Marijuana Policy Project
Curved Papers

Boston Freedom Rally and Seattle Hempfest Criticize Competing Event

Large crowd at Boston Freedom Rally

The Boston cannabis community continues to be infiltrated by right-wingers. Back in July, MassCann ousted a board member for leading an All Lives Matter protest.

Now, another Trumper, Todd Tranni, is being accused of promoting an unauthorized "Hempfest 2020" event in Boston on September 19, the same day the annual Boston Freedom Rally was scheduled to take place in Boston Common. The latter event has been canceled due to Covid-19 and replaced with a virtual event from 12-8 pm ET.

Tranni posted this comment and image at the Boston Freedom Rally Facebook group:

"Just go. Who cares if bands are playing. Who cares if it's sponsored. Let's show the world what Peaceful protest are. Like for the last 31 years. CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE

We don't need Corporate weed Corp. Telling us how to live. Virtual hempfest???? Second stupidest thing I have ever heard of. And remember kids 400 deaths in NH. 9000 in mass. Remember who Charlie Baker reps. Not you.... He's a big pharma shill.... His father was head of Massachusetts health Dept for years. Look up all the companies cucky got his fingers in. All the testing companies......"

There are two issues here: The competing "Hempfest" and the use of the Hempfest trademark, which is owned by Seattle Hempfest.

A press release issued by MassCann stated:

"The Boston Freedom Rally, held annually on the third Saturday of September, has been a mainstay on the Boston Common for most of its 31-year history. However, MassCann wishes to make clear that it has no association of any kind with, and does not promote, endorse, condone or support any in-person gathering held on the traditional day of the Boston Freedom Rally this year.” 

Seattle Hempfest director Vivian McPeak commented:

“We feel it is inherently irresponsible to put the health and well-being of Bostonians in jeopardy during this pandemic, as well as putting attendees at risk of being cited for public consumption at an unpermitted, loosely organized public event with no apparent safety precautions and with no stated political or educational content.” 

Most in-person cannabis events since March have been canceled.

The previous brouhaha in Boston involved Samson Racioppi, who said at a Restore Sanity rally on June 27: "We believe that all lives matter. We believe in the rule of law. What you want is to destroy the rule of law. You think this is a Marxist revolution. It's not going to happen. You will not succeed. We don't support all law enforcement. We support good law enforcement. We believe when bad things happen to good people the law has to take control."

At the contentious MassCann board meeting on July 1, Racioppi was forced to resign. Board chair Bill Flynn, who backed Racioppi, refused to resign as well then, but he did prior to the next board meeting. NORML rescinded MassCann's chapter affiliation in response. 

In addition, Boston Cannabis Week virtual events will take place from September 21-27.

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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.