In contrast to last year's Hempfest rally in Seattle, which pitted activists in favor of legalizing marijuana against activists concerned about potential harm to the medical marijuana industry, this year's event focuses on public education.
Matt Mills McKnight/Reuters
Pot smoke wafted over thousands of revelers gathered at Seattle's downtown waterfront to kick off the first Hempfest rally since Washington state and Colorado passed initiatives to legalize marijuana for recreational use last November.
The mellow mood among the revelers swaying to reggae music on Friday was in stark contrast to the harsh vibe at last year's event, which pitted pot activist against pot activist in a fight over the state ballot measure that some saw as a threat to medical marijuana producers and users.
"Last year, every five steps it was like, 'Vote yes!' Vote no!' Vote yes!'" said Katelyn Cherry, 18, who ate shaved ice from a cone while sitting on a patch of grass next to a glass bong. "There's none of that going on anymore, so that's nice."