Seattle HempFest RIP???

By Joe Dolce.

Joe Dolce.

Twenty eight years ago a few hundred folks gathered in downtown Seattle to celebrate the publication of Jack Herer’s seminal book, The Emperor Wears No Clothes. In the same way that Burning Man morphed from a local gathering into an international phenomenon, Hempfest caught fire. Every year, 100,000 celebrants gather along the parks bordering Puget Sound to listen to music and speakers, get educated about medical cannabis, register to vote and learn how to expunge their records of cannabis so called crimes. In almost three decades this “protestival,” as Vivian McPeak, Hempfest’s co-founder calls it, has been staged with little incident, accident or emergency. It’s such an inclusive event that in 2013, the year after Washington legalized, the cops handed out bags of Doritos to festival goers stickered with labels explaining the dos and don’ts of the new laws.

But today the city and the state (not to mention are trying to undercut the festival’s financing by passing laws and ordinances that make it increasingly impossible for cannabis enterprises to advertise. Under threat, McPeak has initiated legal action against the city and state, challenging the constitutionality of these harsh commercial restrictions.

“The city and state are coming after us on multiple levels,” says McPeak. “They’re treating cannabis like it’s Oxycontin.”

In this interview McPeak wonders aloud if this will be Seattle’s final Hempfest, but as an experienced social justice activist he also has some wise things to say about how to speak “flower to power” without losing your cool (but still maintaining your edge), especially in these incendiary political times. Listen.

Listen To The Podcast

Revolutions take hold when many different fibers are woven together to create a strong cloth. The effort to normalize cannabis is the result of healers, wheelers, dealers, politicians, lawyers, scientists, hash makers, glass makers, trouble makers of all sorts, coming together over the course of many years. We want to introduce you to some of those people. 

Listen to all Joe’s podcasts here.

Read The Book

Buy the book here.

The former editor-in-chief of Details and Star adventures into the fascinating “brave new world” of cannabis, tracing its history and possible future as he investigates the social, medical, legal, and cultural ramifications of this surprisingly versatile plant.

Pot. Weed. Grass. Mary Jane. We all think we know what cannabis is and what we use it for. But do we? Our collective understanding of this surprising plant has been muddled by politics and morality; what we think we know isn’t the real story.

A war on cannabis has been waged in the United States since the early years of the twentieth century, yet in the past decade, society has undergone a massive shift in perspective that has allowed us to reconsider our beliefs. In Brave New Weed, Joe Dolce travels the globe to “tear down the cannabis closet” and de-mystify this new frontier, seeking answers to the questions we didn’t know we should ask. 

Dolce heads to a host of places, including Amsterdam, Israel, California, and Colorado, where he skillfully unfolds the odd, shocking, and wildly funny history of this complex plant. From the outlandish stories of murder trials where defendants claimed “insanity due to marijuana consumption” to the groundbreaking success stories about the plant’s impressive medicinal benefits, Dolce paints a fresh and much-needed portrait of cannabis, our changing attitudes toward it, and the brave new direction science and cultural acceptance are leading us. 

Enlightening, entertaining, and thought-provoking, Brave New Weed is a compelling read that will surprise and educate proponents on both sides of the cannabis debate.

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