Tucked near a forested canyon down a few winding miles of a Whitman County dirt road, visitors found a weed-smoking oasis.
The dozens of tents and vendor booths lined alongside Union Flat Creek signaled the arrival of Weedstock, a three-day party in the name of cannabis.
Saturday, the event’s second day, brought around a thousand visitors throughout the day and evening, which featured concerts showcasing dozens of Northwest bands of various genres.
The Woodstock Festival of 1969 was dubbed “Three days of peace and music.” Weedstock is three days of joints and music.
The skunk-like aroma in the air helped bring about peace and the munchies, too.
Weedstock organizer Dax Taylor – an affable 420 enthusiast with multicolored dreadlocks – was taken aback by the “extremely broad” demographic of those who arrived at the cannabis camp.
“So many different ethnicities and people aged 21 to 84,” Taylor said as a band, Midnight Lights, played behind him on stage. “We had a lady here on a hospital bed because she said she wouldn’t miss it. It’s just a good time, people are smiling.”
Since it is illegal to smoke marijuana in public, Taylor, who formed the 420 Union, rented the plot of land 7 miles south of Colfax from a landowner.
“If this was a beerfest,” Taylor continued, “we would have had to stop three incidents already. In Pullman, students can chug 10 beers in their yard and not get in trouble, but if it was marijuana, they’d likely get questioned by police.”
Campers fraternized, drank beer, played yard games and listened to professional marijuana advocates share their enthusiasm for medicinal and recreational use. The camp had security and a 21-year-old age limit.
Cat Jeter, a marijuana extract expert from Tacoma, made the trek for the sizable Eastern Washington marijuana festival.
Jeter, 62, has been a major advocate for the advances in marijuana used in medicine.
“We’ve been here awhile,” Jeter said of the hemp scene in Eastern Washington. “There’s some well-established people that come rolling through here. There’s probably about 150 events like this out here that most people don’t know about.”
Vinnie Riley, a vendor representing hemp-based Liquid CBD, made the trek from Sacramento to exhibit his product. Liquid CBD is a flavored hemp oil made from high-CBD, low-THC hemp.
“It’s nice to see an event like this here,” Riley said. “This is my first weed event in Washington and it’s pretty fun.”