Despite the recent legalization of cannabis in Oregon this past November, ‘authorities’ are doing their best to squash the rising tide of support for marijuana and its non-hallucinogenic cousin, hemp.

Organized by Paul Stanford, Hempstalk is an annual Festival held in Portland Oregon – at least it was successfully held last year. In 2015, Stanford won’t be so lucky.

The 2014 event was peaceful and orderly, with bands, speakers, vendors, and copious amounts of information about the cultivation of hemp. People generally didn’t smoke or sell marijuana since the festival took place prior to its legalization, but it wasn’t just a festival for pot smokers. It was also meant to promote “the many uses of agricultural hemp fiber, oil, protein, fuel and medicine.”

The festival also stated as part of their marketing efforts:

“We believe that hemp will save the Earth’s biosphere with the adoption of hemp seed for bio-diesel fuel, which will solve the energy and world hunger problems, and stop deforestation when hemp fiber is used for paper and building materials.”

Portland’s park officials waited only ONE DAY after Oregon’s historic Measure 91 passed (which legalized marijuana) to send Hempstalk’s organizer a letter denying his request to hold the 2015 event. He was also told that it could be nowhere on any public property, anywhere. A statement from the Parks Bureau customer service center manager, Shawn Rogers said:

“The passage of ballot measure 91 makes no difference in the City’s decision. It stems only from the inability of organizers to manage the event in accordance with the necessary conditions clearly outlined and revisited on multiple occasions.”

Funny that the letter was sent only a day after marijuana was legalized, and no one at the 2014 event smoked pot, according to some attendees – not even with performers back stage.

City officials also accused Hempstalk organizers of refusing to intervene when Parks officials told Stanford that someone was selling marijuana at his event, when in fact, Stanford told the officials to throw them out immediately if that were the case.

Stanford told Hemp News:

“While they did throw out the person in question, now they are trying to claim that we were somehow associated with him — and frankly, I believe the guy was a plant.

Roger’s letters claims there were people smoking throughout the festival, but there were bag checks of every individual before they entered the festival and strict NO SMOKING rules were in place.

The denial of Stanford’s 2015 permit is just he most recent development in a farce that includes rejection of this 2014 event, an unprecedented appeal, and a Portland City Council debate about the decision, followed by a relentless permitting process that only ended days before the two-day event in September of 2014.

Stanford’s lawyer, Ann Witte, intends to seek a writ of review asking the court to review the case with testimony from Stanford, and not just park officials. Stanford explained:

“This is all about the police and the prohibitionist reactionaries, who are attacking us for any reason they can find. We will prevail; we will win; we will never surrender.”


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About Christina Sarich:
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Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.