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STEVE ELLIOTT

Your source for uncut, uncensored, no holds barred, non-corporate controlled cannabis news

I’ve attended Seattle Hempfest for a decade now, but yesterday I saw something I hadn’t seen before: marijuana being openly dealt from a booth at the event.

Make no mistake about it — it’s been easy to score weed at Hempfest every time I’ve gone, and I’ve written about that before (to the irritation of those who’d prefer to keep such things stuffed tightly in the closet). I got some pretty good herb, for instance, during Vivian McPeak’s “Don’t buy weed at Hempfest speech” in 2013.

But whatEVER, you know? It’s no real secret that Hempfest is an open-air weed market each and every year. It’s also common knowledge that the festival is a quite popular party destination for teens and young people; see KOMO’s photo coverage of Hempfest 2015, here.

The actual of vending of cannabis from a rented booth, however, breaks new ground, as far as what I’ve personally witnessed.

I wouldn’t really have noticed — Lisa and I were enjoying, along with her daughter, our second Hempfest as a group — when we heard someone calling out “Girl Scout Cookies!” from a booth. That definitely got my attention, and seconds afterward I got the photographs.

Since I’m not interested in doing Dave Damit‘s job, nor that of the Hempfest Safety Patrol, and I’m definitely not fixin’ to volunteer for the Vendor Ground Crew, I’m not publishing the faces of the vendors, nor publicizing their booth number.

The reason this incident should freak Hempfest out, if it doesn’t, is that the providing of a place for the public consumption of cannabis — never mind the selling of it — in a public park is Class C felony under new laws, SB 2136 and SB 5052, which were ironically supported by Hempfest Vice President John Davis.

For those who say “These vendors were kicked out of the park as soon as they were seen”… WELL. I saw them late Sunday afternoon (after 4 p.m.), after they had been operating there all weekend. That’s when these photographs were taken.

“I am sure they had an exemption from the D.A., the Seattle Police and the Parks Department to sell cannabis while all others that are not 502 are being attacked, just like they had a permit to violate the new laws under HB 2136,” said medical marijuana activist Adam Assenberg.

I’m certainly not interested in assisting the Seattle Police in arresting these ballsy entrepreneurs who rented the booth. The entrepreneurs involved can work out their own free market/capitalism issues with Hempfest management, but nobody belongs in jail for a plant.

Postscript: “Selling marijuana without an I-502 license is a felony, and Pete supports enforcement of the law,” Kimberly Mills, Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes’ spokeswoman, told Toke Signals at 2:07 Monday afternoon. Notably, City Attorney Holmes not only granted Hempfest a special tobacco smoking exemption and other legal considerations, but also was awarded a prime speaking slot at the festival. This “special relationship” is now the subject of a lawsuit by Arthur West.

Post postscript: A trusted and very reliable anonymous source on Monday evening told us of seeing at least three additional booths at Hempfest which were vending marijuana, albeit perhaps more discreetly than the guys in these photos.

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