Seattle Hempfest is an annual event in Seattle , Washington , the World’s Largest  annual gathering Advocating decriminalization of marijuana .  Vivian McPeak serves as the organization’s executive director. Founded in 1991 as the Washington Hemp Expo ,   self-described “humble gathering of stoners ” attended by only 500 people,  and renamed the following year as Hempfest,  it has grown into a three-day annual political rally, concert, and arts and crafts fair with typically over 100,000. Speakers-have included Seattle city council member Nick Licata ,  actor / activist Woody Harrelson (2004),  travel writer and TV host Rick Steves (2007), (2010),   2012 Green Party speaker Jill Stein, Dallas Cowboys center Mark Stepnoski (2003),   and former chief of the Norm Stamper Seattle Police Department (2006).  Hempfest has also been successful in recent years as Fishbone (2002),  TheKottonmouth Kings (2004),  Rehab (2006),  and Pato Banton (2007)  to its five stages  spread throughout Myrtle Edwards Park and Elliott Bay Park , on Seattle’s waterfront.  
Early Hempfests “featured blatant smoking marijuana”;  60 people were cited for illegal marijuana use at the 1997 Hempfest, and about 20 were arrested the following year. Eventually Hempfest and the police reached a modus vivendi : there was only one in 2001. The political context surrounding marijuana in Seattle and Washington has changed considerably over the years. Washington Legalized Medical Marijuana in 1998. In 2003, Seattle passed an initiative that made marijuana offenses the city’s lowest law enforcement priority. 
The 2008 Seattle Hempfest, which took place August 16-17, set a new record for attendance, topping 310,000 people. The Volunteers of Seattle Hempfest were awarded the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) award for “Outstanding Cannabis Advocate of the Year Award” on October 17, 2008 at the National NORML Conference for their efforts.
Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich , Mayor Mike McGinn , City Attorney Pete Holmes, Councilman Licata, Washington State Representatives Mary Lou Dickerson and Roger Goodman . 
2013 brought to Washington State and Seattle Hempfest featured performances by Everlast , Hed PE, and DJ Muggs of Cypress Hill . As of 2013, the festival has an annual budget of approximately $ 700,000. 
Other Northwest cities with their own festivals called “Hempfest” include Olympia, Washington ( Olympia Hempfest , held on the grounds of the 1905-1928 capitol building ),  Eugene and Salem, Oregon ( Emerald Empire Hempfest and Salem Hempfest ), [ 17]  Moscow, Idaho ( Moscow Hemp Fest ),  and Missoula, Montana ( Missoula Hempfest ).  The Freedom Rally in Boston is also called Hempfest. 
- Jump up^ According to the 2007 Seattle Hempfest program, p. 22, “As far as we can tell, it is [the biggest pot rally anywhere], and it dwarfs its closest counterpart.”
- Jump up^ According to the 2007 Seattle Hempfest program, p. 3, they advocate “the decriminalization of marijuana for responsible adults, legal access to medical marijuana …, and legal domestic hemp production.”
- ^ Jump up to:a b c d e McNerthney 2007
- ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f “Seattle Hempfest History: 1991-present,” Seattle Hempfest. Accessed 23 August 2007.
- Jump up^ 2007 Seattle Hempfest program, p. 22.
- Jump up^ 2007 Seattle Hempfest program, p. 6. An essay by Steves appears on p.16-17 of the 2007 program.
- Jump up^ Hempfest 2003 achieves Pot Peace! , it’s official Seattle Hempfest website. Accessed online 24 August 2007.
- Jump up^ Mike Cust,Seattle Hempfest rocks hard! ,Cannabis Culture, February 24, 2003. Accessed online 24 August 2007.
- Jump up^ Philip Dawdy,2004 Hempfest Highlights,Seattle Weekly, August 18, 2004. Accessed online 24 August 2007.
- Jump up^ Seattle Hempfest Historyon Hempfest official site. Accessed online 24 August 2007.
- Jump up^ Monica Guzman,News update: Police Chief Stamper backs out of Hempfest, August 15, 2007 on the official blog of theSeattle Post-Intelligencer. Accessed online 24 August 2007.
- ^ Jump up to:a b Marijuana policy reform is emphasis on Hempfest , Seattle Times , August 17, 2006. Accessed online 24 August 2007.
- Jump up^ Vendor Policies, on the official Seattle Hempfest website. Accessed online 24 August 2007.
- Jump up^ Jim Brunner,Kucinich next local pro-pot pols at Seattle Hempfest,Seattle Times, August 20, 2011. Retrieved online August 21, 2011.
- Jump up^ 2013 Seattle Hempfest program, p. 23.
- Jump up^ Andy Hobbs (July 25, 2015), “Olympia Hempfest at the Olympics” ,The Olympian , Olympia, Washington
- Jump up^ Jack Moran (May 5, 2016), “Hempfest organizer takes city of Eugene to short for Denying park permit” , The Register-Guard , Eugene, Oregon
- Jump up^ Carlee Wright (August 25, 2015), “Salem Hempfest celebrates varied uses of cannabis plant” , Statesman Journal , Salem, Oregon
- Jump up^ “17th Annual Moscow Hemp Fest”, Spokane7.com , Spokane, WA: The Spokesman-Review , April 20, 2013
- Jump up^ Lisa Miller (December 24, 2015), “20 US cities in your 20s” ,Huffington Post
- Jump up^ Martha Schick (September 11, 2014), “Hempfest: No smoking allowed” , Berkeley Beacon