Annual Hempfest to provide marijuana information to Moscow community
Amid Moscow’s East City Park Saturday, a petition will circulate urging Idaho to allow its citizens access to medical marijuana, support the decriminalization of marijuana possession of three ounces or less and support hemp cultivation in the state.
The petition is a sliver of a larger, annual event that has been hosted in Moscow for nearly two decades, Moscow Hempfest.
The 19th annual Moscow Hempfest will take place from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday at East City Park. Local and traveling bands, hemp vendors, food vendors, speakers and information on marijuana legislation will be available to the public for no charge.
The new petition, and by extension Moscow Hempfest, affects the Moscow community by involving citizens in a state-wide argument for renewed legislation, said Arlene Falcon, owner of Tye-Dye Everything and Moscow Hempfest proprietor.
“The kind of information and education that’s expressed is an opportunity for people to learn about cannabis and its cousin — hemp,” Falcon said. “Instead of it being such a taboo thing for the State of Idaho, we’re getting it out there in the public and exposing it to people, and so I think that’s a pretty positive thing.”
Live music at the event will feature Charcoal Squid, The Galactic Tofu Farmers, Phoenix 99 Blues Band, Bread & Circus, Endangered Species, Plaedo and Voodoo City Radio, Falcon said.
Vendors at the event will sell pipes, hemp clothing, jewelry and other kinds of “groovy” crafts, she said.
Steve Phun, Moscow Hempfest stage emcee and a Seattle Hempfest stage manager, will speak at the event and provide education on the state of affairs in marijuana and various movements aimed at legalization.
Falcon said Dana Wilson and Bill Esbensen, representatives from New Approach Idaho — a grassroots organization located in Boise dedicated to marijuana law reform — will attend Moscow Hempfest to provide information about the petition and about reforming Idaho’s cannabis, hemp and marijuana laws.
Janna Jones, one of Tye-Dye Everything’s prior vendors at Moscow Hempfest, said Moscow Hempfest is beneficial to Idaho because the state is surrounded by states pursuing marijuana legalization and decriminalization.
“We’re starting to become the conservative oasis in the middle of it, so it’s really nice to have that information available,” Jones said.
She said the most important part of the event is educating the public about marijuana and pursuing reform in Idaho’s laws.
Falcon said one of the four nationwide, federal medical marijuana patients, Elvy Musikka, will also attend and speak at this year’s event.
Falcon said Hempfest began as a student event in 1996 as an addendum to the University of Idaho’s Moms’ Weekend.
She said she took over handling the event after students lost interest in running it because local vendors still had a clear desire for the event to stay in the community.
Falcon said since she took over the event following student leadership, she created substantial public education on the topic within the Moscow community. Moscow Hempfest addressed marijuana decriminalization in the past with a prior petition, but not enough people signed it, Falcon said. Falcon is a declared opponent of federal marijuana prohibition.
“I think pot should be decriminalized, and I think they’re wasting a lot of taxpayer dollars by hunting down pot growers and sellers, because that’s not where the problems are in our society,” Falcon said.
Jake Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org