The Summer Solstice Music and Film Festival, being held this weekend in Washington’s Olympic National Forest, started last year as a Farmer’s Market with no vendor fees and has graduated into a conscious minded pro-cannabis event.
While it’s only in it’s second year, the history of Hempapalooza dates back to 1996,when its founder, Nicole Black, was the victim of a firearm accident.
After being shot in the knee, she underwent nine surgeries and was put on prescription pain medication, eventually falling prey to what doctors called an addiction to methadone. It was at that precise moment that Black turned anti-prescriptions and pro-pot.
Since then, her world has changed. Black went back to school and obtained a BA in Public Policy, a Master’s in Public Administration and is currently working on a JD. She opened a dispensary and grew quickly enlightened by her own experience. Black longed to learn more and teach others about the healing benefits of cannabis. Hence, leading to her creating Hempapalooza.
“We really wanted to get to know the vendors and bring to light some of the questions that are coming up regarding current policy and law because Washington State was right in the middle of shifting between having medical for 10 years, then voters approved recreational marijuana. A lot of people were asking how legislatures were going to resolve it.” explains Black of the festival.“This year, legislatures passed a new law called SB 5052, which includes astronomical changes that some are calling unconstitutional. For example…Now that marijuana is recreationally legal, Washington legislatures decreased the amount of medication patients can carry.
Black says that the contention in Washington State is hoping to find balance during 2016 legislative session because the new law is “deconstructing the previous medical law.” Discussing these hot topics tops the list of importance at Hempapalooza.
Off the serious side, she is excited to offer a festival environment for a fun and exciting culture. Black describes Hempapalooza as “classy rustic,” featuring tiki-torch lined forest hiking paths, camping, music, vendors, a red carpet film premier of Star Leaf and Midnight Delight, as well as hosting live auditions for Season 2 of The Marijuana Show, a YouTube ‘canna-preneur’ reality show contest that awarded five million dollars in Season 1.
Music will include the sound of 10-time Grammy winner Julius Melendez, and the world famous Randy Hansen Band. Another performer is Christopher Hawley Rollers from Venice, California. Hawley supports the idea of hemp as a sustainable resource, saying, “I am wearing my hemp pants right now and they are the most comfortable pants I have.”
Other activities will include a Cannabis Olympics, hosted by Matt Shotwell of Discovery Channel’s Weed Country (the festival’s first major endorser), and a session with the infamous Reverend Roger Christie of Hawaii’s THC Ministry, who will be speaking at the festival via Skype and the
There will be no alcohol served at the event and Black says the festival organizers are taking measures to assure a safe and chilled out experience. They will even provide sleeping bags to those in need as an effort to keep people safely off the road during late hours.
“We want to keep the vibe rustic,” Black added. “If people do want to bring RVs, then there is RV parking in town. This is an adventure where everyone can enjoy the Pacific Northwest.
Black finally adds that the festival will register voters and gather signatures for state ballot initiative I-1372, which would establish a specific state board for medical cannabis laws, and state Referendum 76, which would directly repeal the recent anti-medical state law, known as SB 5052.
“If successfully passed, either I-1372 or Referendum 76 would protect long-existing medical cannabis rights in the state of Washington,” she states, reminding us of the reason Hempapalooza began in the first place.