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Seattle's Smoking Ban In Parks Will Not Interfere With Hempfest

The 2008 Hempfest in Seattle.
The 2008 Hempfest in Seattle.


Seattle’s new law banning smoking in city parks is not getting in the way of this year’s Hempfest along the city’s waterfront.  It runs August 14-16 at Myrtle Edwards Park.


It’s the 24th year for the event celebrating marijuana. If you’re at all familiar with it, there’s a lot of smoking that goes on in Myrtle Edwards Park.


Smoking in Seattle parks is now against the law, so festival organizers reached out to the parks department and say they’ve gotten the city’s very first exemption from the smoking ban.


“That applies to tobacco smokers. As far as people imbibing in cannabis, it’s never been legal to smoke  cannabis in a city park. That said we are pretty convinced some people will choose to imbibe and we’ll consider  that to be an act of civil disobedience,” said Vivian McPeak, the event’s executive director.


Last year there were areas at Hempfest where people who were 21 and over were allowed to smoke marijuana. But a new state law banning cannabis clubs and lounges means these roped spaces keeping out minors will not be possible.


In past years Seattle Police have issued warnings to people they encounted getting high. Last year officers handed out bags of nacho cheese chips with information about the state's then new recreational marijuana law.


This year’s Excellence in Cannabis Activism Award will go to State Senator Jean Kohl-Welles for her advocacy on behalf of people who use medical marijuana.





Jennifer Wing is a former KNKX reporter and producer who worked on the show Sound Effect and Transmission podcast.