By Steve Elliott
When this reporter attended September's Hempstalk Festival in Portland, I saw a well-organized, orderly event, where plenty of information about the cannabis hemp plant and its many uses was disseminated by activists and speakers, along with bands, vendors, and bounteous opportunities for people-watching. What I did not see -- and I attended the entire two-day festival -- was people smoking or selling weed inside the event.
Portland parks officials, who seemed to have attended an entirely different event, waited only a day after Oregon's historic vote to legalize marijuana under Measure 91 to mail a letter to Hempstalk organizer Paul Stanford, reports Andrew Theen at The Oregonian.. It wasn't a nice congratulatory note, either -- it was a firm denial of his request to hold next year's Hempstalk Festival at Portland's Tom McCall Waterfront Park, or any other public property, next year.
"The passage of ballot measure 91 makes no difference in the City's decision," reads a prissy statement from Parks Bureau customer service center manager Shawn Rogers. The denial "stems only from the inability of organizers to manage the event in accordance with the necessary conditions clearly outlined and revisited on multiple occasions."
City officials claim attendees smoked marijuana at the event -- but again, I was there the entire time, and I never saw a single joint torched, even backstage.