Providence’s first ever official hemp festival was held on July 12 at Simon’s 667, hosted by Mike Liberty and Dave Death. Called the Providence Prohibition Party, the event drew a fun-loving and diverse crowd throughout its course, which spanned from early afternoon to the wee hours of the morning, transitioning from local indie and rock bands at the outdoor stage to an indoor EDM party. As well as music, there were beer tastings, artists and vendors selling posters and glass pipes.
While all in good fun, there was also a political undercurrent to the event – 10% of the proceeds from the day went to Regulate RI, an organization founded on the premise that marijuana prohibition has led to class and sex discrimination and does far more harm than good for the people of this state. They look forward to introducing a change to the legislation in 2015, but claim that legalizing and regulating marijuana is only the tip of the iceberg.
During one of the speeches given in between musical acts, Anne Armstrong, who is running for governor of Rhode Island, stated that pot “cures every illness” and that there is no reason why people should not have free and easy access to it. Although perhaps hyperbolic, her message was agreed with by the majority of people in attendance. Phrases such as “hemp is a beautiful product” and “what harm does it cause?!” were popular statements from party-goers. For those who support the cause, there were petitions and all the information on hemp and marijuana laws you could need available.
The first Providence Prohibition Party was a great success, and hopefully 2015 will bring some movement in the cause!