The 22nd and first ever legal Hempfest (this was not strictly medical marijuana–but an all-out recreational celebration) occurred in Seattle last weekend–and it was an event for the record books. The astounding event was flooded with cannabis enthusiasts from and wide, easily breaking previous attendance records with well over 250,000 people flocking to downtown Seattle’s waterfront parks for three days of good people, good stuff, and even better vibes.
Hempfest was, at its core, like most marijuana events–a lot of stoned people hanging out, some who choose not to wear deodorant–only way, way bigger. And thus, the festival is equipped with much more options. Whether it was the music, food, glass, stoners, or guest speakers, there was simply more of The Good Stuff to choose from than at any other weed event I’ve been to (and that list is long).
Of course, when over 250,000 people gather anywhere, you’d expect there to be some kind of major incident, injury, or controversy. But like all other marijuana events I’ve attended, that wasn’t the case at Hempfest. Aside from one person who appeared to be a combination of toodamnhigh and dehydrated being escorted via stretcher, the First Aid area at the event was dormant throughout the weekend.
And that’s not by accident. Vivian McPeak and all the fine folks at Hempfest make a point of telling people to stay hydrated, stay safe, and stay happy throughout the weekend. Aside from a minor scuffle between red-shirts and blue-shirts (gangsters smoke weed and like free events too) that resulted in a few haphazard swings but mostly yelling and shirtless adolescents, it was all peace in Seattle.
Because they did not serve a drop of alcohol within Hempfest’s grounds. Yes, in this hipped out dystopia of an invent, alcohol is forbidden–and so are Coke, Pepsi, and any kind of carbonated drink (they were unavailable for purchase). The biggest consequent from this keen decision by Hempfest was the bathroom lines: I never had to wait more than 30 seconds to enter a Port-O-Potty all weekend.
While the crowd certainly brought all walks of life into Seattle, almost no bad vibes were transported to the country’s largest legal marijuana celebration that duly earned a spot in the record books. Likewise, pretty much every member of the cannabis industry–from entrepreneurs to activists–were well-represented at the event.
For the entire Weedmaps team, some of the major highlights included speeches by friends Alec Dixon of SC Labs and SSDP director Aaron Houston which respectively discussed cannabis testing and legalization’s process, receiving standing ovations throughout. Another surreal moment occurred when embattled Canadian activist Marc Emery’s wife took the stage and urged the people to continue fighting for their right to smoke.
All of the speakers throughout the weekend did a tremendous job of echoing a familiar cry: we deserve to smoke weed wherever, whenever, and however we want to–and weed will be legalized as long as we keep fighting for it.
Music at the event functioned more as a backdrop than as an attraction (I couldn’t name anyone on the bill) but there was something for everyone, whether it was reggae, rock, or yes, even dupstep. Munchies were a different story: unlike many cannabis cups (which food is a problem at), it was hard to walk 10 feet without running into French Fries or Pulled Pork at Hempfest. I opted for the grilled cheese three days in a row, cause while there weren’t lines for the Port-O-Potties, they were still Port-O-Potties.
But what about the weed?
Yes, there is no weed sold at Hempfest–it’s strictly forbidden. But like at a Phish concert, if you follow your nose, you can find the Kush (and some kind-hearted soul willing to share it) with no problem. While “torches” may have been forbidden at the event, dabbing went on without incident and certainly played a roll in our weekend’s high.
Aside from at times a chaotic, crowded space, Hempfest was all good stuff, all the times. Even the cops. While they did buzz one edible-seller’s mellow outside the venue (which was their right) and distinguish an attempt at the world’s largest joint, the Seattle PD was mostly an afterthought when they weren’t passing out Doritos (which they ran out of all too fast).
The police both in and outside the venue operated as a microcosm for how this entire country’s law enforcement should act towards people smoking a plant all around the country: they observed, they permitted, and they even laughed.
It might seem weird to an outsider that you could easily get away with smoking weed while talking to a cop–but it’s the future.
WeedmapsTV will be releasing some mind-blowing footage in the near future, but until then, here are some short clips from last weekend.
The infamous Doritos supplied by the Seattle PD as part of “Operation Orange Fingers:
The Shotgun Booth:
Tony Greenhand prepping an Elephant Joint:
If you couldn’t make it out to Hempfest–we’ll see Seattle again in two weeks for the Cannabis Cup and hope you can join us there. Needless to say, we’ll be staying medicated at every marijuana event this country (and perhaps others…) has to offer!