WASHINGTON: For three days in August, hundreds of thousands of people will descend on Myrtle Edwards and Centennial Parks on Seattle’s waterfront for the 22nd annual Hempfest, traditionally the largest annual gathering of pro-cannabis supporters in the world.
But following last year’s historic passage of Initiative 502, which legalized the adult possession of marijuana in the state, this year’s Hempfest is promises one thing that the previous 21 were not: a victory celebration.
What started out as a “humble gathering of stoners” in 1991, conceived during a peace vigil in opposition of the first Gulf War and attracting a crowd of about 500 people has grown to a world-renown 3 day “protestival” celebrating human rights, equality, freedom, and of course, cannabis.
Spanning 1.3 miles, two public parks, six stages, more than 300 vendors and staffed by over 1,000 volunteers, Hempfest isn’t just the largest annual pro-pot rally in the world — it is also one of the largest special events in the State of Washington.
With a Special Events permit requiring a $1 million insurance policy, emergency evacuation plans, safety and security personnel, Hempfest is not a “pot party in the park,” it is a bona-fide political rally who’s organizers work closely with city officials to ensure a successful — and peaceful — annual tradition.