Seattle Hempfest’s neutrality on Cannabis Legalization Initiative 502 drags an already long-devolving organization to a new level of idiocy. Being neutral is like siding with the enemy, and in this case it’s utter insanity for folks who have spent every Summer for decades putting on a pot festival – to be against the legalization of pot!
The City of Seattle is a very tolerant place and since 1991 they have let an organization called Hempfest hold a gathering of folks who presumably want to legalize marijuana. That gathering has grown from a crowd of a few hundred in Volunteer Park at their first event to hundreds of thousands (most of them high school kids slumming it for the day) in recent years at Seattle’s spectacular Myrtle Edwards Park on the downtown waterfront.
Back before the phrase “Medical Marijuana” became big cannabis enthusiasts talked endlessly about “Hemp” and how the fiber is used for rope and the seeds can be pressed into oil. A sneaky way to get non-potheads to talk about cannabis legalization. “Hemp” is so 90s, though.
And now Medical Marijuana is legal and exploding in Washington and here lies the problem. The organizers of Hempfest and a small cabal of other Medical Marijuana industry entrepreneurs (including Michigan marijuana doctor Gilbert “Dr. Gil” Mobley and other colorful characters) have come out adamantly against Washington Initiative 502, which will legalize cannabis for all adults. This initiative will blow a hole in the current medical industry and might dampen the huge cash profits currently being raked in by pot shops and pot docs. The short term thinking of certain drug-addled second-generation hippies here is this – we are allegedly making a fortune in the drug trade, and so are our friends, and so, especially are the sponsors on Hempfest – so let’s not ruin the private party with some silly law that will make is easy for any adult to get access to pot – not just those who are sick and those who are pretending to be sick and the elitists who serve them.
The anti-502 folks have obsessed over a DUI provision in the new law – this is the excuse that they have been trumpeting all over the social networks and in industry whore media outlets like Steve Elliott’s Toke of the Town. Toke just ran a well thought out piece by long-time Hempfest volunteer Bryan Punyon (Top Three Myths of the Medical Marijuana Patient) which debunks some medical Marijuana mythology. He thinks it should be legal for everyone, not just the very ill. His credibility as a spokesman for legalization is shattered at the end of the piece, where it is mentioned that his organization, Hempfest, is neutral on I-502. Great passionate article about making pot legal – except for the postscript about how this November the writer will vote against making pot legal.
And who is Hempfest’s main main – the person who wants to keep pot illegal so that he can perpetuate lucrative sponsorship of his dinosaur of a misnamed stoner free-for-all for bored high school kids? Public voice and persona and long-time activist and self described freak and rainbow gathering attendee Vivian McPeak!
There are Cannabis heroes, like Rick Steves, who support initiative 502 and there are cannabis zeroes, like Vivian McPeak. Rick Steves has a career outside of the Medical Marijuana industry – McPeak does not. Rick Steves looks normal and McPeak has a certain eccentric sense of style – Rainbow Gathering meets street urchin meets suntanned wiry Mansonesque beach bum. Steves is using cannabis and his support of I-502 to build his brand as a man of progressive values and integrity who is unafraid to take a stand on a tough issue. McPeak is using cannabis (lots and lots of cannabis, all day long) it to keep people trapped in the past and this will help destroy Hempfest, which is an irrelevant concept in the post 502 world.
McPeak’s been around Seattle since the late 80s, when he and the late Alice In Chains singer Layne Staley would attend Narcotics Anonymous meetings in the back of the Rendezvous tavern in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood. He’s off the hard stuff and just smokes pot now, which is actually not a bad cure for kicking smack, for those who are not too far gone. He has certainly devoted his life to the marijuana cause for many years now, but this new misguided path, to have his organization be “neutral” on I-502 – this neuters him. It puts him out to pasture.
Hemp is over. Medical Marijuana is over – it’s soon to be referred to as “Recreational Marijuana.” And McPeak is a dinosaur – too young to have been a true hippie (he was born in 1958), and now too old to change his ways and look to the future. All because of a DUI provision in the law. I say it’s not too late for McPeak to change his mind on 502 so that Hempfest will not become an embarrassment – the world’s only anti-legalization pot legalization festival.
And three cheers to Seattle alt-newsweekly the Stranger – on July 4 they managed to come out in favor of I-502 (the Stranger suggests: Make Marijuana Legal for all Adults) and also say something nice about Hempfest on the same page. And they make good money selling advertising to Medical Marijuana shops and docs – so it’s against their business interests to be in favor of the law that might extinguish some of their customers. Bold! It’s the largest pot rally ever, they say. A large political opportunity going to waste.
As of July 9, I-502 was leading in many polls, and similar initiatives are doing well in Oregon and Colorado.
Update: August 8, 2012
Viv is real mad at all the haters but he can’t respond until after Hempfest is over. We look forward to this since we are saving our best McPeak material for AFTER Hempfest too!
From the Official, public McPeak Facebook page:
“After Hempfest is over, and my organizational gag order is rescinded, I intend to publicly address these issues that the haters, liars, and unwitting provocateurs are spewing against myself and Hempfest. I will publicly respond to my accusers and their supporters. Until then I am perched on the high road, where I can barely see those haters as they wallow in the rancid pond-scum of a gutter that they perpetually inhabit.
Their attempts to silence, their attempts to divide, their attempts to influence the outcome of an election by using hatred, ridicule, slander, and lies, are shameful, mean spirited, and shameful. They have somewhat accomplished what the DEA has been totally unable to do: they have driven a wedge into our community and divided the weakest and most mentally feeble among us. I will say bone thing, I have certainly found out who my true friends are and whom they are not.
These people are among the lowest common denominator, trying to quash democracy and free speech by intimidation. It will never work on me, as much as it hurts deeply, and it does cut through the heart like an incisor, but I drink hemp oil, and my heart rebounds because of the love that comes from our community.
The haters will always be here with us, sharing our air, polluting our minds, and spreading their vile filthy suffering to anyone they can infect. Our light and our love will always outshine them. “