SEATTLE - Thousands packed a Seattle waterfront park for the opening of a three-day marijuana festival -- an event that is part party, part protest and part victory celebration after the legalization of pot in Washington and Colorado last fall.
Hempfest was expected to draw as many as 85,000 people per day. On Friday, many strolled among vendor stands, checking out colorful glass pipes and bongs. Others sat on driftwood logs, passing joints back and forth.
Seattle Police Sgt. Sean Whitcomb greeted festival-goers at the gate Saturday, dispensing bags of Doritos affixed with labels reminding people of some of the nuances of the state's new legal marijuana law.
The Seattle Police Foundation came up with the $260 for the 1,000 bags.
Some call it a publicity stunt, but police said the stickers on the bag were a quick guide of the do's and don'ts of the law.
“We want people to take their product and use it in the privacy of their own residence and not on the street corners, not in the parks,” said Whitcomb.
But this weekend is an exception. Hempfest creates an environment where they're free to do what's typically frowned upon.
In such a colorful crowd, Mike and Barbara Hughes seemed to stick out.
“We got in the wrong line, but we're here anyway,” Mike said with a laugh.
There's nothing like this back home in Virginia.
“We’re a little more conservative there,” said Barbara.
But for how long? The focus is now on nationwide legalization.
“Economic growth, there would be a lot of potential for our government to take in some money,” said one festival-goer.
“Reminds me a little bit of our era in the 60's so maybe history is repeating itself in some way,’ said Barbara.