There was nothing boring about the 2012 Seattle HempFest. Hundreds of different stands are accessible while walking down a mile long stretch of Myrtle Edwards Park. A portion of these varying stands even have a gorgeous waterfront view. The selection of booths at HempFest is accompanied by a vast cultural mix of human beings. Families, teenagers, hippies, businessmen, elders, and bums are all found scattered around the packed HempFest pathways.
It is quite interesting to see a family with two children in strollers browsing at a head shop or an old woman smoking out of a vaporizer. Walking down the pathway anyone will surely be offered marijuana and hash brownies. The feeling of acceptance is easy to come by at HempFest. Police officers are scattered throughout the festival, but never once did I see an officer notice a marijuana smoker. There were many instances where an officer would kindly turn a shoulder to a teenager smoking marijuana feet away. The police are important to any large scale event like this; but they were not stopping any marijuana smoking. When strolling through the HempFest entrance a bag check is necessary. The checkers specifically said that, “We are not searching for marijuana or anything related, we don’t care. You cannot take knifes or alcohol into the HempFest vicinity”. It is clear why alcohol is not tolerated. Everyone is stoned and calm – not drunk and rowdy. It is becoming obvious that the effects of alcohol are far more drastic than marijuana. The Seattle police were only looking to keep the peace.
The feeling of marijuana acknowledgment at HempFest is an encouraging sign. The nonchalant smoking atmosphere and cultural diversity of marijuana connoisseurs at HempFest indicates that Washington is on the way to legalization, or at least a clearer understanding of the innocent plant.