“Prohibition is ending, and it’s time we embrace this change instead of fight it,” stated Deanna Jean, marijuana advocate and organizer of the first annual Austin Minnesota Hemp Festival which being held this weekend, September 15, 2013 from noon to 9 p.m. at the Bandshell Community Park (4th Street and 9th Place SW) in Austin, Minnesota.
Advocates and organizers such as Deanna Jean are billing the festival as a drug-free, family-friendly event with a mission to educate the importance and benefits of HEMP through educational speeches, arts and crafts demonstrations, food and music.
The festival will feature a variety of artists, including Joshua Whalen, JfRO with GTSound, Bartbarian with JRad, Space Brothers Anonymous, 420 Allstars & Manifesting Miracles Music Group, featuring King Fuji along with the Heart of Gold Band. Speakers scheduled for the festival include NORML Sensible Moms and Dads for Marijuana.
According to the Austin Daily Herald, local advocates such as Jean have lobbied for such laws over the past few years. Jean has publicly crusaded for medical marijuana in Minnesota over the past few years, as she credits marijuana with helping her overcome a brain injury and subsequent surgery in 2009.
Jean has dealt with backlash from her advocacy, however. She said she lost her job in 2011 because of her outspoken stance and was removed from the Austin Area Farmer’s Market this summer after trying to advocate during farmer’s markets and on the market’s Facebook page.
Jean has recently ramped up her advocacy, as she gathered more than 1,000 signatures to gain public support for decriminalizing marijuana and believes getting mayors from larger cities in Minnesota on board with decriminalization will lead to the state considering less restrictive medical marijuana and drug enforcement laws.
It is through efforts such as these that the legalization of cannabis and industrial hemp will be brought to fruition.