The Wink In Weed: Why Seattle Hempfest Is Still Worth Supporting

By David Rheins

It’s been five years since Washington opened its legal cannabis marketplace, and today adult consumers in the Evergreen state have an abundance of high-quality, legal weed available in an impressive array of product configurations at affordable prices.

Seattle Hempfest, taking place this week along the gorgeous Puget Sound, is the nation’s oldest and largest “Protestival.”  It began as forum and platform for activists, patients and pot smokers to gather together to fight for their rights to toke in peace.  Back then, firing up a joint in public had real potential consequences — and could land you with a fine or even jail time.

My fellow Hempfest Volunteers in their Green T-Shirts

Hempfest Volunteers

Today, Washingtonians don’t have to go to the park to spark up. Pot smoking is legal, accepted and somewhat normalized in the Pacific Northwest. Leading some to ask what is the relevance of Seattle Hempfest?

While more of a party these days than a protestival, Seattle Hempfest is still a must-attend annual gathering of the cannabis tribes.  Our Green Revolution is a broad tent, with a diverse set of communities.  We are advocates, patients, farmers, business professionals, parents, teachers and caregivers, all united under the belief that Federal Prohibition, and the War on Drugs — and Drugs Users — must end. There is something powerful and undeniable about seeing a hundred thousand pot smokers gather together to celebrate community.

There is still much legal reform that needs to happen before cannabis consumption is fully normalized — and it is encouraging to see the momentum behind the STATES ACT and the Marijuana Justice Act as Congress has finally gotten the word that the American public — on both sides of the aisle — are through with prohibition.  The 2018 Farm Bill, with its Hemp Farming provision, will de-schedule industrial hemp and open the way for explosive growth in hemp-based products, including consumer goods, industrial materials, foods, fuels and medicines.

We are in a fight for the control of our legal cannabis industry.  Big Pharma, Big Alcohol, Big Tobacco, Big Agriculture and Big Government Regulators are all fighting to establish their places in our new mainstream marijuana marketplace. We must continue to stay involved now as the new regulations and standards of our emerging industry are crafted. I see Hempfest as a natural venue for showcasing the best and most innovative hemp products. Cannabis consumer rights need to be protected to ensure that the legal products are safe, tested and of the highest quality. Legal cannabis businesses have an opportunity to build an industry based on the highest standards of production, marketing and operations.  We need to be fair and equitable in our hiring and compensation practices, and we need to direct the windfall of new marijuana tax revenues towards improving the health and welfare of local communities, particularly those hit hard from the War On Drugs.

CurvedPapersHempfest512x440As our alternative culture takes centerstage, it is important that we stand together for our shared values.  We are witnessing and influencing the end of an era. The post-WWII, better living thru petrochemicals, conspicuous consumption society is unsustainable — and is quickly being replaced by a global, plant-based lifestyle, renewable energy zeitgeist.

MJBA is proud to once again participate as a media sponsor and exhibitor of Seattle Hempfest.  We’re thrilled to be sharing a booth with Curved Papers, with whom we’ve been touring the country on a Cannafest Destiny Tour.  We’ll be showing off our NORML 100% Hemp rolling papers, and showcasing our latest poster by Michael Guttsen, and doing social media blasts with MJBA Ambassador At Large Jake Dimmock.  Please join us at Booth #323 across from the Hemposium.

Michael O'Malley, David Hynes Michael O'Malley David Rheins

It has never been more important to stand up and be counted.  Please come out to Myrtle Edwards park this weekend, listen to the speakers, dance to the music and support the many food and merchandise vendors.  Be sure to drop a few bucks in the donation bucket:  Seattle Hempfest is an all-volunteer effort, and it depends on the support of its Vendors, Sponsors and Attendees to survive.

 

 

Seattle Hempfest & Fix Democracy First Team Up For Voter Registration Push

WASHINGTON: Nearly 10,000 Washingtonians have been registered to vote at Seattle Hempfest. This year the organization has teamed up with the non-profit Fix Democracy First! in an effort to increase voter registration at the event.

“Seattle Hempfest is the single biggest voter registration event in Washington State,” says Cindy Black, Fix Democracy First!’s executive Director.

Seattle Hempfest, a volunteer powered event, is asking for additional volunteers from the community to assist in the 3 day long voter registration drive.

“Voting remains one of your most significant forms of political speech, because it is an ultimate expression of your political opinion,” says Seattle Hempfest’s Vivian McPeak.  “It is as important today as it has ever been that Americans actively participate in elections. If you don’t vote you will have no voice in determining who your elected representatives are, and no say in how local issues and ballot initiatives will be decided,” McPeak continues.

Seattle Hempfest 2018 teams up with Fix Democracy First! for annual Hempfest voter registration push

Seattle Hempfest 2018 teams up with Fix Democracy First! for annual Hempfest voter registration push

As a U.S. citizen of any age over 18, you have a right to register and vote.  But in various parts of America barriers are set in the path of people trying to vote, including photo I.D. requirements, limits on early voting, voter registration restrictions, proof of citizenship requirements, voter roll purges, and engineering legislative district boundaries to favor candidates of a particular political party.  Add to that political campaigns filled with deceptions and propaganda, and it sometimes seems pointless to register and vote.

While there are some positive changes being made to Washington election laws, the outcome of the next several elections could dictate the direction our nation takes on a variety of critical issues.

“Voting remains one of your most significant forms of political speech, because it is an ultimate expression of your political opinion,” says Seattle Hempfest’s Vivian McPeak.  “It is as important today as it has ever been that Americans actively participate in elections. If you don’t vote you will have no voice in determining who your elected representatives are, and no say in how local issues and ballot initiatives will be decided,” McPeak continues.

If you are a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years old, currently not in prison/halfway house, or on parole/probation that requires you to report to a State of Washington parole/probation officer because of a felony conviction in a State of Washington Court, you have the right to vote. (What’s important here is, that you don’t have any reporting requirements.)  You are no longer required to have paid your State of Washington fines and other financial obligations in full, so long as a State of Washington Court hasn’t found that you are willfully refusing to pay them, and has barred you from voting.

If you meet those State of Washington requirements, you can now register and vote. If you were convicted of a felony in Federal Court, you have the right to vote when you are released from prison/halfway house, even if you have fines and other financial obligations (Federal Courts do not barr you from voting if you don’t pay your fines and other financial obligations), and are required to report to a Federal Probation Officer.

DJ Snoopadelic and Kokane Headline Oklahoma Hempfest September 7-9th

NEW DATES. OKLAHOMA HEMPFEST RESCHEDULED:  Oklahoma Hempfest Rescheduled; New Dates June 7, 8 & 9th 2019

By Scott McKinley

Who could imagine Oklahoma going for Medical Cannabis?  After the state just claimed the crown for most incarcerations,  the people have truly spoken with this one.

Being an 8-year member of Seattle Hempfest, I know the power of a “Protestival” done right. This will be my third year of sponsoring a stage in Seattle and networking with all the entrepreneurs to make the 3-day event happen, and so naturally I decided it would be a perfect timing idea to bring the official Hempfest to my home state of Oklahoma.  With the teachers all at strike and a good portion of the proceeds going to them, I banked on state question 788 to pass.

I flew in to my home state of Oklahoma to meet with the group who created Rocklahoma to begin the planning. For public and political support, we flew in Seattle City A Attorney Pete Holmes,  Seattle Hempfest’s Vivian McPeak, Patrick Saint from the Twenty22 Many Foundation, and Ashley Heddy the head of traceability training from BiotrackTHC.

We had a panel set up by Senator and gubernatorial candidate Connie Johnson.   We toured the venue Lost Lakes, and fell in love with the layout. It’s the perfect place.  I put all the pieces together and presented the idea.  Along the way, I had many partners and friends say I was wasting my time because Oklahoma would never legalize.  I reached out to Snoop Dogg’s camp, as I had worked with him in the past, and he had the dates — September 7-9 — open.

All the pieces have come together.  We lined up the investors, the venue, the state, and the artists —  all while awaiting the vote.  So you asked for it, Oklahoma, and you will get it:  the first annual Oklahoma Hempfest headlined by DJ Snoopadelic, and the Legendary Kokane — the most featured artist in the world. — with 3 days and 4 stages of artists and speakers.  In the tradition of Seattle Hempfest, this will be a free to the public event and will have speakers in between each artist performing on all stages.  Stay tuned for more details!

Admission to HEMPFEST® Protestival Is Free, But Free Speech Is Not!

WASHINGTON: It costs almost $900,000 to produce the Seattle Hempfest Protestival each year, and without your donations the most influential cannabis festival in the country, now celebrating its 25th Anniversary, simply would not exist.

HEMPFEST 300X250
Please donate what you can, and keep this Volunteer-powered Protestival alive!

We welcome all levels of donation, whether it’s a one-time gift, a monthly donation, or the establishment of a matching gifts program.

Thank you again for your generous support of our efforts to legalize Cannabis.

Please note: Seattle Hempfest / Seattle Events is a 501 (c)(4) Non-Profit Corporation, and donations are not tax-deductible.

Hempfest 2016Donate $10.
Donate $20.
Donate $50.
Donate $100.
Donate $250.

Donate $420  – and get a copy of Protestival!
Donate $500. – get Protestival & our 2014 Poster!


If you would like to mail a check payable to Seattle Hempfest, send to:

Seattle Hempfest

12351 Lake City Way NE, #102

Seattle, Washington 98125

Support The Seattle Hempfest As It Turns 25

By David Rheins

The longest-running hemp and cannabis festival in the world is turning twenty-five this year, and it’s looking for a few good sponsors to help them celebrate. The Seattle Hempfest, August 19, 20, 21st, is the granddaddy of all hemp festivals, attracts hundreds of thousands of peaceful hempsters every year to the sprawling “Protestival” along the banks of the Puget Sound.  The best deal in entertainment all year, The Seattle Hempfest is a mile and a half of hemp happenings over three days:  speeches, music,  exhibitor booths and even an educational “Hemposium” — all FREE to attendees (a suggested donation is requested at the entrances, but sadly many folks just walk on by).

“There’s nothing in I-502 that allows a community to opt out,” Washington state Liquor Control Board spokesman Brian Smith said. If a marijuana retailer meets the state’s requirement for a license then it will be granted.

The Largest Protestival in the World Turns 25

It is a daunting logistical challenge to build, operate, tear down and clean up the event, one that falls to General Manager Sharon Whitson, who is in charge of both operations and sponsorship.   “The Seattle Hempfest enters its 25th year with a volunteer event staff of 1,000, and operating 6 stages of non-stop speakers and music & 400 arts, crafts, food, and informational vendors,” Whitson told MJNewsNetwork. “Hempfest is a non-profit, so how do we run things? With generous and like-minded businesses’ support and co-marketing.”

For its special 25th anniversary, Sharon and her team have put together a comprehensive suite of marketing packages designed to help marketers reach the influential marketplace all year long.  Sponsorship pricing begins at $2,500, and goes up to $50,000; packages include premium vending placements, informational displays in a range of print and online media, banners on stages, and logos on advertising & marketing materials.

“The work’s not done, man! Sure you and I can buy outrageously expensive herb at stores here in town, but the Feds think it’s a felony and a hard-core narcotic! Six-hundred and eighty-thousand Americans were arrested last year for marijuana-related offenses! Our war veterans don’t have access to it to help with their PTSD, and parents are having their kids taken away for using it as medicine all over the country!”

The Seattle Hempfest

“We are where the cannabis industry, entrepreneurs and consumers, come together to show the world who we are as a culture,” Whitson told MJNN. “Going into our 25th year you will get the best of both worlds by attending & vending at the world’s largest & oldest cannabis event.”

For more sponsorship information, call Sharon at Hempfest Central 206-364-4367 or Email: sponsorship@hempfest.org

Hempfest 2015: This Protestival Just Keeps Getting Better

By TwicebakedinWA

WASHINGTON:  Last weekend I attended the 24th annual Hempfest in Seattle on the waterfront of Myrtle Edwards Park. This was my third time attending the Protestival and I thoroughly enjoyed all three days there. While in the past years I have been a volunteer and attendee, this year I was there representing MJ Headline News and MJBA to capture as much of the experience as possible.

On Friday, true to Seattle weather, there was thunder and lightning and torrential downpours shortly after the park opened to attendees. I was soaked to the bone walking to the far end of the park with my boss, David Rheins, who was scheduled to speak. When we got there the speakers were all huddled under the backstage tents of the McWilliams/Black Memorial stage and there wasn’t an audience.

The stage manager was still giving the mic to the speakers who were there to have their voice heard. It was there that I met Roger Tilton, Senate State Candidate from New Hampshire:

Higher Ground: Hempfest Still Matters, Dude

WASHINGTON:  “Not so sure about hitting Hempfest this year, bro,” said my biggest stoner pal TJ, loading yet another fat bowl of black market Blue Dream. “I mean, we legalized it. What’s the point?”

“I’ll tell you why,” I replied, sucking down the tube. “As soon as I can remember what the question was!”

Amazingly, Hempfest is celebrating its 24th year this weekend. In addition to being the world’s largest cannabis rally, Hempfest has always advertised itself as a “protestival,” commemorating the advances of cannabis, and protesting the ongoing War on Drugs—and the fact marijuana is still very much illegal at the federal level.

 

Seattle Hempfest Merges Planned Business Show Into its “Protestival”

WASHINGTON: In response to the addition of the Seattle Waterslide on Mercer street, and market demand for a less fragmented cannabis event map & schedule, Seattle Hempfest has decided to merge its Business offer with its already successful Protestival, and new Business Mixer at the Space Needle Skyline Level.

“Business Sponsors & Exhibitors will be featured at our ‘Protestival’, where the larger community & audience will be at its peak, and more private Business discussions will be accommodated at our Business Mixer to provide the best Business experience to our partners,” says Vivian McPeak, Seattle Hempfest’s executive director.

“The new Seattle Waterslide on Mercer street limits access to the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall, on the same day of the Hempfest Business event; at the same time, feedback from event participants and the broader cannabis industry shows a demand for a less fragmented event map and schedule, especially given the saturation of cannabis related business expos in our region”, McPeak continued.

“Nobody wants to be isolated in a hard to reach area while everybody else is partying a few blocks away, so we decided to maximize our business partners reach & experience by relocating the Exhibition Hall activities to our existing and successful Protestival, and our new dedicated Business Mixer at the skyline level of the Seattle Space Needle. This should make the whole experience better for businesses and attendees alike: the big trade show with massive audience at the festival, and the dedicated business talks and networking at the Mixer.”

Vending, sponsorship, and volunteer opportunities are still available, and more information can be found at hempfest.org