Tempers Flare Over 'Hempfest' At Boston City Council Meeting


The 2018 Boston Freedom Rally. (Facebook.com/MassCann/NORML)

BOSTON (WBZ-AM) -- Tempers flared at a Boston City Council meeting this week over the annual "freedom rally" known as Hempfest, held each year on Boston Common. Organizers and opponents aired their grievances at Wednesday's hearing, which went on for nearly four hours. 

The group Friends Of The Public Garden wants the annual festival moved to another location or shortened, claiming that it is too noisy, leaves the Common trampled, and encourages pot smoking in public. Eve Waterfall is a Beacon Hill resident

"I found this hands-off approach frankly baffling, as I doubt I could host a three-day keg party in the Common and hope to get away with it," she said.

MassCann, the organizers of the rally, defended their event, and said they are willing to work on issues of concern--even floating the possibility of shortening the three-day festival to two days.

At one point in the hearing, the verbal sparring got personal between MassCann attorney John Swomley and City Councilman Josh Zakim. 

"[The fact that] You want to help the well-heeled folk that have managed to buy property around the Common to the detriment of free speech is insulting to your father's name, frankly," Swomley said.

"John, you obviously came here looking for a fight, and if you want a fight, you're gonna get one," Zakim responded. "Shut your mouth."

WBZ NewsRadio's Shari Small (@ShariSmallNews) reports

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