Mayor: Hempfest will be held at same park despite complaint

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SEATTLE — Mayor Mike McGinn said Wednesday the city will issue a permit for Hempfest this year despite a request by the Downtown Seattle Association that city leaders deny it a permit at Myrtle Edwards Park and instead move the growing event to another location.

hempThe big pot celebration is held every summer in Myrtle Edwards Park along Seattle’s waterfront.

This year it’s expected to be even bigger after the state`s marijuana legalization vote last fall.  And that`s got some people concerned.

The Downtown Seattle Association is now saying that enough is enough.  The group argues that Hempfest has gotten out of hand, given that it now attracts more than a quarter-million people.

“This festival has outgrown the current venue.  As a result of these significant concerns, we ask that the city not approve a Myrtle Edwards Park permit for Hempfest, and that a larger venue be identified which is more appropriate for an event of this size and duration,” the association said in a statement.

The DSA contends that Hempfest hurts businesses and residents in the area, and the only way its business members will support it is if attendance is severely limited, and if the event is shortened to one day.

Hempfest, as you can imagine, is fighting back.  They argue that an event that spans three days actually helps limit the crowd on any one day, and that all those people are good for business since they eat and drink at area restaurants, coffee shops and other stores in the area.

In an interview with Q13 FOX News Wednesday, McGinn was asked if the city would issue a permit for Hempfest this year.

“We always do,” McGinn replied. “So we’re working with the organizers right now, local businesses, the community.  And it’s getting bigger and bigger so there’s challenges to making sure it’s a well-run event. But we’re working on that.”

Asked if the festival would be held at Myrtle Edwards Park, McGinn said, “That’s where it’s been and that’s where it will be this year.”

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  • Jen

    I agree that this event needs to move. I am sorry, but it's WAAAAAAAY to big for Myrtle Edwards Park anymore. There are so many other LARGER venues they can choose.

  • Chelsea

    Where? What other park in Seattle is over a mile and a half long? What other park can support 6 stages? Myrtle Edwards is the biggest park in the city, I'm sure the developers at hempfest have looked at all other viable options, and have found that no other park can come even CLOSE to supporting the traffic that Hempfest generates. Not to mention the years of planning that has already gone into making sure the event is a safe and entertaining environment for all patrons. Also, how could 300,000 people over the course of the weekend be bad for business? Many people come from out of state just for this event, they need places to sleep, eat, park their cars, buy a pair of sunglasses ect. where do you think they're going to go for that? Ballard? No they'll stay on the waterfront and downtown. There are ALREADY hotels by the park that are sold out that weekend. How is that bad for business?

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