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Seattle Hempfest: More Than You Think It Is

Updated on June 3, 2014

Seattle Hempfest: It's More Than You Think It Is

Seattle's annual Hempfest is about marijuana and hemp products; but it's not just about toking up and selling products to help you get stoned. This is a large, well-organized yearly event, usually held at Myrtle Edwards Park (with a gorgeous view of Elliott Bay), featuring guest speakers, waterpipe vendors, several live music stages, food vendors, and a friendly, relaxed vibe. During the course of each Hempfest weekend, information is delivered and exchanged regarding medical marijuana, industrial hemp, legal and ethical issues of pot, the history of hemp in the United States, issues of addiction and recovery, and responsible recreational use of marijuana. Somehow, all this is covered over the course of one weekend, amid all the live music, dancing, and occasional toking.

UPDATE (TUESDAY, JANUARY 14, 2014): I just checked the Seattle Hempfest website; and it looks like Hempfest 2014 is on for August 15-17! Get your hemp leis and green crosses ready....

For Your Infotainment...

Hemp/Cannabis is business as well as pleasure! Here is a new feature for this lens; our first clip will be a bit of a lecture/documentary on the numerous uses and benefits of industrial hemp...

So, what is Industrial Hemp all about, anyway?

Seattle Hempfest may have its moments of controversy, but it's totally legal. Really. Come for the latest medical marijuana information; learn about vaporisers; munch on a hempseed brownie while listening to your favorite local band; or sip chai under the HempTent and listen to poetry readings. And while you're at it, update your voter registration! There's something for practically everyone at this festival (whether or not trying a joint is on your bucket list); and it's the most fun one can have on a hot August day in Seattle.

So, what sort of issues does Seattle Hempfest deal with, aside from the live music stages, guest speakers, and trying to provide enough trash cans and dumpsters to keep the park clean and shiny? There are several areas of discussion and debate that each summer's Hempfest addresses:

INDUSTRIAL HEMP: Grown legally in the United States until shortly after World War II, the long-fibered hemp plant has been used for the manufacture of paper, rope, furniture and fabric for centuries. Cultivated industrial hemp has been shown to prevent erosion of topsoil; it can be grown with minimal use of pesticides; it nourishes soil with high levels of nitrogen, and releases significant oxygen into the surrounding environment. Hemp fiber has contributed to everything from cigarette papers to biodegradable plastics. Hemp seed, a nutritious and good-tasting food item, is used worldwide in food products, nutritional supplements, massage oils and cosmetics, just to name a very few of its positive contributions to the marketplace.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA: This issue has become a bit personal for me, since my late father (who lived with slow-growing liver cancer for over five years) would have been an excellent candidate for medical marijuana as a pain reliever--especially during the last year of his life--if there had been any chance of obtaining it in the state of Tennessee in 2008-2009. Any number of patients with serious illnesses have attested to the beneficial effects of medical cannabis in relief of neuromuscular pain, nausea, muscular spasms, insomnia, asthma and migraines, among other conditions. Medical literature has also confirmed many of medical marijuana's beneficial effects, especially when the herb is ingested in edible form or through vaporizers (to reduce the potentially harmful effects of smoking it). Exciting research and analysis continues into the medical uses and effects of cannabis, which helps to support campaigns advocating for its legalization and availability to patients with chronic illnesses and their medical providers.

LEGAL AND ETHICAL ISSUES OF MARIJUANA: Possession and distribution of marijuana was criminalized in the United States in 1937, due to the campaigns of drug prohibitionists who sought to associate its psychoactive effects with those of more potent narcotics. The debate on whether ingestion of marijuana does more harm than good continues to the present time. Speakers and workshops at Hempfest run the gamut on these issues, discussing law enforcement priority regarding marijuana possession and cultivation, resources for treatment of marijuana addiction, responsible recreational use, future age restrictions on use of marijuana, and how medical marijuana should be distributed to approved users. Plus, it's always fun to hear elected officials and retired law enforcement officers describe what an unmitigated fiasco the United States' "War on Drugs" has been to date...

...And then, of course, there's what I sometimes call "The Naughtiness Factor" as an explanation of why I attend Seattle Hempfest every August: "Dude, I went to Hempfest last weekend! How hardcore is that?!" Trouble is, with over 50,000 people attending the festival almost every year, it's becoming a bit too mainstream for bonafide rebellion...

Your Great Green Hemp Bazaar - You wouldn't believe some of Amazon's marijuana/hemp-related offerings!

YouTube 4:20 - The latest in the Hempfest vid archives...

Featuring some of the best clips from Seattle Hempfest 2013!

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You'll connect with your readers. If you type a sentence here about why you love this video.

You'll connect with your readers. If you type a sentence here about why you love this video.

You'll connect with your readers. If you type a sentence here about why you love this video.

You'll connect with your readers. If you type a sentence here about why you love this video.

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So, Where Is This Thing Held??

Here is the lovely Myrtle Edwards Park on Google Maps--where Seattle Hempfest has been held every August since practically forever...

Throw Down Some Feedback! - Been to Hempfest yet? If not, don't worry; they won't arrest you just for being there...

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    • PNWtravels profile image

      Vicki Green 

      7 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      I must confess I've never been to Seattle Hempfest, but there is a lot of great info on this lens. Added as a featured lens to my visit Seattle lens.

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