Boston, MA - Every year, the Boston Common hosts the Boston Freedom Rally, commonly referred to as 'Hempfest': a celebration of all things marijuana-related. In previous years it has been a three-day event, yet after a host of complaints, it will be cut to only one day in September 2019.
Hempfest has live music, food vendors, and dozens of tents which sell merchandise, provide free presentations regarding cannabis, and generally educate the public about marijuana.
While many look forward to this celebration, some argue that the condition the Common is left in afterwards is unacceptable.
According to Boston.com, at a City Council meeting in November, Boston Parks Department officials complained of cars parked illegally on the Common, people smoking, and far too much garbage left everywhere.
The organizers of the event conceded that they might be able to fit everything into a two-day period, but they were dealt a blow recently when the Boston Parks Department Commissioner, Christopher Cook, said the event will only be permitted to run on Saturday, September 20th between 12pm and 8pm.
Why the strict time frame? Cook says it “...will ensure both that the park is protected from sustained damage and that the City can properly maintain permit conditions.”
Maggie Kinsella, press secretary for MassCann (the organization which runs Hempfest), was clearly disappointed, but hopeful for the future: “I think if we want to progress we have to compromise,” she said. “We’re certainly not happy about it, but we’re willing to work with the city, to let them get to know us.”
The Boston Freedom Rally was founded back in 1989, based off the original Hempfest in Seattle. It has grown significantly over the years, and now boasts that it is the second largest annual gathering of cannabis supporters in the world.
After this drastic reduction of their usual three-day format, it seems like it would be difficult to squeeze everything into one eight-hour period of time. However, this year, that's what they'll have to do. It's hard to imagine this group getting too stressed out about it though.
(Photo via Boston Hempfest)