HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Revelry, Politics Mix at Hempfest
Pubdate: Sun, 17 Aug 2008
Source: Seattle Times (WA)
Copyright: 2008 The Seattle Times Company
Author: Bob Young
Gallery: 7 photos currently on line at
Cited: Hempfest
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Medicinal)


Activists irate about a proposed state limit on medical marijuana 
urged crowds Saturday at Seattle's 17th annual Hempfest festival to 
rally at an Aug. 25 Department of Health hearing in Tumwater.

It wasn't all peace, love and Hacky Sack at Seattle's 17th annual Hempfest.

Activists irate about a proposed state limit on medical marijuana 
urged crowds Saturday at the pro-pot festival to rally at an Aug. 25 
Department of Health hearing in Tumwater.

Their target is a new state rule that would limit the 60-day supply 
for medical marijuana to 24 ounces and six mature pot plants.

"Every single patient I know will not be in compliance with the 
60-day rule. It's not going to work. It's driven by law enforcement, 
not science," said Douglas Hiatt, a lawyer who represents 
medical-marijuana users.

Hiatt was one of several activists who blasted the proposed rule at 
two panel discussions that were far more sober than the music, 
munchies and sunny revelry that most of Hempfest's expected crowd of 
75,000 enjoyed Saturday at Myrtle Edwards Park. The free two-day 
festival continues today.

Under the state's citizen-approved medical-marijuana law, patients 
with certain diseases are allowed to possess a 60-day supply with a 
doctor's authorization. But the 1998 initiative did not specify an 
amount, leading to uncertainty and conflict between law enforcement 
and patients.

The Department of Health had suggested earlier this year that 
patients be allowed 35 ounces and a 100-square-foot growing area. But 
Gov. Christine Gregoire told health officials to get more input. Last 
month, the department came back with a diluted proposal.

Many activists' ire was aimed at Gregoire, whom they blame for the 
new rule. They handed out posters that read, "What's Gregoire smoking?"

"I think Governor Gregoire panicked a little. I think it was a bit of 
a political fumble," said Alison Holcomb, of the ACLU's Marijuana 
Education Project.

A Department of Health spokesman said Gregoire did not object to 
amounts the department was considering. Instead, Gregoire's aides 
told health officials to look for more research and feedback, said Tim Church.

"It wasn't about the number being too high or loo low. It was about 
talking to more people," Church said, including law-enforcement officials.

The proposed limits would be the same as Oregon's, Holcomb said. But 
they would not be as generous as those in British Columbia, said 
Canadian activist Philippe Lucas. Some patients ingest marijuana 
through food, which requires a larger amount than smoking it.

Dale Rogers, director of the pro-pot group Compassion in Action, 
called for a 60-day supply of 71 ounces and 99 plants, leading the 
audience in one panel discussion to chant "71-99."

Dennis Moyers, who was infected with HIV in 1982, said medical 
marijuana has helped him survive the disease. But he disagreed with 
those who vilified Gregoire: "I've heard disparaging comments about 
the governor and some legislators. I can tell you from speaking to 
them face to face, they are with us."

Church said the Department of Health may change its proposal after 
the hearing later this month. "We expect a lot of people on the 25th. 
We will carefully consider comments on all sides," he said. 
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