Pubdate: Sat, 18 Aug 2001
Source: Portland Press Herald (ME)
Copyright: 2001 Blethen Maine Newspapers Inc.


STARKS - Maine State Police plan to have troopers on hand at this weekend's 
Hempstock festival to monitor compliance with mass-gathering laws.

Officials obtained search warrants Thursday that allow troopers to be 
present at the rock concert and to use a thermal imaging camera from the 
air to ensure that drug laws are obeyed.

In an affidavit accompanying the request for a warrant, Lt. Dale Lancaster 
said he is not intent on drug arrests but on ensuring that state and local 
mass-gathering laws are obeyed.

At previous Hempstock festivals, police largely confined their enforcement 
activities to highways around the site off Route 43, with a focus on 
drunken driving and traffic infractions.

A town ordinance puts a limit on gatherings of more than 750 people, and 
Hempstock organizer Don Christen does not have a mass-gathering permit for 
this year's festival.

The event is sponsored by Maine Vocals, which advocates for the 
legalization of marijuana.

Christen has said in the past that he expects 3,000 to 4,000 people to 
attend the festival.

District Attorney David Crook said troopers also will count the number of 
people entering the farm each day. He said earlier that officers would 
monitor noise levels with decibel meters.

The four-day event runs through Sunday afternoon.
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