Considering this issue’s marijuana madness, we’d be remiss not to mention this weekend’s Hempstock festivities, taking place in remote Starks, near Skowhegan, for the 18th (and possibly final) year.
The festival, organized by the pro-pot organization Maine Vocals, will start on Thursday, and finish up on Sunday, August 17. Jam bands on the scene including Banyan, Big Rhythm Wine, and Portland regulars Hoboe, Stream Band, and Shy Green are scheduled to perform over the weekend. Tickets are $35 at the gate; it’s $70 if you want to camp. Police presence has varied over the past few years.
But it’s not just toking and tunes that the weekend is intended to promote, says head organizer Don Christen, an active marijuana activist in Maine.
“Hempstock is a fundraiser for our petition drive to fix our current medical laws,” Christen says, referring his efforts to reform Maine’s medical marijuana statutes, which he says are “in need of drastic repair.”
Maine law allows for the use of marijuana in certain medical circumstances, yet it does not provide for the legal acquisition of the plant or its seeds. Nor does the state have any type of statewide ID card (as they do in Vermont and Rhode Island) to identify medical-marijuana users. Christen and other activists say these two deficiencies severely limit the law’s potential.
Christen and Maine Vocals have had trouble rounding up sufficient funds and manpower to launch a legitimate petition drive. They’ve also run into trouble with the Starks landowner, who’s expressed some reservations about continuing to hold Hempstock on his Abijah Hill Road land. To that end, “We have purchased a piece of land in Harmony for holding festivals,” Christen writes in an email. The site already hosted the Somerset County Jam Fest earlier this year, and two additional festivals — Reggae Fest in September and a Harvest Fest in October — are scheduled there.
“We are ready to move the other events here if need arises and will make it our new home for all the festivals. The site is fairly secluded and the neighbors don’t have a problem . . . and the town can prosper also with the business we can bring their way.”
Hopefully Harmony stocks lots of pizza and Combos.