|Your account||Today's news index||Weather||Traffic||Movies||Restaurants||Today's events|
Sunday, August 22, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.
Festival celebrates hemp, also stirs political pot
By Tan Vinh
Regulars who attend the two-day festival to hear the usual cry of "legalize marijuana" also found organizers campaigning to get pot users to vote for Kerry.
About 100 Democratic activists passed out Kerry/Edwards buttons and stickers and tried to register voters yesterday at the 13th annual gathering at Myrtle Edwards Park along Seattle's waterfront.
With an expected 150,000 visitors over two days, Hempfest is billed as one of the world's largest pro-marijuana rallies. As organizers see it, that's a gold mine for Kerry, since the crowd is largely anti-President Bush.
Said Hempfest spokesman Dominic Holden, "Bush has had a disastrous drug policy criminalizing sick and dying people who need medical marijuana and campaigning against citizen initiatives to implement drug-law reforms."
Organizers set a goal of signing up thousands of new voters. Some Kerry supporters also were recruiting campaign volunteers.
A Kerry campaign spokesman said the efforts were orchestrated by independent groups that are not associated with the official Kerry campaign.
Walter Duncan, a 32-year-old graduate student and a Kerry supporter, decided to pick up a clipboard and sign up voters because "this is going to be a close election ... and this would be a good place to find" Kerry supporters.
Chris Martino, 35, a Kerry volunteer from Seattle, signed up 15 new voters within an hour. "It's not exactly an evangelical Christian group. It's a left-leaning crowd," he said.
Hempfest's milelong stretch of booths features vendors selling anti-Bush T-shirts, bumper stickers and signs reading "Smoke Bush."
The event also drew campaigns for Ralph Nader and the Libertarian ticket.
The initiative was approved by 58 percent of Seattle voters last September.
Tan Vinh: 206-515-5656 or email@example.com
Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company
Home delivery | Contact us | Search archive | Site map | Low-graphic
NWclassifieds | NWsource | Advertising info | The Seattle Times Company
Back to top