Marijuana group to organize 3 hemp festivals this summer

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by Superjoint, Jun 11, 2001.

  1. The Associated Press

    POWNAL - A group promoting the legalization of marijuana says it plans to hold three hemp festivals this summer in this bucolic southern Maine town.

    Maine Vocals, best known for its annual Hempstock festival in Starks, previously announced that it would be putting on the Cumberland County Hemp Festival in Pownal on June 22-24.

    In a posting on its Web site, the group said it also would organize festivals in the town in July and September.

    The move came despite the refusal by town selectmen to issue a mass gathering permit for the June event, which Don Christen, president of Maine Vocals, estimated would draw between 3,000 and 5,000 people.

    Christen maintained that the group has a constitutional right to hold the gathering, but Cumberland County District Attorney Stephanie Anderson said the event would violate state and local ordinances and thus be illegal.

    “The law says you have to have a permit and it's a crime if you don't. Apparently the promoters of this event are somewhat of anarchists, so I don't know if [the lack of a permit] would stop them or not,” Anderson said.

    Public safety officials already have begun preparations for the June gathering, to be held at a local farm. The program was to include 30 bands and speakers, and proceeds from the $30 festival admission were to be earmarked for advocacy of marijuana legalization for both medicinal and recreational use.

    Even as town officials were seeking help from the state to prevent the festival from taking place, public safety agencies were preparing for an influx of festival-goers to this community of 1,500.

    Cumberland County Sheriff Mark Dion said he was working on a mass-gathering management plan that would include a landing site for a helicopter to respond to any medical emergency.

    Pownal Fire Chief Lester Blake said he was concerned about safety measures regarding any bonfires.

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