How Hempfest Changed My Life

Grower/Activist Eve Baretta: Seattle Hempfest changed my life

This weekend I spent two days immersed in all things marijuana – from politics to music, the search for police-donated Doritos and the wide wide world of vaping – I didn’t just get high, I became an emblazoned advocate for our RIGHT to get high.

The smell of salty sea air was overtaken by the strong scent of pot as soon as I entered Myrtle Edwards Park Friday morning as I showed up for my volunteer shift.

Aaaahhh…. Good coffee, salty sea air, and fine marijuana – this is how we do mornings in Seattle.

Moms for Marijuana on the McWilliams Memorial Stage at Seattle Hempfest 2013.

Moms for Marijuana on the McWilliams Memorial Stage at Seattle Hempfest 2013.

Upon orientation, I am given the Rules of  being a Volunteer at Hempfest:  Rule #1: Do not to get high while wearing your bright green Volunteer Hempfest t-shirt, or they will take it away from you. During my shift near the speakers’ entrance, I was hoping to meet all of my cannabis heroes, like Jorge Cervantes and Rick Steves. Lucky me, Stephen DeAngelo from Harborside Health Center, took time to say hello and shake my hand. He thanked me for my volunteerism; I totally geeked out and may never wash this shirt again.


Volunteer for Seattle Mayor McGuinn

Volunteer for Seattle Mayor McGuinn

Hempfest Rule #2: Marijuana doesn’t kill people – laws against marijuana kill people. A man on the Main Stage told the crowd that his daughter had been taken away from him because he smokes pot.  He didn’t abuse his child, like the foster “parent” who killed an innocent toddler after she was taken from her pot-smoking parents in Texas. I would completely lose my mind if someone came between me and my daughter for smoking pot. Now he has to raise money for attorney fees. We really must End Schedule One on Marijuana now.

I was also moved to tears by Kristin Flor’s tragic story of how her dad literally died a broken man in prison while serving time as a mmj caregiver.  Her family was destroyed, and her mom is still in prison because of our STUPID federal laws. These are not violent criminals and they didn’t hurt anyone, but actually HELPED people in need. Become a prison pen pal to these heroes, they need your love and support!

Hempfest Rule #3: Pass the Joint. 4:20pm at center stage with hundreds of my new best friends was off the hook! We danced, and cheered when the helicopter flew overhead. Someone said they were going to throw joints out the open door, but it was only paper. Wishful thinking perhaps, although I think it could happen when corporate sponsors take part in the legal business of bud next year. That should be a dozy of a Hempfest.

Seen at Hempfest: Prisoners of War

Seen at Hempfest: Prisoners of War

There was so much to do and so much to see; so many people to be heard and so much pot to be inhaled. But as I jumped on the back of my bike taxi and headed home, I couldn’t help but think Hempfest had done its job – it made me completely aware of the need to change our laws. And the only way to do that is to speak up, get involved, become informed, rage at the injustices, and speak your truth.

Now is the time to end prohibition on marijuana everywhere. I will start today by writing pot prisoners to let them know they are not forgotten, and thank them for their efforts. What are you going to do after that bong rip?


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