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10th Annual Olympia Hempfest

"No stress, only action"

Get your kicks this weekend at Heritage Park. Photo credit: Mike Marshall

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"No stress, only action."

These words rang strong and true as Olympia Hempfest and Tacoma Cannabis Farmers Market founder Jeremy Miller and I chatted about political activism around marijuana.

The comment he made was in regard to the city of Tacoma's recent decision to shut down his (and any other) market in the city's jurisdiction. Right now, the Cannabis Farmers Market is looking at a new space to provide safe, legal medical marijuana to hundreds of medical patients.

Now, this article is about the 10th Annual Olympia Hempfest, and I've gone and written an introduction about the Tacoma Cannabis Farmers Market. Some might say these are two different stories - but the truth is, both boil down to freedom.

Miller stands behind both of his endeavors with conviction.

A cannabis activist/lobbyist in the Olympia area for more than 20 years, Miller started Oly Hempfest in 2003. In 2007, he opened a medical cannabis information center and worked with the Olympia police department to help educate and develop policies to protect medical cannabis patients. In 2010, he ran for state representative and started the world's first Cannabis Farmers Market.

But back to Hempfest. Sure, the highlights are going to be awesome - the music, the belly dancers, the vendors, the organic food, the disc golf and hacky sack areas and education village. But what I'd like to emphasize is that this festival is in its tenth year and is only getting stronger.

"Olympia Hempfest has grown over the last 10 years, but what I've seen grow most is the hemp/cannabis culture," Miller said. "Back in 2003 when I started the event, I had a hard time getting people from Olympia to attend due to fear. People were still very much in the closet."

Now the event attracts up to 20,000 people a year.

And the theme this year, according to the event website, is to "pay special tribute to all those that have fought and given their lives to end the social injustice of cannabis prohibition."

"All of our speakers this year were chosen for their efforts to end federal marijuana prohibition," Miller said. "Such as Vivian McPeak, director of Seattle Hempfest, Jodie Emery, co-owner of Cannabis Culture magazine and wife of Marc Emery, who is serving time in federal prison, not to mention Elvy Musikka - one of the last remaining federal medical marijuana patients who still currently receives 100 joints in the mail from the federal government each month - is rumored to make an appearance again this year."

Let's reiterate Miller's words: "No stress, only action." And have a little fun while we're at it.

OLYMPIA HEMPFEST, July 27-28, Heritage Park at the Washington State Capitol Lower Campus, Olympia

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