At the Nova Glassworks workshop in Nyack, NY, the floor space is about equal to a gymnasium. In fact, a basketball hoop has been hung on the wall for pickup games during break time. Those breaks for the Nova glassworkers arrive hourly--and they need them to relieve the tension their bodies accumulate. Depending on the size and detail, they will spend anywhere from two to five hours fashioning a piece.
More than 100,000 people are expected to show their support for ending marijuana prohibition at this year's annual Seattle Hempfest, taking place this weekend (August 17-18) at Myrtle Edwards Park in downtown Seattle. The two-day event will feature more than 100 speakers, musical acts and DJs on six stages, as well as the world's largest hemp expo.

Last year's event drew over 150,000 attendees, making it the largest marijuana-law reform event ever held.

NORML Executive Director Keith Stroup, who will be speaking at the event, says that this year's Hempfest promises to be the most successful ever. "The Seattle Hempfest is the world's largest annual rally calling for an
end to marijuana prohibition," he said. "It is both a wonderful celebration of personal freedom and a powerful statement to end the war on responsible marijuana smokers."

This year's event has added importance because organizers will be collecting signatures to qualify Seattle Initiative 75 for the November ballot. Initiative proponents need to collect an additional 4,000 valid signatures at this year's event to place I-75 on the city ballot. If approved by the voters, I-75 would mandate city police make enforcement of marijuana laws their lowest priority.

In addition to Keith Stroup, NORML Foundation Executive Director Allen St. Pierre, and NORML Affiliate Coordinator Kris Krane will be among dozens of prominent speakers at this year's gathering.


Sandee Burbank - Executive Director: Mothers Against Misuse and Abuse

Nora Callahan - Executive Director: The November Coalition

Chris Conrad - Author: Hemp: Lifeline to the Future

John Conroy - Attorney; Canada NORML; Free Renee Boje

Diane Fornbacher - Executive Director: Tri-State Drug Policy Forum

Debby Goldsberry - Founder: Cannabis Action Network

Jack Herer - Author: The Emperor Wears No Clothes

Dominic Holden - Director: Seattle Hempfest; Sensible Seattle

Kyle Kushman - Cultivation Reporter: High Times Magazine

Nick Licata - Seattle City Council Member

Ann McCormick - Compassionate Moms

Joanna McKee - Founder: Green Cross

Vivian McPeak- Executive Director: Seattle Hempfest

Elvy Musikka - Federal Medical Marijuana Recipient

Lee Newbury - NORML of South Puget Sound

Bob Newland - Executive Director: South Dakota NORML

Mikki Norris - Executive Director: Cannabis Consumers Campaign

Ed Rosenthal - Author: "Ask Ed"

Jeffery Steinborn - Attorney; NORML Board of Directors

Don Wirtshafter - President: The Ohio Hempery

Kevin Zeese - Executive Director: Common Sense for Drug Policy