Hemp Fest Fires up Again, Witnesses Think They Recall

Filed in Local Events by on September 20, 2009 0 Comments

The Boston Freedom Rally, the annual pro-marijuana event that mixes one part serious advocacy with a thousand parts casual toking, blazed through Boston yesterday. All across Boston Common, thousands of people congregated amid what appeared to be a dense fog for a full day of merriment and continuous, arrhythmic drumming.

This year marked the twentieth time the Freedom Rally—which is often referred to by the more hip civil objectors as Hemp Fest—took to the Common to advocate legalization of marijuana and, for the first time, blatant blazers did not run the risk of criminal charges or the dreaded, embarrassing arrest; Massachusetts voters decriminalized the drug in last November’s election, making possession of less than an ounce punishable by just a $100 fine.

With the more relaxed law in place, people were happy to flaunt their indulgence, even in the face of law enforcement. According to the Boston Police Department, 136 people were issued fines for openly lighting up on the Common. That number stands in stark contrast to the number of arrests made in previous years, such as 2006 when only about 50 people were hauled off and bummed out.Hemp Fest

Yet this year, with the threat of arrest of the table, attendees at the event looked as if they were extremely pleased and at ease. However, when asked what their favorite part of the event was, most were unsure what they found so enjoyable.

“The trees, man,” said one college aged woman, probably referring to the lush greenery dotting the Common. The woman, who gave her name only as “Mother Unity,” went on to say that this year’s Freedom Rally was, “way, way better than last year’s, I think.” She then scratched her head as if in deep thought for several minutes before being distracted by what she said was a particularly interesting grain of sand.

Other attendees insisted that they knew what kept them smiling all day, though none could adequately express their thoughts in words before being waylaid by vicious cases of the giggles.

The crowd also featured a sizeable Jamaican delegation, a group easily identified by their pale skin, liberal, New England bookishness, and vibrant red, yellow, and green shirts, hats, pants, buttons, backpacks, hairdos, and auras.

Yet the event was not all fun and dancing, and some people, staying true to the event’s stated goal of advocacy, made their case for and end to all restrictive marijuana laws.

Off to one side of the Common, a woman pleaded with passersby to sign a petition calling for the full legalization of marijuana. Citing statistics on the injustice of drug laws, particularly their de facto discrimination of minorities and the poor, she waved pamphlets and shouted slogans.

“This is about Freedom,” she said, capitalizing the word in her speech to emphasize its importance. “It is about outdated laws and their propagation solely for the purposes of control and the maintaining of the status quo.”

“There is no difference between a drug like marijuana and tobacco or alcohol,” she added. “The only difference is in the types of people who commonly use them: alcohol is preferred by rich snoots, pot by the young, the adventurous, and the poor.

Yet despite her pathos laden appeals, she was continuously drowned out by a young man’s boombox which blared a nine hour jam session by the band Phish. When her voice became to hoarse to continue, she simply wove through the crowd distributing the remainder of her pro-pot propaganda, pamphlets and papers that other attendees were all to eager to snap up and use as joints or, more commonly, as napkins to wipe the grease of deep fried food from their fingers.

Photo Credit: dreamsjung

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