The Great Midwest Marijuana Harvest Festival took place September 30 – October 2 in Madison, Wisconsin. Now in its 41st year, the event was a peaceful celebration of cannabis and hemp. This year’s festival was dedicated to the memory of long-time activist Ben Masel. Masel died of cancer earlier this year.


According to Gary Storck, president of Wisconsin’s National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) chapter, the event provides an opportunity for likeminded people to “get active in changing the laws.” There was an emphasis on the usefulness of hemp as well as the need to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes.


Ben Masel was remembered for his commitment to keeping the festival alive as well as for his contributions to protest rights in Madison. One organizer explained that “[the event] is a continuance of Ben Masel.” Regarding the group’s interaction with law enforcement, he added, “we will continue to be polite,” just as Masel would have counseled. 


Attendees’ and organizers’ respect for law enforcement was reciprocated and the festival was a peaceful affair. Organizers knew of only two instances involving the police – one for underage drinking and one for possession. Not bad considering several hundred people attended the gathering at Madison’s Library Mall on Sunday.

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