse cannabis

Posted by John Bailo | August 19, 2008 12:03 AM

#40: Quit pretending to not understand the argument. During prohibition, many more people got tommy-gunned in the streets of Chicago than after it was repealed. Similarly, the violence associated with the pot trade is a result of its illegality. And yes, it has potential for abuse and can make certain mentally ill people even worse, just as alcohol can. But the whole point of Hempfest is that it marijuana prohibition is bad policy (just as alcohol prohibition was.) Even if the intention behind it really was to improve public health (which it isn't, but whatever) it couldn't possibly be worse for the health of its users than the negative health effects of a prison term.

None of your arguments address these points in any substantive way.

To equate smoking pot to rape is the height of Reefer Madness hysterical bullshit.

Posted by flamingbanjo | August 19, 2008 1:38 AM

John Bailo @40...

Nice bait and switch to the 'health' issue, since you can't (or won't) answer the your own rhetorical 'criminal' questions @33.

Anyone can brew their own beer, or grow their own tobacco. Vastly few people can produce cocaine or heroin. Can you see where pot falls on that continuum?

How about for total deaths, or violent crimes associated with said substances?

That was the point of your previous posts, wasn't it? Pot causes people to do bad things (or make them GO CRAZY)?

Decriminalizing something that in and of itself doesn't kill the user (especially compared to cigs & hootch, which YOU CAN LEGALLY MAKE YOURSELF), something that anyone can grow in a window box, something that would free up resources to maybe make a difference where it's really needed. As a legal crop, there would be no need for guerilla growing on public lands, no turf wars.

That is a 'causal relationship' much more relevant than your bait and switch 'health' links.

You are a douche, and an idiot.

Posted by drewl | August 19, 2008 2:01 AM

Huh. Dan, when was the last time you went? I didn't get that not-queer-friendly feeling at all. Pretty young crowd. . .I think the predominant sentiment is something like, "gay? we're over it. want a cookie?"

Posted by violet_dagrinder | August 19, 2008 7:37 AM

@40: Nice dishonest quoting out of context. That's a list of _hypotheses_ that the paper examined. Their conclusion was that cannabis most likely does _not_ cause schizophrenia, but that cannabis use can precipitate psychotic episodes in people with latent schizophrenia. You know what else does that? Stress and overwork. You wanna criminalize 80-hour weeks?

Posted by christopher | August 19, 2008 8:13 AM

@40: Nice dishonest quoting out of context. That's a list of _hypotheses_ that the paper examined. Their conclusion was that cannabis most likely does _not_ cause schizophrenia, but that cannabis use can precipitate psychotic episodes in people with latent schizophrenia. You know what else does that? Stress and overwork. You wanna criminalize 80-hour weeks?

Posted by christopher | August 19, 2008 8:17 AM

It's been a few years, I'll admit. Like five. Maybe it's changed a lot. But the creepy, agro boys—many shirtless, many very hot—were only one of the items on my list of Hempfest issues. Perhaps the 'phobes all grew up, moved away, or got over it—or maybe they were all figments of my pot-induced paranoia. There's still the second-hand smoke (pot and cigarette), the loud music, the crowds, and the lines.

Give me a hundred stoned folks milling around SAM—as an official Hempfest satellite event—and I will so totally go to Hempfest again.

Posted by Dan Savage | August 19, 2008 8:58 AM

I went to Hempfest, and it was loud, over-crowded, had poorly managed people flow, and generally was unimpressive - except for one thing, that everyone was smoking pot free of ramifications.

On the trek back up to a parking spot in Belltown, we passed by a bike cop near the entrance to the fest, one of just a few cops we saw that day - and he was leaned against his bike, reading a book in the shade.

To me, that summed up why Hempfest is important, and should continue - despite misgivings, despite organizational problems, and despite 'dirty hippies'. To show the difference between a gathering of that size requiring only one cop to sit there and read a book - versus any sort of event where alcohol would be sold that would require many more cops.

Posted by Tom C. | August 19, 2008 9:25 AM

I have finally come to the conclusion that it is time to legalize Marijuana--I have always been opposed to this but if we could have laws in place to step hard on underage usage, keep smoke from bothering the neighbors and strictly uphold driving while under the influence laws we would be able to tax the grower's revenue and have a sales tax. It should still be prohibited for someone to grow their own. This would, in my view, end a great deal of criminal activity and save a lot of money and time in court costs and police activity.

Posted by Leslie Bloss | August 19, 2008 10:42 AM

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