Pubdate: Wed, 15 Aug 2007
Source: Willamette Week (Portland, OR)
Copyright: 2007 City of Roses Newspaper Company
Author: Nicholas Deshais


Portland Won't Bogart Its Parks; It Will Share Them With a Hemp Fest.

Smoke 'em if you got 'em, because Hempstalk is back on!

The third annual event, organized by The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation 
(THC...right on!), was canceled last May when Portland Parks and 
Recreation decided against allowing public parks to be used by 
pot-smoking partyers.

But after a meeting Aug. 6 between event organizers and the city, 
it's a green light to green bud at Sellwood Riverside Park on Sept. 8 
and 9. Last September's Hempstalk drew 15,000 people to Waterfront Park.

"It came down to the wire," says Paul Stanford, executive director of 
THCF. Stanford adds the city rolled over after the ACLU threatened to 
sue, saying that the ACLU "would have filed it, too, if I didn't like 
the parks [the city] offered."

"ACLU assumes that the true basis for a denial of a permit to 
Hempstalk is not viewpoint discrimination because that would be a 
clear violation of free speech," the ACLU wrote the City Attorney's 
Office on July 27.

Mark Warrington, public safety manager for Portland Parks and Rec, 
says the city wasn't cowed by the ACLU's letter.

"There were discussions all along," Warrington says, citing "sticky 
points" over use of marijuana and alcohol and a medical marijuana 
tent. Warrington says pot and alcohol won't be allowed, nor will 
there be a medical marijuana tent like at last year's Hempstalk.

Stanford says Hempstalk officials will make announcements from the 
stage about not smoking pot, but adds the organization "can't be 
responsible for what everybody in the crowd does."

Matt Grumm, City Commissioner Dan Saltzman's parks liaison, says the 
only work left is the issuing of a security permit, approved by 
Portland police and park security. "If they provide an acceptable 
security plan," says Grumm, "the permit will be issued."

The emcee at this year's Hempstalk will be Tommy Chong, a 69-year-old 
stoner playing an actor (er...other way around). After his 
career-defining Cheech&Chong, Chong played Leo in That '70s Show . In 
2004, he spent eight months in jail for selling bongs online. 
Hempstalk will also feature bands such as the Upright Dub Orchestra, 
the State of Jefferson and the Herbivores, as well as comedian Derrick Cameron.

The event, cheaper than a dime bag, is free. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake