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Portland Denies Permit For Hempstalk


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Plans for the third-annual Portland Hempstalk, a festival celebrating and calling for the legalization of marijuana, went up in smoke Wednesday as the Portland City Council refused to grant a permit.

Organizers say the event was undone by an activist federal agent who has told medical marijuana users that they should turn to Jesus for pain relief.

At a recent marijuana parade, the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration office in Oregon "was exhorting individual medical marijuana patients to give up their addictions to marijuana and take Jesus into their hearts. Jesus would cure their pain," said Ann Witte, a Portland lawyer and one of several Hempstalk planners seeking City Council help. "It is the DEA which is behind the move to stop Hempstalk."

City leaders acknowledge that Kenneth Magee, who leads U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration operations in Oregon, complained about the open use of marijuana at Hempstalk and echoed the federal agency's official line: Although the feds support research, they say marijuana has no proven medical use.

At the same time, city managers say Magee's complaints were part of a chorus that included Portland police, firefighters and Parks Bureau managers.

Magee says the remarks attributed to him were "ridiculous."

"I don't appreciate people putting words in my mouth that are not true," he said. "I have great compassion for sick people."

Last year's Hempstalk festival attracted thousands to Waterfront Park for concerts, exhibits and speakers. It was a chance, organizers say, for people who believe in the legalization of cannabis to gather, swap information and share stories.

Hempstalk leaders say they heard no complaints from police or the Parks Bureau. But when they went to get a permit for this summer's event, they were told first that Waterfront Park wasn't available and, later, that they had violated their agreement with the city last year by allowing "widespread unlawful use of marijuana and consumption of alcohol," according to the written denial.

Parks managers say they made it clear that there was to be no marijuana use. Organizers acknowledge they set up a tent for people with medical marijuana cards to smoke -- even though city officials told them not to.

Newshawk: CoZmO - 420Magazine.com
Source: The Oregonian (OR)
Author: Anna Griffin
Contact: annagriffin@news.oregonian.com
Copyright: 2007 Oregon Live LLC
Website: OregonLive.com: Everything Oregon


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