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Potland Appeal WINS: Oregon Hempstalk 2015 Is ON!Joy Graves Salem-News.com Cannabis De-Classified
"Hempstalk is a Smoke free, drug free, family friendly event!" said many people on stage in 2014.
(PORTLAND, Ore.) - Despite Shawn Rogers' decision to deny Portland's annual Hempstalk event for 2015, the Customer Service Center Manager for Portland's Parks & Recreation department overturned that ruling today thanks to the endless efforts of Paul Stanford and more than 60 Portland cannabis activists determined to have our rights and festival respected.
"We won and the City Council and Mayor of Portland voted to grant our appeal and overturn the Park Bureau's denial of the Portland Hempstalk Festival's permit for 2015. Final date to be announced. Yeah!" Paul Stanford publicly posted via facebook just a few hours after the win.
In the denial letter dated November 5, 2014 directed to Mr. Stanford of "The Hemp & Cannabis Foundation" (THCF) and primary figurehead of the beloved event, the city stated:
"Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) has received your application for the 2015 Hempstalk event. We have reviewed the outcomes of the 2014 Hempstalk event held at Waterfront Park. Documentation was provided by the Portland Police Bureau, Portland Fire Bureau and the PP&R Park Rangers.
"Unfortunately, the documentation of outcomes shows the event’s inability to meet the conditions of the event permit. As a result, your application for a permit to hold this event on Portland Parks & Recreation property in 2015 is denied."
They went on to state:
"The passage of ballot measure 91 makes no difference in the City’s decision, which stems only from the inability of organizers to manage the event in accordance with the necessary conditions clearly outlined and revisited on multiple occasions.
"We note that specifically related to the passage of M91, it will still be unlawful to use this controlled substance in public per Section 55(1) of the Act."
In December, 2013, PP&R denied the Hempstalk organizers’ application for a 2014 event. On January 9, 2014, Portland City Council upheld PP&R’s decision denying the event permit for Hempstalk 2014, in an appeal hearing.
Council "conditions" included organizers’ compliance with all City permitting requirements and improved management of the event. In addition, the City Council instructed Portland Parks & Recreation to develop a mutually agreeable event plan with the organizers.
They claimed "PP&R review of the 2014 Hempstalk event at Waterfront Park shows an inability to meet the 2014 plan and permit conditions."
But according to those present, it was those same agencies who would ultimately get the denial overturned.
In fact, three Portland City council members stated that it was they who could "not Prove" their case justifying the denial of allowing the event!
"They made accusations with no facts, and it was clear they are bias against Hempstalk," said Mindi Griffiths of "Voices of War", a cannabis-based advocacy group of the NW geared toward the defense of non-violent cannabis prisoners.
Outlined below are examples of ways in which the event did not comply with the event plan/permit requirements including:
Security Plan. Page 7. Event Restrictions of Participation "No illegal activities or substances (including cannabis) No alcohol, illegal drugs or paraphernalia"
Interesting to note, Portland city officials acknowledged that cannabis was in fact a legal substance under Measure 91 prior to this event having taken place in the denial letter for this year's event!
"According to the information provided by the Portland Police and PP&R Rangers, the event staff were observed making announcements from the stage over the public address system instructing attendees where to use controlled substances."
Additionally they complained that "City of Portland employees, including Portland Police, and PP&R Rangers witnessed a significant number of individuals smoking marijuana in and around the event. Portland Police contacted the event organizers regarding these issues. The event organizers did not take sufficient action to curtail them. This was evident in the actions documented in section above regarding announcements made from the stage."
It's also interesting to note, that in addition to the announcement via stage as to their being no cannabis use permitted, that they fail to credit Stanford for having spent an additional $38,000.00 for private security to further ensure no toking throughout the course of the weekend long event.
Another complaint noted in their denial letter, again falls to: Security Plan. Page 7. Event Restrictions of Participation "No unauthorized sales or vending of items" and they state: "The event organizers did not take sufficient action to stop the sale of controlled substances during the event. When Portland Police reported to organizers of these sales by one of the vendors within the event, the organizers did not take sufficient action to stop or curtail the activity. It was confirmed when undercover police officers were able to purchase controlled substances from that same vendor the following day. These actions directly violates PCC 20.08.020.B. 3, 4, 5 & 7." Upon closer review of these "codes", we look at section 3, which states: "The proposed activity does not pose an unreasonable risk to public health or safety or to the physical integrity of the Park."
Now first off, though initially Portland Hempstalk had sought to host the event in downtown Portland many years ago, after years of rejection, with the exception of 2007 when they stuck the event under the freeway downtown, the group had become accustomed and actually sought to host the event at Kelley Point Park.
This reporter's skepticism and distrust for city officials proved right in the form of the threat of a forever ban of any cannabis events being allowed within the city's future when the last minute instruction was given that there was to be no cannabis use during the 2014 event... you cannot bring tens of thousands of "pot heads" together to celebrate the plant in all ways and not expect someone to toke up, somewhere, at some point... right?! The city's denial letter ultimately stated:
"These issues are significant and show an inability to adhere to the conditions of the event plan and permit. It is for the above reasons that Portland Parks & Recreation will no longer issue a permit to your organization for this event (Hempstalk). By providing this notification now, we hope to give you adequate time to search out other options for your event other than City of Portland property."
Trans-High Corporation, aka "High Times Magazine" requested a permit and permission to host the first annual "Portland High Times Cannabis Cup" this year as well, but were ultimately denied and officials pointed at Hempstalk 2014 as being the reason.
Oregon state remains the most "lax" when it comes to cannabis laws allowing the cultivation, use and possession of the plant, for medical, recreational and industrial purposes, and is in fact the only state which has moved marijuana from Schedule 1 into Schedule 2 of the controlled substance act.
Aside from this bit of good new that again Portland WILL BE hosting the 2015 annual Hempstalk after-all this year, other cannabis events are being hosted in the city of Portland, including the first "CannaGrow Expo" which begins tomorrow and will run through the 29th at Jansen Beach Red Lion, in which Paul Stanford is a key instructor/speaker of outdoor cultivation during this event.
We, along with many, are eagerly awaiting word as to the date of this years' Hempstalk, so stay tuned to Salem-News.com for updates and more information regarding Hempstalk and other upcoming Oregon Cannabis related events and happenings!
NOTE: The latest word is that Portland Hempstalk 2015 will be held the last weekend in September, at Waterfront Park
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