Hempfest lights up in Seattle for 20th year

Hempfest lights up in Seattle for 20th year

Hempfest lights up in Seattle for 20th year

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KING 5 News

Posted on August 20, 2011 at 11:40 AM

SEATTLE -- This weekend marks 20 years of the Hempfest festival in Seattle.

Hempfest Seattle opens for the 20th year Friday at Myrtle Edwards Park, and continues all weekend.

"Hempfest is first and foremost a political protest rally seeking to change America's pot laws and to educate the public on the many uses of the cannabis plant," organizers write on their website.

But this year's festival promises to stoke even more conversation, with Washington's medical marijuana laws undergoing a transformation over the summer.

It is no longer legal to operate a medical marijuana dispensary in the state. Instead, "collective gardens" are permitted, allowing up to 10 licensed patients 40 medical marijuana plants for their use. Several cities, including Kirkland and Tacoma, have enacted a temporary moratorium on the gardens to more closely examine the law.

"Of course Hempfest is about cannabis," reads the website, "industrial hemp, medical marijuana and recreational use by otherwise law abiding, responsible adults..."

A handful of elected legislators will be on hand to speak to crowds at the event. Saturday features former presidential candidate Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D, Ohio), as well as State Representatives Mary Lou Dickerson (D-Seattle) and Roger Goodman (D-Kirkland). Kucinich publicly supports legalizing marijuana across the U.S.

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