Hempfest went great. It was so strange seeing it from a new perspective! I went last year when I had no experience in the industry, I was just a medical user who went to the pot shop every other day. I had a lot of issues about weed shame and being self conscious about my usage. Going to Hempfest helped that immensely. People were happy and open about their usage. They demonstrated how happy lives could have cannabis use in them. I couldn’t remove myself from the medical benefits of cannabis, and I was sad about it. That day at Hempfest was a big step towards accepting my usage.
Working at Hempfest is completely different from my first time. For one, I have been working in the cannabis industry for 3 months. It had also been a year of developing my feelings about cannabis. It was a bit less magical, but much more interesting. I love an insider perspective. I like hearing how different people and groups interact with each other. There’s gossip and product information that piqued my interest. Working in an industry with so many independent companies makes them more than competition; it’s very political. There are a hundred names that I’ve forgotten and they all had stories.
“They demonstrated how happy lives could have cannabis use in them.”
Another benefit of insider perspectives is hearing opinions about each other’s products. Many of the glass salespeople were hawking warehouse wholesale import glass. Hempfest’s booth actually sold me a scraper tool with a glass adornment that broke immediately upon use. It was pretty disappointing. I have access and information about how to source great smoking supplies, so I didn’t actually buy anything else. There weren’t any tees or swag I needed to shell out $20 for.
I got to see a big selection of Hempfest attendees. It was great to be able to see a cross-section of the culture. Other than the hordes of barely of age stoners there were a few prominent figures in the community. One woman told me how she used to grow medicinally back in the day. One man told me that he ran the longest-running (of its’ time) marijuana television show. He had witnessed the advent of cannabis content and he was very happy about it. Weed media has grown exponentially as legalization and acceptance continues to spread.
“I like cannabis because it takes care of people.”
After Hempfest on Friday I went on a walk in the area. Going to the Macrina Bakery, like I suggested in the last article, was very nice. At the end of a day of sun and work, an iced tea and a scone were perfect. It was good to get away from the hustle and bustle. This area of Seattle is intimidating, but not worse than any other area in downtown. I’m not used to the city feel. By Saturday and Sunday I was too tired for a nice walk for food. I needed to eat during my shift. I’m wary of fair food, which is exactly what Hempfest food is. They had deep fried peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, elephant ears, lobster mac and cheese, and lots and lots of lemonade. I blame my dehydration on only consuming one pink lemonade. I also ate a mediocre barbeque sandwich and a decent piece of pizza. My compatriots working the booth were more into the fair food. They bought something every few hours. The conflicting smells in the booth developed from lobster mac and cheese, lemonade, and candy.
I appreciate what Hempfest brings to the cannabis community. In a lot of ways it gives a face to consumption. Most mid-range Seattleites don’t fully understand these stoners and we are on display like a Pride parade. I want people to be good role models and citizens. I tried to contribute to the area by picking up trash around our booth. I don’t begrudge every person that litters, accidents happen. It can be a great way to be responsible for the impact festivals and gatherings leave. There is also a problem with inebriation, especially in young people. When people treat Hempfest as a “High Holiday” (one of the few days a year they light up) they overshoot their tolerance and walk around the fest very, very slowly. These people would benefit from a more sober friend to contain them.
Speaking as an employee working the fest, we are so happy to have people there. I love making people happy by giving away prizes and having cool merch. People are there to have a good time and it feels mutually beneficial. I like cannabis because it takes care of people. Hempfest is definitely an extension of that.