It has long been known that the money driven spirit behind Seattle Hempfest, and the recent focus on corporate interests that Hempfest has been displaying is almost entirely in the heart and mind of one John Davis, the former CEO and current Vice President of Hempfest.
There has been a lot of changes in Washington as to how patients are able to medicate with cannabis, how much they can grow, how much they can buy, and where they can obtain it from. This push started with the ACLU, Senator Jeanne Kohl-Wells, NORML and many Hempfest-centric people in 2010 when SB 5073 was being pushed in Washington. Not only did those people reject the Sensible Washington proposal to free cannabis without the heavy burden of high taxation and heavy regulations. Sensible Washington offered up two initiatives (I-1068 and I-1149), both either publicly rejected by the groups supporting and promoting SB 5073, or just flat out ignored.
Despite a lot of popularity in Washington, and gaining almost enough signatures to get on the ballot with only a shoe-string budget, both Sensible Washington initiatives failed to get on the ballot.
Yet those same people who rejected the idea of de-regulating cannabis, supported the heavily regulated proposals in SB 5073 and I-502. The ACLU that wrote and organized the I-502 campaign via New Approach Washington, did in fact publicly oppose I-1149, and ignored and rejected I-1068.
So on to current news. In 2013 John Davis heard of a viral media release by a young man named Brian Laoruangroch, who intended to roll “the worlds largest joint” at hempfest, with a plan to have everyone donate a legal amount, and claim it by attaching their name and information to the joint. When John Davis heard of this, he had an internet exchange with Brian Laoruangroch, who was going by the moniker “Prohibition Brands” (a company that would be competing with John Davis’s company Diego Pellicer), and he in not so many words, threatened Brian. I recorded the conversation and you can see it here. When the event took place at Hempfest, many Hempfest Staff (with fake badges) pursued Mr. Laoruangroch throughout Hempfest threatening to have the police intervene, and warning Mr. Laoruangroch that he was “not allowed to commit a felony at hempfest”. Mr. Laoruangroch asked the police that were present if “[he] was doing anything illegal”, and the police admitted on camera that they believed what he was doing was perfectly legal. So Hempfest had him thrown out of the park, because they could not get him arrested for a felony.
Now fastforward to 2014-2015, and the second in command at Hemp Fest (John Davis) is now promoting two very negative laws that almost 100% of the MMJ patient community in Washington stand against, because of what it was projected to do to their rights as patients. John Davis openly and very publicly supported I-502 and SB 5052, which in the end has ended dispensaries in Washington (because they were competing with recreational stores), lowered the amount of plants patients are allowed to grow, from 15 plants to 6 plants, and from 24 ounces of marijuana to 3 ounces.
In exchanges on Facebook between the CEO of Hempfest, and MMJ patients, Vivian McPeak constantly says that Hempfest and himself have not supported these restrictions on patients, or their rights. But the facts above speak for themselves.
This is the response Vivian left publicly on facebook;
“So, the latest lies being spread (all by people who were not accepted to speak at HEMPFEST, could there be a connection?) is that HEMPFEST is working with the City of Seattle to “kill medical marijuana.” Let me set the record straight: First off, we helped pass I-692 in 1998 that legalized medical in this state (I personally gathered thousands of signatures). We organized two Lobby Days in Olympia during the last session to defend medical against 5052, & I personally met with several representatives to defend patients, in fact I am a patient myself. I was publicly against I-502, I voted against I-502 (even though it was inherently painful for me and in the end I think it is better for the national movement that it passed, warts and all, but that is for a different post), and anybody who listens to my radio shows on Cannabis Radio will see that I have been consistently railing against the attacks on medical and medical dispensaries. These “activists” who enjoy dividing our reform community using outright lies and fabrications are either jealous, mentally ill, sociopathic, or trying to eek out some attention for their pathetic and sad selves (or all of the above?). Both HEMPFEST and I personally have been getting repeated hate mail by rude, offensive people (half the time without any name) accusing us of destroying medical and being “backers” of I-502. All complete and total bald faced lies. Typical, the opposition does not come from the city or government, but from people who claim to be on the side of our community. Ironic, eh? SCREW ‘EM! Back to irregular deprogramming. An old Indian saying: “Let the dogs bark, the caravan will pass.””
And this is the words that contradict everything he says, by the VP of Hempfest John Davis.
Medical Marijuana as it stood in I-692 has been effective and strongly supported since 1998, for over 13 years it never had any problems, and certainly no one ever got hurt. Now in the last few years, after they have started changing the game in Washington, a lot of people are getting hurt!
Hempfest wonders why people are upset? I have been a supporter of Hempfest as long as I have supported I-692, but I will not support Hempfest any longer!
See my posts on hempfest from in the past; http://xcannabis.com/?s=hempfest
Now again, I will assert that I feel cannabis needs to be COMPLETELY deregulated. But if it has to be regulated, it needs as few regulations as possible. What is going on now, is the opposite of that!
What Hempfest is doing is not playing fair via Free Market enterprise. They are playing cronyism by using the government to weed out [pun intended] their competition.
John Davis of Seattle Hempfest