This weekend's annual 'Hempfest' was the first since Washington State voted to legalize recreational use of marijuana. Seattle police saw it as a friendly opportunity to explain the law.
It wasn’t Seattle’s first “Hempfest” celebrating recreational marijuana. That was 22 years ago.
But the gathering this weekend in the “Emerald City” – featuring crafts, music, food booths, speakers, and plenty of pungent smoke – was the first cannabis protest rally since voters in Washington State approved a ballot measure (I-502) last November legalizing recreational use of the drug.
It also included pro-legalization lawyers explaining the law – including a warning that marijuana is still illegal under federal law – as well as uniformed police officers handing out snacks to smokers feeling the “munchies.”
Technically, public use of marijuana remains illegal under Washington's new law, punishable by a $103 ticket. But Seattle police have only been giving people warnings since the law passed, and they had no plans to write anyone up at Hempfest.