WHAT – The Seattle Hempfest XXI, America’s largest "protestival"
WHEN – Noon – 8 p.m., Friday, Aug. 17, and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 18 & 19
WHERE – Myrtle Edwards Park - Pier 70 on the downtown Seattle waterfront
Is it time to retire marijuana prohibition? The world's largest cannabis policy retirement party thinks so. Seattle Hempfest 2012 expects many tens of thousands to attend its 21st annual event, and as America’s largest marijuana law reform event Hempfest invites everyone to join in the celebration to end cannabis prohibition Aug. 17-19 at Myrtle Edwards Park.
The 2012 "protestival" features hundreds of booths and six stages of music and speakers dotting the mile plus expanse at Myrtle Edwards and Centennial Parks, on the beautiful Puget Sound. With the Washington state decriminalization Initiative 502 on this November’s ballot, there will be much discussion about the merits and mechanics of regional cannabis reform on all of Hempfest's stages.
By Rick Steves, Washington I-502
With a group of respected and caring citizens, I have co-sponsored Initiative 502 in Washington State (www.newapproachwa.org), which will legalize, tax, and regulate the sale of marijuana for adults. We worked very hard last year to gather more than 350,000 signatures. Last month, we turned them in, and last week, our state government certified that we had gathered enough good signatures. This means that (unless our legislature simply accepts the initiative outright), I-502 will be on the ballot in November of 2012.
I’m working with a wonderful group of activists who (like their counterparts did in the 1930s to end the prohibition against alcohol) endeavor to end the US government’s war on marijuana. We believe that it's not a question of if the USA will stop sending pot smokers to jail...it’s a matter of when. While there are many good reasons to be waging this battle, for me this is a matter of civil liberties and pragmatic harm reduction.
“A society has to make a choice: tolerate alternative lifestyles or build more prisons.” Rick Steves
By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Correspondent
In August, travel writer and activist extraordinaire, Rick Steves, spoke to the Seattle Hempfest Hemposium about the futile attempt to enforce a failed prohibition, Europe's successful and pragmatic harm reduction approach to marijuana and the basic non-apologetic stance of cannabis use as a civil liberty. “I believe, very strongly, that it is the responsible, adult, recreational, no apologies necessary, ‘it just makes my music more fun,’ recreational use of marijuana is a civil liberty," Steves explained.
By Sarah Mirk, Blogtown
As I reported last week, a national marijuana conference filled the luxury Governor Hotel with the sweet stench of pot smoke, including a kick-off speech from Representative Earl Blumenauer and a talk by none other than public television travel host Rick Steves! Who knew Rick Steves was a major advocate of drug law reform?
I sat down with Rick Steves last Friday to talk pot. Here's our quick Q&A on why changing marijuana laws is good for parents, good for Christians and good for society.
I bet people are surprised to find out you're a marijuana advocate.
In some people's minds, they have like whiplash. They say, "I didn't know you were involved in that." And I think that's funny because my persona, everything about me, is consistent. I think enjoying marijuana is perfectly consistent with being a good parent, a good citizen, a Christian or a person of faith, a creative individual who wants to embrace life and challenge themselves with creative adventures. All that's right in keeping with the someone who wants to enjoy a little marijuana.
I heard you were chosen the 2008 Lutheran of the Year. What does the church think about your marijuana advocacy?
By Rick Steves, Seattle PI Blog
Studying how the Dutch retail marijuana (described in my last few blog entries) is fascinating. Learning how another society confronts a persistent problem differently than we do can help us envision how we might deal with the same problem better. I agree with my Dutch friends, who remind me that a society has to make a choice: tolerate alternative lifestyles...or build more prisons. The Netherlands has made its choice. We're still building more prisons. (My Dutch friends needle me with the fact that only the USA and Russia lock up more than one percent of their citizens, while the average per capita incarceration rate in Europe is only a tenth the US rate.)
Travel teaches us a respect for history. And when it comes to drug policy, I hope we can learn from our own prohibitionist past. Back in the 1920s, America's biggest drug problem was alcohol. To combat it, we made booze illegal and instituted Prohibition. By any sober assessment, all that Prohibition produced was grief. By criminalizing a soft drug that people refused to stop enjoying, Prohibition created the mob (Al Capone and company), filled our prisons, and cost our society a lot of money. It was big government at its worst.
Sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union and featuring noted travel writer and television host Rick Steves, “Marijuana: It’s Time for a Conversation” begins a long-overdue public discussion about marijuana and marijuana prohibition.
Richard J. Bonnie, L.L.B. is Harrison Foundation Professor of Medicine and Law at the University of Virginia School of Law and Director of the University of Virginia Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy. In 2007, he received the University of Virginia’s highest honor, the Thomas Jefferson Award.
Jack A. Cole, M.P.P. is Executive Director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, an organization of current and former law enforcement officers. He retired as a Detective Lieutenant after a 26-year career with the New Jersey State Police.
Lyle E. Craker, Ph.D. is Professor of Plant, Soil & Insect Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
By Jerry Cornfield, Herald Writer
EDMONDS — Is it time the state lightens up on those caught possessing a little pot?
That question will be a topic at a public forum Monday in Edmonds featuring a former U.S. attorney and a Seattle lawmaker who says lesser penalties will save millions of dollars for cash-starved cities, counties and the state.
Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D- Seattle, has authored legislation making possession of 40 grams or less of marijuana a civil infraction rather than a misdemeanor. Though the bill didn't get far last session, she plans on pushing it hard when the Legislature gets to work in 2010.
She will be on a panel with former U.S. Attorney John McKay; former White House adviser Bud Krogh; and Rick Steves, Edmonds travel guru and television host known for his advocacy of changing laws regarding marijuana.
“This forum is important to broaden the public discussion” of the issue, said Rep. Mary Helen Roberts, D-Lynnwood, another backer of decriminalizing marijuana use, who will be attending Monday.
Legislation introduced by Kohl-Welles passed the Senate Judiciary Committee in February and then stalled. A House version Roberts co-sponsored never received a hearing in that chamber.
By ACLU Washington
Travel writer Rick Steves has been nominated by The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Northwest Regional Chapter, to receive an EMMY Award for his role as host of the ACLU of Washington's "Marijuana: It's Time for a Conversation." The half-hour television program examines the history and current impacts of state and federal marijuana laws and invites viewers to
consider, and discuss with others, whether those laws are working for our communities.
"Conversation" has been viewed more than 30,000 times in western Washington households subscribed to Comcast On Demand. It has received print and radio media coverage locally and nationwide, and it has been screened to capacity audiences at Spokane's Metropolitan Performing Arts Center and the Kirkland Performance Center. The associated website, MarijuanaConversation.org, has received over 320,000 hits.
Seattle network stations sparked some controversy when they refused to air the program during evening hours when most adults would be likely to be watching. KING-TV and its affiliate KONG would only run the program at 1:00 a.m. KOMO and KIRO refused to air the program at all.