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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is Seattle Hempfest about?
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Q. What is Hempfest trying to achieve?
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Several things. Seattle Hempfest advocates the decriminalization of marijuana for responsible adults, legal access to medical marijuana for patients who could be benefited by cannabis, and legal domestic hemp production. By producing a king size world class event Hempfest is demonstrating that cannabis enthusiasts can be as responsible, professional, and successful as anyone else. Hempfest features extensive educational and informational content presented by some of the nation’s leading experts in the field of marijuana policy reform. We hope that all of this is contributing to the healthy, informed and energized local and national movement to change America’s pot laws.

Q. It's called Hempfest, why isn't it more about industrial hemp?
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Hempfest features an area and stage called the Hemposium that features exhibits, displays, demonstrations, panel discussions and featured speakers on the issues that include industrial hemp and its many uses. There are many hemp product vendors at Hempfest to choose from. But any serious discussion about domestic industrial hemp production will inevitably end up at the Drug War. As Americans, we feel equally passionate about industrial hemp, medical marijuana and responsible adult recreational use. If you have hemp information or something for our displays or demonstrations that pertain to industrial hemp, please contact us.

Q. Is Hempfest a political rally, a concert or arts and crafts fair?
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Yes. Hempfest is first and foremost a political protest rally seeking to change America’s pot laws and to educate the public on the many uses of the cannabis plant. Hempfest is a protestival.

Q. Why is Hempfest Free? Couldn't you make more money if you charged?
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We would never do anything that might potentially prevent someone from coming and hearing our message of freedom, liberty and responsibility. By being free, Hempfest retains its status as a constitutionally protected free speech event, and allows everyone to come and participate, regardless of income.

Q. Is Seattle Hempfest the biggest pot rally anywhere?
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Yes. As far as we can tell it is

Q. Does Hempfest's staff get paid? Where does all the money go?
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No. Hempfest is almost completely staffed by volunteers. There are a few sub-contracted employees, like the security people at both entrances that are required to fulfill our permit requirements, but essentially all Hempfest personnel are unpaid. Every dime that Hempfest makes goes directly back into Hempfest, so we can continue to increase the quality of the event and bring you our message of reform and responsibility. Nobody is getting rich off of Hempfest.

Q. Where does all the money come from?
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Hempfest is produced by revenue from arts, crafts, food and organizational vendors, contributions, merchandise sales, benefit events, program ad sales and sponsorship and membership sales. Seattle Hempfest costs nearly $400,000 to produce each year.

Q. Do the bands get paid?
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Very, very rarely. Every so often we have a headliner that requires partial compensation, but 95% of the acts are there to show their support. If a band is coming from the other side of the country, occasionally we will be able to reimburse for travel or lodging, but that is a rare occurrence.

Q. Can anyone join Hempfest's staff?
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Just about. Persons 18 years or older who are dependable and reliable, serious about cannabis reform and willing to refrain from any form of intoxication for the entirety of their shifts is welcome to participate in producing Hempfest. Hempfest staff is expected to abide by the rules and guidelines of Seattle Hempfest, and be reasonably presentable, courteous and helpful to fellow staff and attendees.

Q. Can I get in trouble for attending or participating in Hempfest?
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No. Hempfest is totally legal and protected by the United States Constitution under your right to freedom of assembly and freedom of speech. However, Hempfest is not a “free zone”. All local, state and federal laws are in full effect at Hempfest, and Seattle parks are designated “Drug Free Zones” increasing penalties for selling and buying controlled substances. Hempfest is the worst place to attempt to buy or sell illegal substances of any kind. Please don’t do it. That includes unauthorized food products like brownies or “goo-balls.”

Q. How did Hempfest get started?
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Seattle Hempfest was conceived during a 6 month long peace vigil at Gasworks Park to oppose the Persian Gulf War, in 1991. When a scheduled Washington NORML organizing meeting never materialized at the park, a few local activists decided to throw an event. See the history section of this website for the full story, which is now Hempstory!

Q. How can I support Hempfest? Can I get involved?
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We knew you’d get around to asking that! There are a variety of ways to support Seattle Hempfest. The quickest way would be to make a non-tax deductible financial contribution to Seattle Hempfest is by clicking on the “donate here” button on the Hempfest website. (you are on it now). Please make a contribution. Your money will go directly to producing the world’s largest cannabis reform event! You can also buy a membership, become a sponsor, or volunteer for the Seattle Hempfest organization. If you have specific activist skills and experience and wish to apply for our core group you can contact us at: hempfest@hempfest.org, and give us your details and background. Others who are new to activism but feel it’s time to get involved and want to join our event staff can click on our volunteer section at the top left of the screen on the Hempfest website. This is an exciting time in America for marijuana law reform, and the movement has enjoyed many victories in recent months and years. The Hempfest family is a great group of dedicated and passionate people with terrific morale and a real sense of community and purpose. If you want to enjoy Hempfest during the weekend of the event but still have to be involved in one of the most important civil rights issues of your time, you can help us promote the event by distributing fliers and posters within your community. E-mail us at the address above and we’ll set you up as the event draws near.

Q. Can I support Hempfest without getting very involved?
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Yep. Make that financial contribution that we mentioned above. If you are too busy working a job or raising a family to be active in the movement for Cannabis freedom, help us, because we are fighting for your freedom already. Help us compete with the most well financed disinformation campaign in the history of the world with your contribution. We will spend it wisely and make it mean something. We didn’t get to be the biggest and the best by squandering our resources! You can trust us to speak loudly and responsibly for your freedom to choose. The cost of producing events like Hempfest goes up every year.