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Make Room For Marijuana

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
In light of reports that last year's Seattle Hempfest nearly turned disastrous, some City Council members want to turn up the heat on giving this summer's festival a bit more breathing room.

"We have major liability exposure under the conditions that you describe," City Council President Nick Licata said during a council committee meeting today about the relatively narrow pathway the city and nearby sculpture park last year allowed for the festival at Myrtle Edwards Park.

Organizers of Seattle's annual two-day pro-marijuana festival told the committee that things could have turned ugly quickly last August when traffic foot traffic jammed within the 16-foot-wide fence-lined path.

At one point, they said, the walkway was so crowded they had to cut back the fencing with bolt cutters to relieve the pressure and prevent injuries — or catastrophe.

Planning for last year's festival was contentious for months. At one point, Hempfest organizers sued — accusing the Seattle Art Museum and the city of jeopardizing the event by delaying its permits. But they withdrew the lawsuit it after they got their permit.

This year, Licata and Council Member Peter Steinbrueck (both are previous Hempfest speakers), say they'll work to ensure the festival gets the room it needs to ensure its safe.

"I feel fairly convinced at this point that a problem has been created that unduly constrains the use of the public park for festivals such as Hempfest," Steinbrueck said. "Unless somebody can show otherwise."

"I see the responsibility lying squarely with the city to resolve this," Steinbrueck said.
Licata suggested the committee would invite representatives of SAM and the city parks department to a later meeting to further explore the matter.

Hempfest has been held at that waterfront park since 1991.

Several years ago, when the council approved development of the nearby Olympic Sculpture Park, it also mandated that the city and Seattle Art Museum continue to accommodate Hempfest.

News Hawk- User 420 MAGAZINE ® - Medical Marijuana Publication & Social Networking
Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Author: Angela Galloway
Contact: angelagalloway@seattlepi.com
Copyright: 2007 Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Website: Seattle City Council: Make room for marijuana
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