For 3 days beginning August 16, the Seattle Police Department will be out in full swing handing out Nacho Cheese Doritos to an estimated 250,000 marijuana lovers attending the Seattle Hempfest 2013.
On a state level, Washington and Colorado are the first states to legalize the recreational use of marijuana to persons 21 years of age and older. Under Initiative I-502, the Liquor Control Board will regulate marijuana production to special-licensed Washington farmers, remove civil and criminal State penalties against the use of marijuana and tax marijuana sales at 25% with 40% of revenues allotted to State and local budgets. And as is with the use of alcohol on the roadways, a marijuana DUI standard will be set.
In Washington, initiative I-502 rules that Washington residents can be in possession of 1 oz. of solid marijuana or 72 oz. of marijuana-infused liquid. This initiative however does not preempt federal law, which treats the drug as illegal classifying marijuana as a Schedule 1 narcotic alongside heroin and methamphetamines. The rules mandating the I-502 initiative will not be complete until yearend 2013. Until the initiative is finalized, production and distribution of the federally illegal substance is banned. Sales for cannabis are scheduled to go into effect the beginning of 2014.
Executive Director of Hempfest Vivian McPeak voiced her excitement over this year’s festival. “It’s going to be the most interesting Hempfest we’ve ever had because it is going to be part victory celebration.”
The Seattle Police Department is also supporting the rally with a sense of fun and posting humorous tweets on Twitter. Although I-502 is not federally approved, under the guise “Operation Orange-Fingers” the Seattle Police Foundation has purchased $260 worth of nacho cheese flavored Doritos, which equates to 1,000 bags of chips to hand out to the hungry crowd. A label will be attached to each bag providing educational information on their marijwhatnow FAQ, found in the “Guide To Legal Marijuana Used In Seattle.” As quoted in the Seattle Times, Sgt. Sean Whitcomb expressed, “A lot of people still have questions about the nuances of the law and 2013 is a year very much in transition for people who enjoy pot.”
The Hempfest rally is not only about the legal use of cannabis in our country and individual rights, but also the agricultural, industrial, economic, environmental and medicinal benefits that can be derived from the illegal herb.
Marcos Torres, a professional speaker on disease prevention who holds degrees in Public Health and Environmental Science writes that cannabis is effective in treating persons with maladies such as Tourette’s Syndrome, seizures, migraines, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, ADHD, pre-menstrual syndrome, even the prevention of cancer, to name a few.
Along with the educational Doritos being dispersed, Roger Roffman a University of Washington Social Work Professor and marijuana dependence expert will be distributing cards to the crowd advising that although smoking pot is not detrimental to the majority of users, the drug can cause some people’s short term memory loss, affect a person’s ability to drive and cause dependency.
Whether you agree or not with the initiative that promotes the smoking of weed, Seattle is again celebrating its 22nd anniversary Hempfest. Not only will there be 6 stages setup for bands playing music, but a variety food booths, arts and crafts to select from. And if you are one of the 1,000 to get there in time, you may find a police officer offering education on marijuana and possibly stifling your munchies with a Dorito or two.
Written by Lisa Graziano