Celebrating 25 Years of Seattle’s Hempfest

cannabis event
Seattle Hempfest Festival

‘Everyone is coming out of the green closet.” Said Harmon Weitzman, from Topshelf Cannabis. “Isn’t it time?”

This was just an excerpt from an earlier conversation he had in the year, but it caught my attention.

What makes this time so special to me, is that this is the start of real freedom. To be allowed to be ourselves, openly able to enjoy life, pursue our happiness, live the American dream, right?

seattle hempfest art

When I think about times in my life that I felt low, or lacked confidence, those were often times when I was ostracized for being myself, or when I wasn’t allowed to express my beliefs, because they were classified as a Schedule I drug, on the same level as heroine and meth.

Nobody needs to hear another statistic about tragic deaths happening in our country due to addiction to pharmaceuticals, but one thing marijuana has never done is taken life away.

Authenticity, allows people confidence, and energy. It gives you a sense of being and belonging, and manifests the same energy to reflect back to you, filled with honesty and integrity.

Hempfest is not just a three day festival, rally or event. It is the ability for a community to come together and be themselves; to celebrate, network, and elevate a plant that has touched so many people’s lives through healing, energizing, relaxing and fusing together a world where we can authentically celebrate both the differences and similarieties in our lives: with one common thread that connects us all; cannabis.

I still remember attending my first Hempfest. In my mind, it is my most memorable cannabis experience.

It was 2005 and I had just spent my first year smoking weed every day, while finally nailing straight A’s.

My boyfriend at the time brought me to the event. Surrounded by crowds of happy people blowing clouds to the sun above, I was like a kid in a candy store. I remember us arriving at the main stage and the complete euphoria that came over me; the freedom we had to smoke in public. Surrounded by police, who were there to actually protect us from harm, while allowing people to do something they usually would arrest us for?!?! This was real freedom. I was elated. This was my first experience with this reform rally, but not my last.

seattle hempfest

Almost two weeks ago marked the 25th Anniversary for Seattle’s Hempfest Festival, the largest cannabis related assembly in the world.

seattle hempfest

Looking over the website for Seattle Hempfest, you get a sense of community through the interweb alone. On the ground, its even more inspirational.

Mothers, sons, grandfathers and politicians get on one of the six stages that offer personal talks of healing through cannabis or of sharing stories of injustices that people face. People who have been caught with a plant, and thus, prosecuted, in our state, and across the country, many times serving much too long of sentences. Along with informative discussions, the stages offer live music varying from techno to folk to rap and rock. Basically, there is something for everyone!

seattle hempfest

Present every year I have ever gone, this Bus is a beautiful piece of art.

Hempfest is held at Myrtle Edwards Park now, but came from humble beginnings at Volunteer Park on Capital Hill in 1991, when around 500 people attended that very first year. Now, with more than 100,000 people attending annually, Seattle Hempfest is internationally known as the largest rally for cannabis.

seattle hempfest

My favorite part about this event is always the individuals I connect with, smoke a bowl, and talk about what we have seen or experienced at the current Hempfest, or the new strain of herb one of us is loading for the other.

hempfest seattle art

Its through these connections that you remember what it is all about.

As Bob Marley said, “When you smoke the herb, it reveals you to yourself.”
Lets continue to reveal who we are and what we stand for.


Shout out to all the staff at Hempfest; volunteers, artists, guests, speakers, and individuals who make this community so inclusive, warm and engaging. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your gifts to our community.

Written By: Masha Brown

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