The 17th Annual Ohio Hempfest will go on as planned today from noon to midnight on the South Oval of the Ohio State University campus in Columbus.
But it almost didn’t happen.
On Tuesday, the university cancelled the event, claiming that sponsors (the local chapter of Students for a Sensible Drug Policy had failed to follow an administrative requirement (despite the fact that they had made the reservation back in October and followed all procedures that any other event has to follow.
But the university had added a couple of hoops for the organization, based on the charge that some students had smoked pot at a previously sponsored event (something that was not the fault of the organizing group).
The OSU Police Chief John Petry, in a local media report, said he was hesitant to give permission for the event because of drug abuse at past Hempfests.
Clearly the university was looking for ways to shut this down and waited until the last minute, when it was impossible to re-schedule all the bands and vendors.
The student newspaper (Lantern) came out with a couple of good editorials Fest Smoked Out – Hempfest Cancellation Unfair and Hempfest Might Still Rise From Ashes.
Friday afternoon, the 6th Circuit Federal Court issued an injunction against OSU, and Hempfest will go on as planned.
After my own experience with Illinois State and their attempts to prevent the posting of Hempfest flyers, it’s great to see this Hempfest victorious. Clearly this was an attempt by the university to sabotage an event that they didn’t like. The administrative items that were deficient were requirements that no other events had to follow, and then the university did not even try to work with the organization (despite the fact that the event had occurred for 16 previous years), but announced the cancellation at the last minute. The 6th Circuit was correct.
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