Pubdate: Wed, 22 Aug 2001
Source: Portland Press Herald (ME)
Copyright: 2001 Blethen Maine Newspapers Inc.
Author: Associated Press
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


STARKS - Now that Hempfest is over, police have concluded their tally of 
arrests and infractions that surrounded the annual festival that promotes 
the legalization of marijuana.

The event had more people - perhaps more than double - than the 750- person 
cap allowed under the town's mass-gathering ordinance, and the loud music 
violated noise ordinances as well, state police said.

Roadblocks stopped 1,012 cars through the weekend, and led to a number of 
arrests, troopers said.

Altogether, 25 people were arrested for illegal possession of drugs, drug 
paraphernalia and possession of alcohol by a minor.

Twelve speeders were stopped, 507 traffic warnings were issued, 60 car 
defects were found, 19 inspection stickers had expired and 21 minor traffic 
violations were cited. One stolen vehicle was found.

The most serious incident involved a sexual assault reported by a 24- 
year-old woman from Portland. The Somerset County Sheriff's Department has 
questioned two men and is investigating the incident.

Selectmen took the first step Monday toward possible legal action against 
Hempstock organizer Don Christen by hiring an attorney.

Christen admitted that 1,880 people were in attendance, Maine State Police 
Lt. Dale Lancaster said Monday.

At the selectmen's regular business meeting, Chairman Cathy Cole announced 
that they had hired lawyer Ken Lexier of Skowhegan.

Cole referred all questions to Lexier and said that law enforcement's 
documentation showing how many people attended the festival and noise 
levels recorded will be turned over to the attorney to see what action 
might be taken.

A half dozen police entered the festival Saturday evening for 10 to 15 
minutes to count and videotape the number of people.

There were no arrests inside the festival. State police only wanted to 
count heads because the town's ordinance bars gatherings of more than 750 
people at the site for a period of more than six hours.
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MAP posted-by: Terry Liittschwager