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Dave Ross

Counter culture, meet capitalism

Cody Park exhales a cloud of marijuana smoke after taking a hit on a bong at the first day of Hempfest, Friday, Aug. 16, 2013, in Seattle. Thousands packed the Seattle waterfront park for the opening of a three-day marijuana festival ? an event that is part party, part protest and part victory celebration after the legalization of pot in Washington and Colorado last fall. Hempfest was expected to draw as many as 85,000 people per day. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Seattle’s annual marijuana smoke-in, known as Hempfest, concluded peacefully after one minor confrontation.

“Hello officers,” the man said. “I think I’m the person you’re looking for.”

It happened when a guy by the name of Brian Laoruangroch showed up with a giant roll of cigarette paper and announced he was going to set a world record by rolling a 1,000-gram joint. Pot is legal in Washington state, but you can’t carry more than an ounce. And even the pro-pot organizers wanted no part of what would be a felony. A reporter for The Stranger caught it all, including a warning.

“Hey guys, I just want you all to know, that this guy is about to commit a federal crime. If you look over there, the federal police have a large tower cam pointed right at us.”

And even though Seattle cops set their own world record for mellowness by passing out bags of Doritos, they were not about to ignore the world’s largest joint.

“This is a private event, and if you’re unwelcome, they can ask you to leave and in the end, we’re going to have to escort you off the premises.”

In the end, Brian and his joint left, but not before thanking the cops profusely, “Thank you officers!” he said. “You guys did me more publicity than I could have possibly done on my own.”

Because it turns out he didn’t care about the world’s largest joint. This was all a commercial! His ad on YouTube is for the first international marijuana business.

The counter culture has come face to face with capitalism – and it has blinked.

Find more:
Photos from Hempfest
Pot-infused treats prove costly for Hempfest seller

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About the Author

Dave Ross

Dave Ross hosts the Morning News on KIRO Radio weekdays from 5-9 a.m. Dave has won the national Edward R. Murrow Award for writing five times since he started at KIRO Radio in 1978.


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