by Mika Belle
Julia Davis Park looked pretty green on Sunday, Sept. 25, during a festival held to educate folks about marijuana. Hundreds turned out for Idaho H.O.P.E. Fest (Hemp Offers People Everything), Boise's first hemp festival. It featured live bands, DJs, guest speakers and educational exhibitions.
"The purpose is to educate people that hemp does offer people everything," said Sarah Caldwell, event coordinator. "The turnout is better than I expected."
Caldwell explained the event was organized and sponsored by NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) and Moms for Marijuana, who both support reform in Idaho marijuana laws.
"Marijuana offers a lot," Caldwell said, "It can cure and treat cancer and has been widely used for helping people with glaucoma."
Medical marijuana is legal in Oregon with a doctor's prescription, and an Oregon group called the 45th Parallel was present to educate Idahoans how they can get marijuana prescriptions from Oregon. Ironically, there was minimal police presence at the event, which had nothing to be clearly seen in the realm of illegal activity.
"The law enforcement and crowds have actually been very kind to each other," said Ryan Augusta, H.O.P.E. Fest stage manager.
In addition to appropriately named bands on the main stage—like Hot Dog Sandwich and Various Lazy—there was a separate area for dancing to electronic DJs. There were also about a dozen booths; some offered tie-dyed clothing, but others had products actually made from hemp. At one such booth, jewelry designer Amanda Carley wore a khaki hemp T-shirt and donned one of her own bead-laden hemp necklaces.
"Oh my gosh, this is amazing. I love this," Carley enthused. "I'm very happy with the turnout; I've been doing really well."
Click here for a photo slideshow of the festival.