With “legalization” here many activist think events like Hempstalk and Hempfest are things of the past but I hope not. Maybe it’s because I’ve been a marijuana activist since I was 17 or maybe its because I’ve been writing online as an adult for the past 6 years; but it’s events like these that are family affairs to me, friendly faces, all with the same intent of ending prohibition.
Portland Hempstalk was held at scenic McCall Waterfront Park on September 24th and 25th, it was one of the most beautiful weekends to stop and smoke the roses, I mean smell; and boy could you smell it. As Oregon is still wrapping it’s head around what legalization is and what it means to public safety, everyone was warned not to “smoke” on the park grounds.
A Festival That Makes A Difference
Hempstalk Harvest Festival was filled with genuine activist and members of the industry which made it seem empty. Many think that “legalization” has made the masses complacent and I tend to agree with this.
Even though the attendance seemed low, it made those that were there count even more; park participants didn’t walk away with a million dollars but they did walk away with a feeling of solidarity because everyone wanted the same thing, the freedom to grow.
Hempstalk occurs in a City, in a State, where legalization is the law of the land, yet it didn’t feel like legalization since we had to hide it at a festival, about it. This is another reason why this event is important because it represents present day America, where the public condones a certain thing but the authorities say different; people were still smoking just not in the center of the park but in its outer perimeters, and it was accepted.
Events like these are important because one doesn’t have to be a name but just another number by simply being there, you are making a statement. The event lasted from 10 am until 10pm but since I didn’t have a booth, I only lasted 6 of the 12 hours of endless smoke.
Hempstalk felt like a brotherhood and sisterhood of canna-people, it was a celebration of what we got and a remembrance of those lost to a bad law. I was glad I made it to Hempstalk, especially since all my original plans fell through. I say this not to deter you but to warn you, but good activism doesn’t pay but it does make a difference; the whole point is to be a force of nature doing good deeds without looking for approval or celebration.
Activism Doesn’t Pay
The original plan was to catch a ride with some friends and support the booth of a dear activist friend of ours, Kristin Flor and her organization known as Voice Of The Cannabis War (V.O.W). Unfortunately, unless you have a steady income for a thing, things may not work out and that’s not always for the worse, as long as you make the best of it.
First my ride fell through, there was a work situation and they had to fly to Chicago, work takes precedence when you like to eat. Then as I was trying to figure out how to get there, Kristin had to cancel due to finances, time, and family. She was scheduled to speak and asked me to filI in for her which I was honored to do, despite my fear of public speaking. If you don’t know her story, it’s pretty heart wrenching one and it gives you an understanding the passion she has to help end prohibition.
So, I was destined to speak, had no ride, and at this point, no booth; now the only reason the booth was important is not because we have a product to sale but that we get clemency letters signed for prisoners and talk to people about what they can do to make a difference.
Luckily for me, my friend Jared Allaway from SAFER shirts was able to give me a safer ride because that’s what we do, we help each other without question. Friday night we got our shit together and trekked down with no fucking clue where we were gonna sleep or what to do when we got there, just the desire to end prohibition.
When we arrived in Portland we were fortunate enough to share the hotel room with an artisan grower, I say artisan because his shit was like a fine wine. Moments with people like this are why I do what I do and are meant to savor, I absorbed as much as I could. We smoked throughout the night knowing we were going to regret the morning due to lack of sleep, especially for two guys that were going to give public speeches to other people that want to end prohibition.
The first day was gorgeous, a beating sun that felt like a warm hug, everyone that was there at 10 in the morning was in a good mode. Things like this don’t happen without volunteers and volunteering at a pot event with people trying to save the world is pretty awesome.
Luckily we didn’t speak until noon, so coffee was our best friend. For Jared, speaking in front of a crowd is old hat but he still gets nervous, for me I was having a mild panic attack borderline peeing my pants. But when it comes to prohibition, my fear of public speaking is worth trying to overcome.
I was asked once by a bartender in Idaho, why do I do it? It was here that I broke down like a little bitch and cried that “Someone has to do it.” it was then I realize that there is so much fucked up out there over this bad law that when one does talk about it, sober or not they want to cry like a little bitch and that’s what I almost did in front of 6 people but instead I had a panic attack and passed the mic but I’ll try again goddamn it. Unfortunately when I spoke for Kristin I choked hard but I would like to share the things I wish I got out there are the things we’ve done and things we want you to know.
All Speeches Matter
One of the most important and powerful things we’ve done you won’t find a guidebook for. It’s something that starts with the heart and works its way out and that’s give hope. Hope to those behind bars and hope for those presently breaking the bad law that people like us exist, that we’ll share your story and say your name everyday, so you don’t get lost in a system that is meant to kill you or at least make you feel less humane.
Kristin gives prisoners (past and present) a voice on her blogtalk radio show because that’s how they win, through fear.
We go to events and get clemency letters signed, in hopes that the bigger the package the better the chances a pot prisoner has to get released. While at these events we preach about jury nullification and court support.
You don’t have to stand on stages and go to marches to be an activist, just be a number. By going to events and spending your money towards things in the cause, your support goes a long way. Write a prisoner a letter, while we all have our bad days, there are people who have been in prison for decades for pot, there are people facing decades as well, the war isn’t over yet but we have won 4 battles in Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Colorado.
Please find ways to support Kristin Flor and her organization V.O.W and their fight to end prohibition. It’s always questionable who or what to support but i assure, when the government murderers your father that you have no greater mission, no greater cause than to end prohibition.
Day 1 (Cont’d)
After our speeches we watched as others speak and then it was time to smoke. It was an amazing day filled with good music, good smoke, and good people.
Thanks to Ngaio Bealum the event was full of laughter because when it comes to marijuana prohibition, it’s a heavy subject, especially while men and women are growing old and dying behind bars for a plant that the Festival is a celebration for.
That night Jared and I went to the Northwest Cannabis Club which is a magnificent location. The owner use to have 2 previous locations in Washington which were successful until the laws changed via I502 and SB5052. The Northwest Cannabis Club is definitely a go to place if I lived in that location but that night it was a resting place for me and Jared.
The upstairs is the where to go if you like flower but dabs are welcomed everywhere. I wish I had more energy that night, even though the Olympic smoking was epic but it was the lack of sleep and time that dragged our ass. We sat in the back corner enjoying our own company but I saw the likes of Danny Danko pass by, even though I wanted to say “High”, I was DTFO (dabbed the fuck out).
The market stayed open late that night due to Hempstalk but my perspective was from a comfy couch in the basement listening to Comedy Central while pretty boys and girls got high around me causing no issues.
The following day wasn’t too time consuming for us but still none the less fun for the inner die hard hippie. Jared and I secured a spot about 11 and ran into like minded people throughout the day, people out there in the public because fuck it, you only have one life to live. Knowledgeable people who believe in the properties of a plant.
We smoked and listened to more good music mixed with inspirational speeches (I’m working on mine) while walking from booth to booth shaking hands and giving hugs like Statesmen when really it’s you, the average citizen that is the hero.
We still had a 4 hour return trip, so we left about 3 in the afternoon, getting in as many last minute hugs and tokes before it was on to home.
Hempstalk’s Importance To Activism
Hempstalk was a beautiful event that happened over a gorgeous weekend in Portland, Oregon and if you really give a fuck, if you really wished to make a difference not as a singular but as a whole, this is one of those events you should support, whether it’s by name (donate your importance) or by number (money or even mere presence of buying a taco makes a difference) this is one of those things you should step out to see. Remember, this was an event held in a “legal” state where I had to hide what I was doing. Hempstalk is perhaps more important than ever simply because it helps stir the conversation of all the nonviolent things that happened around a Festival devoted to a plant with a bad reputation.
And in case you haven’t noticed, in the headline photo is Elvy Musikka, second from the left, one of the last living marijuana patients, a patient whose medicine is being provided to them thanks to one government program that lasted in the blink of an eye but has proven a point by the continuation of treating these individuals.
Cannabis events like Hempstalk are still a much needed message to the rest of the world and it could use your support if they decide to continue on ;because my friends, when activism meets legalization things get weird.
Until next year, I hope to see you there.