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Seattle’s Hempfest ushered in an era of legal weed. Will that be its downfall?

Seattle’s Hempfest ushered in an era of legal weed. Will that be its downfall?

Bruce Barcott | August 16, 2019

I had been trying to track down Vivian McPeak all week, and I finally reached him Wednesday afternoon. He was steering an E-Z-GO golf cart through Seattle’s Myrtle Edwards Park, radio at his hip, greeting volunteers and solving a thousand little problems. McPeak is a co-founder of Hempfest, the free-speech-and-cannabis “protestival” that rolls out its 28th annual edition on the waterfront this weekend. Upwards of 100,000 guests are expected.

I wanted to talk with McPeak because Hempfest has always intrigued and confused me. He and some friends started the event in 1991, when cannabis was extremely illegal. Since then it’s grown into the granddaddy of all cannabis festivals, known and revered in weed culture around the world. And yet it’s still full of contradictions.

Seattle’s Hempfest ushered in an era of legal weed. Will that be its downfall?






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